Plan to install cameras on commercial fishing boats to goes to Cabinet
Fisheries minister Stuart Nash has confirmed he will push ahead with plans to put cameras on commercial fishing boats.
Last year Nash put the brakes on the rollout of electronic monitoring of the commercial fleet after opposition from within the industry.
On Saturday, Nash told delegates at Forest and Bird's annual conference that he would take proposal papers to cabinet. And he says that was always his intention.
Nash later confirmed to Stuff that he hoped to put the proposal to Ministers in July - but needed to get agreement from NZ First and the Greens.
"I really do want to emphasise that there is a process that I have to go through. I'm not going to come and just say cameras are going on boats," he said.
"It's not my decision, it is actually a Cabinet decision."
Nash said he discussed putting the policy on ice with both NZ First and the Greens last year. He said he was hoping to get NZ First on board with the idea. "We must work together."
National introduced the plan when in Government as a deterrent against fish dumping and other illegal practices. The cameras make it easier to prosecute, and keep an eye on bycatch like seabirds and dolphins.
"I pulled back on it because I felt that they hadn't consulted in a way that met the requirements of the industry," Nash said.
"This will require quite a change in the way people fish. There are cost implications, on this there are legislative implications ... we need to understand those issues."
He said estimated costs varied widely - from one report that put the cost at $2000, to $80,000 for deep sea vessels. "At this point, we haven't quantified that.
"It's been brought to my attention that this may be too expensive for some of those smaller, inshore guys, especially," he added. "The last thing I want to do is put people out of business because they can't afford something that I have made mandatory. But I'm not saying we'll pay for it. We'll look at all the options."
Nash also warned environmentalists about viewing all fishers as "evil". He said the industry and marine conservationists have the same goal - abundant fish stocks.