Aotearoa Fisheries supports the position of Primary Industries Minister, Nathan Guy, to speeding up the rollout of monitoring equipment on commercial fishing vessels, as are its fishers.
“We were among the first companies to step up our efforts to bringing greater transparency to the inshore fleet. Last year we committed to having 100% of our inshore trawl fleet with Vessel Monitoring Systems and electronic monitoring (cameras) on board, and we’re pleased to announce that we’re almost there.
“In our largest fishery, SNA1, we have 100% coverage, and this is something that is wholeheartedly supported, in fact it was initiated, by fishers. They are professionals who do their job with pride, and are pleased with the transparency of their practices that this provides, exactly because it shows they have nothing to hide,” says Aotearoa Fisheries CEO, Carl Carrington.
Aotearoa Fisheries is also supportive of the fact that MPI has the mandate under current regulations to enforce penalties for transgressions caught on camera, and expects it to act on any illegal activity.
For Aotearoa Fisheries and the commercial fishing sector as a whole knowing where fish are being caught is an integral part of sustainable fisheries management and the transparency that monitoring equipment provides enables it to build public confidence, and its fishers to show the care they take in what they do.
“We are absolutely committed to a sustainably managed fishery. It makes no sense for us to be doing anything on the water that compromises the long term health of the fish stocks. So having this technology on the boats gives everybody confidence that what is happening, is what we say is happening.”
However, Aotearoa Fisheries believes that electronic monitoring is only one part of the solution. It is always looking at ways it can improve what it does to ensure overall sustainability of commercial fishing under the Quota Management System. After all, without that the commercial fishing sector would cease to exist and most people wouldn’t be able to enjoy delicious, healthy product from our pristine coastal waters.
“We acknowledge that there are parts of the Quota Management System that need improving and we’re more than happy to be part of ongoing discussions on improvements” says Carl.