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Source: Ministry for Primary Industries

Fisheries New Zealand is inviting people to have their say on proposals for the wider rollout of cameras across New Zealand’s inshore fishing fleet, as well as measures to further protect Hector’s dolphins.

Together, these changes will provide an additional layer of assurance and contribute to the ongoing sustainability of New Zealand’s fisheries says director of fisheries management, Emma Taylor.

“The wider rollout of cameras will see up to 300 more inshore vessels fitted with on-board cameras by the end of 2024. The proposals focus on prioritising those inshore vessels that pose the greatest risk to protected species such as Hector’s and Māui dolphins, black petrels, and the Antipodean albatross.

“On-board cameras give us independent information about what goes on at sea. They help verify catch reporting, and monitor fishing activity by commercial fishers, to encourage compliance with the rules.

“The vessels affected by the camera proposals contribute approximately 85 percent of the total catch from inshore fisheries.

“An initial rollout of cameras on a number of vessels in the Māui dolphin habitat off the West Coast of the North Island has been operating successfully since 2019.

“A separate consultation, begun today, is seeking feedback on proposed fisheries measures to further protect South Island Hector’s dolphins.

“The Hector’s and Maui dolphins Threat Management Plan was reviewed in 2019, with new fishing measures to protect these dolphins taking effect on 1 October 2020. The Government decided that more work is required in the South Island to manage the remaining fisheries risk.

“Additional protections proposed as part of this consultation include a bycatch reduction plan, expanding restrictions on trawl gear in certain areas along the north, east and south coasts of the South Island, and banning commercial and recreational set net fishing further offshore around Banks Peninsula.

“Hector’s dolphins are a nationally endangered taonga and it’s important that we take steps to protect them.

“We encourage anyone with an interest in either of these consultations to make a submission. All views are important and will contribute in shaping our advice for the Minister for Oceans and Fisheries for his consideration.

Both consultations are now open for 8 weeks and submissions can be made until 5pm on Monday, 6 December. Further information, including how to make a submission, is available online at MPI consultations

Background to the consultations

The wider rollout of on-board cameras consultation will seek views on:

  • which fishing vessels will get cameras
  • how the rollout is prioritised
  • the level of industry contribution to costs.

The installation of cameras is planned to start around late 2022 and take about 24 months to roll out.

Full details are available at https://www.mpi.govt.nz/camera-consultation

The consultation on additional fisheries measures to protect South Island Hector’s dolphins will seek views on options to further protect the dolphins from impacts of fishing, including:

  • an innovative “bycatch reduction plan” to work with fishers to avoid all dolphin mortality while allowing fishing to continue where possible
  • an expansion of trawl gear restrictions (low headline height trawl net or slow tow speed or both) in Tasman and Golden Bays, Pegasus Bay, Canterbury Bight to Timaru, and TeWaewae Bay
  • a further area closure to commercial and recreational set net fishing around Banks Peninsula.

Details can be found at: https://www.mpi.govt.nz/tmp-consultation

MIL OSI