January 22, 2020
Cameras needed to track seabird bycatch
Forest and Bird are questioning how commercial longliners with government observers on board are nine times more likely to report birds caught as bycatch than boats without observers.
Spokesperson Geoff Keyes says while some fishers are taking bycatch seriously, such as those working with environmentalists on protecting black petrel in the Hauraki Gulf, in other areas such as the tuna fishery their activities are threatening the reputation of New Zealand-caught fish.
He says it's time for the industry to stop resisting the installation of cameras on boats.
"If we can't trust what people are writing in their logbooks then we've got to have another way of doing it. We know from Australia when cameras were put on boats there, in a similar longline fishery, the reporting of bycatch jumped by up to seven times. It's not a uniquely New Zealand thing. It's a problem that happens all over the place," Mr Keyes says.
He says given the strong Māori presence in the fishing industry, iwi need to make sure their skippers do the right thing.
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