OPINION: Over 40 per cent of our fisheries resource is now owned by iwi.
Ten years ago New Zealand vessels and crew were catching nearly 70 per cent of the deepwater catch (with minimal wastage).
Nowadays, sub-standard foreign charter vessels, the rust-buckets of the seas, catch more than 62 per cent of this lucrative deepwater catch. Not included in this figure is the tonnage lost through poor handling of fish caught, resulting in large scale dumping of a valuable resource that should be earning this country export dollars.
Following the report from the foreign charter vessel review commission, the Government has decided to implement the 15 recommendations made, though not until 2016; which still allows these rogues to rip the guts out of our deepwater fishery before the door is finally closed.
Now we hear that Maori fishing interests would be seeking $300m compensation from the Government, because they will no longer have access to these foreign charter vessels to catch their quota cheaply.
New Zealand fishing companies such as Talley's fish the same waters, employ New Zealanders and run a good viable business. Yet, Maori expect another hand out to help catch what was given to them.
These Asian vessels do not care where they catch fish, what they catch and what damage they do to the ecology along the way.
They want fish and they want it now, with no thought for the future viability of our fisheries.
It is high time iwi invested in New Zealander-crewed vessels and started fishing sustainably for the future of their whanau.
- The Southland Times
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