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Thursday 21 October 2021

How much should the fishing industry pay for on-board cameras? Govt seeks feedback

12th October 2021 By Staff Reporter | | @foodtickernz

The amount of money the fishing industry would be required to stump up for the government’s $68m plan to expand its on-board camera scheme is one of the issues up for discussion as part of an eight-week consultation period.

Fisheries New Zealand is seeking feedback on the proposed installation of cameras on 300 inshore commercial fishing vessels by 2024. Vessels affected by the camera proposals contribute approximately 85% of the total catch from inshore fisheries.

It asks for views on which fishing boats would get cameras; how the rollout would be prioritised; and, the level of industry contribution to costs.

The extension of the on-board camera scheme was unveiled by environment minister David Parker in June, in what the government said was an effort to provide an additional layer of assurance as well as contribute to the ongoing sustainability of New Zealand’s fisheries.

An initial rollout of cameras on around 20 boats working in the Māui dolphin habitat off the West Coast of the North Island has been operating since 2019.

Footage is monitored to provide “independent information” about what goes on at sea.

“[The cameras] help verify catch reporting, and monitor fishing activity by commercial fishers, to encourage compliance with the rules,” director of fisheries management Emma Taylor said.

The expanded scheme focused on prioritising inshore vessels that pose the greatest risk to protected species such as Hector’s and Māui dolphins, black petrels, and the Antipodean albatross, Taylor added.

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

Consultation has also started on proposed fisheries measures to further protect South Island Hector’s dolphins including a bycatch reduction plan, an expansion of trawl gear restrictions in some regions, and a further area closure to commercial and recreational set net fishing around Banks Peninsula.

New fishing measures to protect these dolphins took effect on 1 October 2020, following a 2019 management plan review, but the government decided that more work was 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,” Taylor said.

Both consultations are now open for eight 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.



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