Fisheries New Zealand is inviting the public to have its say on proposals for the wider rollout of cameras across New Zealand’s inshore fishing fleet, as well as measures to further protect Hector’s dolphins.
Together, these changes will provide an additional layer of assurance and contribute to the ongoing sustainability of New Zealand’s fisheries says director of fisheries management, Emma Taylor.
“The wider rollout of cameras will see up to 300 more inshore vessels fitted with on-board cameras by the end of 2024. The proposals focus on prioritising those inshore vessels that pose the greatest risk to protected species such as Hector’s and Māui dolphins, black petrels, and the Antipodean albatross,” said Ms Taylor.
“On-board cameras give us independent information about what goes on at sea. They help verify catch reporting, and monitor fishing activity by commercial fishers, to encourage compliance with the rules.”
The vessels affected by the camera proposals contribute approximately 85% of the total catch from inshore fisheries, she said.
“An initial rollout of cameras on a number of vessels in the Māui dolphin habitat off the West Coast of the North Island has been operating successfully since 2019.”
A separate consultation, begun today, is seeking feedback on proposed fisheries measures to further protect South Island Hector’s dolphins.
“The Hector’s and Maui dolphins Threat Management Plan was reviewed in 2019, with new fishing measures to protect these dolphins taking effect on 1 October 2020. The Government decided that more work is required in the South Island to manage the remaining fisheries risk,” Ms Taylor said.
“Additional protections proposed as part of this consultation include a bycatch reduction plan, expanding restrictions on trawl gear in certain areas along the north, east and south coasts of the South Island, and banning commercial and recreational set net fishing further offshore around Banks Peninsula.
“Hector’s dolphins are a nationally endangered taonga and it’s important that we take steps to protect them.
“We encourage anyone with an interest in either of these consultations to make a submission. All views are important and will contribute in shaping our advice for the Minister for Oceans and Fisheries for his consideration.”
Both consultations are now open for 8 weeks and submissions can be made until 5pm on Monday, 6 December. Further information, including how to make a submission, is available online at MPI consultations