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Aotearoa Fisheries reiterates opposition to Kermadec Ocean Sanctuary Bill

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Aotearoa Fisheries reiterates opposition to Kermadec Ocean Sanctuary Bill

Aotearoa Fisheries has reiterated its opposition to the Kermadec Ocean Sanctuary Bill in its current form in a presentation today to the Local Government and Environment Select Committee.

New Zealand’s largest iwi-owned fisheries business has previously spoken out about the Government’s lack of consultation with affected commercial parties, and Iwi in particular, over the proposed sanctuary.

Chief Executive Carl Carrington reiterated this to the committee in Aotearoa Fisheries’ verbal and written submissions today, as well as the relevance of Aotearoa Fisheries being a fisheries settlement entity owned by, and for all, Iwi.

“Under the Maori Fisheries Act 2004 (MFA) we are required to manage our assets in a commercial manner, but the Bill in its present form will compromise our Iwi owners,” says Chief Executive Carl Carrington.

“It will mean they cannot exercise their quota rights, which reduces their ability to invest with Aotearoa Fisheries in joint ventures in fisheries development, and our ability to fulfil our obligations under the MFA in terms of return to shareholders,” he says.

Aotearoa Fisheries is not opposed to the enhancement of environmental protection standards within the Kermadec Exclusive Economic Zone. However, it does not believe the marginal benefits created by the complete prohibition of fishing in the Bill justifies extinguishing rights under the MFA.

“We are in full support of environmental protection and have a range of proactive, industry-leading initiatives in place around this ourselves, but we do not believe the proposal is a true sustainability measure,” says Mr Carrington.

“This Bill needs to be withdrawn so we can have some meaningful discussion, rather than riding rough shod over existing fishing rights with no compensation, and step back and take a holistic view of sustainability measures to manage the broader ecosystem.”

“That is in everyone’s interests,” Mr Carrington says.