New Zealand is behind the times when it comes to putting cameras on fishing boats. The Australian industry has had them running very successfully, as the cameras forced fishers to be considerably more honest in reporting their catches.
The EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) has highlighted the Australian model of how cameras could be used effectively to cut down on the bycatch of birds and mammals such as dolphins.
Australia first began trialling cameras on its tuna boats two-and-a-half years ago. The country's first reports on the difference they had made, showed a 700 percent increase in reporting by skippers of bycatch, of seabirds and mammals.
In Australia and also in New Zealand currently, fishers primarily record their catch in a log book.
What they found in Australia is when there was a camera on the boat and what was being reported in the log book could be verified against camera footage, fishers were suddenly a lot more honest.
Australia and their Five Eyes partners are not the only countries employing the technology - five Pacific Island countries are using it as well, including Fiji, which had 17 long lining vessels equipped with cameras and planned to roll them out on another fifty boats.
Compare that to New Zealand where only 8 percent of boats had observers on board, leaving the activities of the rest of the fleet shrouded in secrecy.
The MPI planned to roll out the cameras under National, but Minister Nash found loopholes and inconsistencies that left National’s plan open to abuse and gave commercial fishers a dictionary of excuses to avoid accountability and prosecution.
It also appears that significant pressure has been applied from the seafood industry and some MP’s on Stuart Nash and the MPI to dump the idea of cameras.
The industry says that as well as risking giving away the secret fishing spots, putting cameras on boats and asking fishers to pay for them would be unfair. It makes no comment on the fact that it is the public’s resource that they are exploiting nor the fact that their fishing spots are not actually secret as fishers fish together.
What the industry and their political friends are blind to, is cameras won’t be optional if they wish to sell their catches to the other Five Eyes countries. This will happen much sooner than later.
The NZ Labour party is in a precarious position with their co-alition partners NZ First and the Green Party. Shane Jones and Peters (reported as being owned by the Fishing Industry) are believed to be putting pressure on Nash on behalf of Fishing Industry to cancel the cameras on commercial fishing boats.
Under the current regime Moana NZ have lost the lease of some Maori quota to Sanford’s.
What this will do is that instead of the elite iwi taking every last cent as they did with Moana, Sanford’s will now pay the Maori people the benefits.
These folk have always wanted to be paid for their fish that are caught rather than corporate Maori, who have not allowed the money trickle down.
This could well be the reason that former CEO Carl Carrington left because the iwi quota that was being fished by Moana, has now been picked up by Sanford.
You can bet your boots that other tribes will all be making similar deals for their harvested quota.
This will include a code of practice for whoever catches the fish and that will include cameras and smaller boats catching their fish with Maori crews.
This is likely to bring the Maori MP’s on board because the Maori MPs need the Maori people to vote for them.
Labour must keep all the Maori seats away from the new Maori party if they hope to form a Government without NZFirst.
It appears that NZ First is holding Jacinda to ransom over the fishing.
Many kiwis voted for NZ First based on their extremely good fishing policy but all that has changed now that it has been revealed that NZF took money from the fishing industry.
This will take away most of the money and power from corporate iwi and hopefully give customary a bigger say in the inshore fishery.
The 60 million dollar question is who will do the monitoring.
Another issue is that Doc and MPI have been kneecapped by NZ First – if they don’t toe the line NZ First are likely to jump ship and form a government with National. Everything is about sucking up to NZ First - a complete disaster. All Jacinda can do is use her charm to go up in the polls.
NZ First has completely betrayed kiwis and are actually worse than National have ever been. All the worst Maori bad habits will come out when Jones replaces Peters.
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