The Government has released a draft plan that is set to transform New Zealand’s fishing sector.
Speaking at the launch of the Fishing Industry Transformation Plan in Auckland today, Oceans and Fisheries Minister, Rachel Brooking said oceans were an essential part of being a New Zealander.
“Our four-million-square-mile marine area is 15 times the size of our land area. Even our most inland places are not much more than 100 kilometres from the sea,” the Minister said.
“Oceans give us jobs (in tourism as well as fishing and aquaculture) and food, they regulate the climate and store vast amounts of carbon dioxide, and they are the source of some of our best holidays and memories.
“All of these things are worth protecting and enhancing, which is why I am pleased that my very first job as Minister for Oceans and Fisheries is to launch a public discussion document on how we can do better.”
Last year, New Zealand earned $1.45 billion in export revenue from wild-capture fisheries.
“If we want to earn more and at the same time make sure we have healthy oceans, we have to keep finding ways to improve,” Ms Brooking said.
The draft Fishing Industry Transformation Plan has been compiled by representatives of the fishing industry, with input from environmental groups, iwi representatives, scientists, unions and the food sector.
- Expanding medical, cosmetic and nutraceutical products from seafoods so we can earn more without catching more;
- Identifying new technologies, fishing gear and practices to reduce the impact fishing has on the seafloor and on protected species;
- Developing skilled jobs for New Zealanders and ways to earn more from the fish we catch.
- Preparing for the effects of climate change.
“Now we need to hear what others have got to say, and I encourage everyone to read the draft plan, talk about it and, most importantly, tell us what you think through the submission process,” Minister Brooking said.
Submissions are open from today until 5pm on 11 June.