Forest & Bird is welcoming the Government’s announcement of a timetable to put cameras on 300 commercial fishing boats, start in August 2022.
“It’s been a long time coming, and has taken a ground swell of public pressure but we’ve finally achieved what will be a transformative practice for our fishing industry. This is good news for marine wildlife, for consumers, and for restoring the reputation of the industry," says Forest & Bird Marine Advocate Geoff Keey.
“Forest & Bird, along with our members and supporters, has campaigned on this issue for many years, and we’re delighted that most of New Zealand’s inshore boats will now be fishing transparently and more carefully.
“This issue has been incredibly important to New Zealanders, and we should all be proud to have played a very large part in moving the government and the fishing industry to this point. It's an important moment for New Zealand's ocean wildlife.
“We’re really pleased the Government is prioritising the habitats of Māui and Hectors dolphins and hoiho. Fisheries that pose the greatest risk to wildlife need cameras first, but once the inshore fleet has cameras, the rest of the fishing fleet will need to follow," says Mr Keey.
Examples of misreporting include:
- Government data on seabird bycatch reporting released under the Official Information Act shows that some sectors of the fishing industry are up to nine times more likely to report bycatch if there was an observer on board.
- Forest & Bird obtained data under the Official Information Act showing penguin bycatch in the set net fishery was almost exclusively reported on vessels with observers.
- In Australia, when they put cameras on boats, reporting of bycatch and discarding increased between three and seven times, depending on what was being reported.