Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Fisheries Bill to modernise sector

The Fisheries Amendment Bill that passed its final reading today will strengthen and modernise the management of New Zealand’s fisheries, says Oceans and Fisheries Minister, David Parker.

“In New Zealand, oceans define our way of life – they contribute to our climate and shape this country culturally, recreationally, and economically,” the Minister said.

“This Bill will help ensure the continued health and resilience of ocean and coastal eco-systems, and the role of fisheries within that.”

The Bill’s provisions for on-board cameras and changes to discarding rules will help incentivise better commercial fishing practices and more selective targeting of fish, said Mr Parker.

“The use of on-board cameras is a key component of the Government’s fisheries system reform. It follows the 2019 roll out of cameras on vessels operating in core Māui dolphin habitats,” he said.

“The cameras will inform fisheries management decisions, helping ensure sustainable use of fisheries nationwide. It’s a big step towards a more data-driven, integrated, and responsive fisheries management system.”

The Bill also introduces a more graduated offences and penalty regime, meaning penalties on commercial fishers will be more proportionate and appropriate to the size of an offence.

Key changes in the Bill include:

  • All fish caught, whether they are a Quota Management System species or not, must be reported. All QMS species also must be landed, unless there is an exception set by the Minister.
  • Graduated penalties will allow all factors of the offence to be considered to better reflect the consequences of offending.
  • There will be a four-year implementation period for reviewing exceptions to the landings and discards rules to ensure that fishers will have time to transition to the new rules.

“This Government recognises the importance of, and the range of pressures facing, our oceans and fisheries. Fishers are part of local communities, and they support the local economy and other local businesses,” Minister Parker said.

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