Government urged to stand strong against fishing lobbyists and protect public rights

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Environmental organisation WWF-New Zealand is pleased to hear that Fisheries Minister Stuart Nash is committed to enabling transparency and trust in our fisheries management system. WWF agrees that it is vital to protect public access to information about commercial fishing through the Integrated Electronic Monitoring and Reporting System (IEMRS).

The release of the New Zealand fishing industry letter this week has sparked an important debate about public rights to know how our ocean resources are used and managed.

“It’s great to hear that the government intends to stand strong and defend some basic public rights and laws,” said WWF-New Zealand Chief Executive Officer Livia Esterhazy. “Ocean resources belong to the people of New Zealand – our fisheries are managed with public funds, which are intended to be managed in the public interest.

“Public access to videos of protected species bycatch could embarrass fishing companies, however as Minister Nash states, this is not a compelling justification to change the law,” Ms Esterhazy said. “Transparency and public access to information is what will build trust in commercial fishing, and this is a central purpose of the government’s new monitoring system.

“While there may be concerns about personal privacy and commercial sensitivity that the IEMRS system must deal with, it’s good to know that the government has confidence that the existing law will effectively deal with these concerns. We agree with the government’s position that the law can be applied to protect the interests of both the public and industry.”

Ms Esterhazy said fisheries bycatch was the top threat to many of our endangered marine species like dolphins, albatrosses and sea lions.

“Electronic monitoring of bycatch is vital to improve marine management. We know from a recent Colmar Brunton survey that 84% of New Zealanders want the government to work to continually reduce bycatch of marine mammals.”

Learn more about WWF New Zealand at: http://www.wwf.org.nz

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Louisa is the Communications Manager for WWF-New Zealand (World Wide Fund for Nature). She has extensive experience in the areas of media, communications and public relations. Her pen, camera and sense of humour have led her to wonderful work locations throughout Australia, Canada, USA, Solomon Islands, Vietnam, Cambodia, New Zealand and Peru. She was raised on a sheep and cattle farm in Outback Australia. Her specialty sectors are the environment (forest/marine/species conservation and climate change), crisis communications (biosecurity, floods and cyclones), and agriculture (livestock and broad-acre farming). She is an Open Water-accredited diver and has explored underwater ecosystems in the Solomon Islands and Cambodia.

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