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Statement from Carl Carrington, Moana New Zealand Chief Executive for Radio New Zealand Insight

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Statement from Carl Carrington, Moana New Zealand Chief Executive for Radio New Zealand Insight

I listened with interest to the piece by Conan Young on fish dumping, and thought it worthwhile to offer an additional perspective to the story, that of a commercial fishing company, in addition to selected fishers with their own particular views.

Ours is the largest Iwi-owned fishing company in the country, and as such we have an even greater investment in the sustainability of the industry as kaitiaki, or guardians, of the sea for future generations.

The overwhelming view – based on international research and best practice – is that New Zealand’s Quota Management System (QMS) is one of the best sustainability tools in the world, and that is absolutely true.  Of course there’s always room for improvement, and Moana New Zealand is keen to be part of ongoing discussions on this with MPI.

We wholeheartedly support transparency on the water as a way to eliminate illegal fish discarding. In addition we are right behind industry-driven initiatives like the recording of undersized catch to improve stock management, over and above government regulations.

Our fishers know that illegal discarding is not acceptable, and we also make sure they have sufficient quota to land what they catch, ensuring there is no economic motivation for illegal discarding. Furthermore, we’re trying to understand how we can better utilise what is landed and have a number of projects already underway to do this.

Moana New Zealand and Sanford have made a significant investment into fast-tracking cameras onto their trawl fleet.  Our fishers understand and support this action, after all it’s their livelihood and that of their families at stake if fish stocks decline.  Putting cameras on boats was an industry initiative, well ahead of regulation and we congratulate our fishers for the voluntary participation in bringing greater transparency to our industry.

Moana New Zealand has also invested in Precision Seafood Harvesting (PSH), a trawl technology that enables selectivity and small-sized live fish to escape.  This is a significant investment of $52 million over seven years.  We’ve also invested in new inshore vessels that have the latest seabird mitigation devices; and late last year we also announced, together with Sanford, our Māui dolphin protection plan.

The integrity of Trident Systems was called into question.  It wasn’t made clear that there were no dolphin captures reported by Trident precisely because there were no dolphins captured on the vessels with Trident cameras on board. Unfortunately the article tried to insinuate some sort of industry led cover up which is simply not the case.

All of the Trident footage is with the Ministry for Primary Industries who are the regulators and enforcement agency.

It is worth noting that the camera technology deployed by Trident is world leading technology developed in New Zealand by SnapIT specifically for New Zealand fisheries.  We should not assume that the best IP resides overseas. Time and again New Zealand innovation has led the world and this is once more an exemplar we can celebrate and support.

It’s a combination of improving upon the existing QMS, efforts of commercial fishing companies to go beyond what is regulated, and only having fishers who have the right level of respect for their work environment out on the water that will stamp out the bad practices of a few fishers who give the rest a bad name.