THERE is no way the Minister for MPI Nathan Guy can wriggle out of the poacher-turned-gamekeeper accusation about fishing companies supplying surveillance gear to monitor themselves.

It is a strange set-up, especially in light of the Operation Achilles and Operation Hippocamp revelations.

A company called Trident has won the contract to electronically monitor the snapper catch, using video and GPS technology.

Trident is 43 per cent owned by Sanford Industries, 27 per cent by Moana Fisheries with several other fishing companies with minor shareholding.


Greenpeace's Russel Norman has questioned the sanity of handing over responsibility for monitoring fish catches to the very group who catch the fish. It would be interesting to see similar largesse given to road users.

Mr Guy has said he will get a "summary" of the footage, which seems to suggest it will be processed before it gets to the minister.

That seems to go against assertions it can't be tampered with.

A system that can't be tampered with is a live feed from secure cameras on boats straight to MPI offices.

Is it out of the question to have an impartial provider of such equipment? Or is MPI suggesting by its decision that the industry wouldn't put up with equipment on their boats if the gear wasn't the industry's own?

It would be good to know who else tendered for the job. Presumably the issue of impartiality would have had some weight in decision-making, even if another system was more expensive.

Commercial sensitivity is often used as an argument not to disclose such information, but we could be told how many other tenders there were and if the Trident tender was in a class of its own in terms of cost, efficiency or reliability.

But generally, if there are systematic problems with the fishing industry, putting the industry in charge of the monitoring system will not solve them.


The minister needs to rethink the Trident decision so no one speaks with forked tongue.