To get a grip on how corruption in the seafood industry works in NZ we first need to understand what corruption is.
Corruption in almost all case's is when an official choose's not to enforce a regulation or law that society has accepted as necessary for a peaceful and lawful society.
When an official turns a blind eye to society's laws and regulations then you end up with one law for one group of people and no law for the other group of people committing the same unlawful act.
When this happens in the fishery of a country then the result is a depleted fishery with a mass of environmental damage and a very unhappy population of citizens.
The people who benefit from corruption are likely to be the extraordinary wealthy or in some case's the officials themselves.
When the previous Minister of MPI Nathan Guy put the Blue Fin Tuna quota up just in time for some tuna vessels from Japan to arrive to fish in our waters, that was corruption.
Had a commercial fisher approached the Minister and asked for more Blue Fin Tuna quota because he had a commercial boat the answer would have most likely been no. Therefore a rule for one and another rule for others.
Fisheries senior management in MPI were aware of widespread fish dumping and high grading in the commercial fishing industry yet chose not to act. This must surely be a case of corruption at the highest level.
When the directors of fishing in MPI knew that at least 350 offences had been committed against the Hawkes Bay fishery by a Hawkes Bay Seafood Company and still choose not to alter the TACC or make any attempt to rebuild the fishery, it had to be corruption because no person that wears undies in this country could be that stupid.
Every time a government or the fishery management department fight for the financial benefit of a fishery over the sustainable needs of the fishery it is generally the result of corporate pressure and is corruption in plain sight.
How in God’s name has it come to pass that the fishing and aquaculture industry in NZ has been able to get government to except the stupid and pointless codes of practice or codes of conduct for the seafood industry rather than the written legislation already in place.
These worthless documents that are mostly voluntary with no means of enforcement are an example of the seafood industry writing and getting approved their own rules or Codes of Practice which over-right the legislation.
If anyone dumped half a tonne of fish on Ninety mile beach as a recreational fisher then they would be fined thousands of dollars, lose their car and boat and for half a tonne of fish probably go to jail.
If a commercial fisher did that he would say that it was dolphins that did it and some official would have a stern word to him about a possible breach of their code of conduct.
How have the mussel farmers in the Coromandel got away with so much mussel farm plastic waste on the beaches and under their farms for so long when this comes under the resource management act that seems to have been super-ceded by their own code of conduct.
A WRC Site Compliance Report,Moturua Island - LI373 states that the consent holder shall ensure that non-biodegradable material lost or removed from the structures authorised by this resource consent, including but necessarily limited to, anchors, lines, droppers, ties, buoys, cages and timber, shall be removed as soon as practicable from the seabed, water column or foreshore and disposed of on land to the satisfaction of the WRC.
WRC receives sporadic complaints from various members of the public about mussel farm litter specifically cut rope ties washing up on Coromandel beaches. The A+ Programme promotes avoiding such discharges from the farms and requires regular beach-clean ups to retrieve lost marine farm debris.
At a Coromandel Marine Farm Association (CMFA) meeting in August 2017, WRC raised this matter and requested further information on practices and beach-clean up regimes. CMFA advised that appropriate practices and training are in place to minimise discharges but that accidental discharges do occur. To address these, regular beach clean-ups are being undertaken and each member of the CMFA is responsible for a particular stretch of coastline.
According to the TCDC and WRC the consent holders have not submitted any beach clean-up information.
They continually dump hundreds of tons of unwanted mussels over the side of the harvesters, which must surely pollute under the farms.
It is very reassuring that the mussel farmers have promised to play nice when they take our public water space and fill it with plastic structures, which include all the ropes, floats and ties.
With the amount of mussel farm plastic that washes up on the Hauraki Gulf beaches it’s clear that the mussel farmers had their fingers crossed behind their back when they made a promise to the councils and public to clean up their method of mussel farming.
But that’s ok, because the Coromandel residents are allowed to pick up this mussel farm rubbish and the Coromandel District Council will pay for the bags and if left on the side of the road use their contractors to pick up and dispose of it for you.
All at the ratepayers expense of course, how generous is that of TCDC they must be the only council in the country with no debt.
The mussel farmers should be fined under the Resource Management Act and the money used should go to beach clean ups, that way those who made the mess would pay to clean up the mess, not those on a pension or retired rate payer from Tairua or Whangamata.
Sales Manager: Graham Carter P: 07 8551833 M: 021 02600437 E:
W: www.fishingoutdoors.org P.O. Box 10580, Te Rapa, Hamilton 3240 Facebook