Under the noses and with the nod from Fisheries NZ officials commercial fishing companies are still dumping fish. This blatant continued offending shows that they are snubbing their noses at Fisheries management.
Reports from commercial fishers; that have had a complete guts full of being blamed, who are sick and tired of the few commercial fishermen that completely disregard the law and keep dumping unwanted fish, e.g.: a recent report was that a commercial fisher from Tauranga recently landed 5 ton excess were which was refused by the licenced fish receivers and he didn’t get paid for it, so the fisher had to steam out into deep water, cut the fish so they sank and dump the lot. The reason they do this is so no-one can see the fish floating. It happened because they caught their quota in the first couple of days of their trip.
This highlights the biggest problem with fish dumping and high-grading which is the QMS system, as it can't force a private fish receiver to except fish.
When a comm fisher puts down a ‘shot’ he has little control over the variety of fish he catches. ‘Accidents’ happen all the time where a fisher catches excess fish to his quota.
Let’s say he has quota for catching 2 ton of snapper per trip, yet pulls up 5 ton. When he takes his catch into port to sell it, the receiver will only take the two ton allocated and refuse to take or pay for the excess three ton.
What is the fisher to do? He has caught excess fish and the receivers won’t pay him.
His options are to ring around to see if another receiver will take the fish or steam out to sea and dump it.
The redeemed value for over quota fish only works if a fish wholesaler will receive them and or has a market for them.
The wholesale fish marketers are striving to keep the price of retail fish up, so they would rather force the commercial fisher to dump them at sea rather than dump them on the local market or turn them into fertiliser.
The dumped fish could have been processed and frozen for our local trade fish and chip market but there is no legal requirement to ensure this happens.
This is the perfect example of why large volume vessels should not be allowed in the inshore fishery, their mistakes are too big and could damage the sustainability of a fishery before Fisheries NZ can react.
What the receivers are doing is encouraging dumping and high-grading.
A commercial fisher who did not want to be named for fear of reprisals said that the ‘Santa Maria’ a Tauranga based vessel was ‘one of the worst’ for discarding unwanted fish through the in-hull cutters on board. He went on to say that cameras are a must. This behaviour will not stop until we have cameras above and below decks.
He believes that the reason cameras are not going ahead is political. He said: “Shane Jones is involved and the Maori’s don’t want cameras at all. What’s Jones got to do with poking his nose in about cameras?”
When we come into port we have to bring in every fish no matter what the size of the fish, all the undersized gurnard and gemfish, everything is weighed and taken off our quota.
“However another fishing company weighs absolutely nothing. We complained to the MPI who were said they were aware of it but we were told by them to “not even go there” and to forget about it. Leave the Maoris alone as it’s a political issue.”
“We are sick and tired of copping the blame when the MPI guys turn a blind eye to it. We are more than happy to put cameras on our boats which will quickly put those that are doing the high-grading and dumping out of business.”
“If they do bring in the 60% cuts on bluenose and hapuka it will put a lot out of business. If they put cuts in on the tarakihi, which are the main inshore fish the dumping will have to increase or even more will go out of business.”
The fisherman believe that the size limit should be removed on all fish commercially caught and also that the fishery should be closed during the spawning season.
It is believed that these cuts are commercial decisions by the larger companies that want to put many of the smaller fishers out of business so their larger boats will be more profitable.
Another commercial fisher was recently beaten up in a Manganui hotel by locals after fish were seen washed up on the beaches. The Maoris threated to shoot them if they came in the Manganui harbour as they don’t want the harbour destroyed.
A leaked fisheries report reveals that some of the country's biggest fishing companies have been under-reporting their hoki catch by hundreds of tonnes.
The report has been kept secret from the public by MPI for seven years and casts doubt on industry claims that lucrative hoki is being fished sustainably.
These companies include Sanford and Talley's which shows a complete disregard for the health of the fishery.
Hoki is one of the first big white fish fisheries in the world to get Marine Stewardship Council certification and New Zealand goes around telling the world what a great fishery this is but the truth, as has been revealed by the government's own secret investigation, is that it's anything but.
The report showed under-sized fish or those the boats did not have quota for were hidden by being ground in to fish meal for fish and poultry farms.
It said up to 2000 tonnes of fish was disposed of in this way in a single season.
In spite of all the propaganda and TV media campaigns the public DO NOT trust the industry or the MPI.
The key issue with this report is about trust, because the public needs to be able to trust the industry and we need to be able to trust the government department that is responsible for regulating the industry and every time a report like this becomes known about it just undermines that trust.
The fact the report had not been officially released showed there was a need for an independent inquiry into MPI and the fishing industry.
This report is deeply disturbing for a number of reasons and not least because the hoki fishery has been held up as a standard bearer for sustainable fishing in New Zealand. We've got to remember that fishing quota is a right but with rights come responsibilities and the practices that have been set out in this report, these are the opposite of responsible.
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