Back in May, the Ministry for Primary Industries announced the winner of a contract to monitor surveillance cameras on fishing boats. The problem? The contractor was wholly-owned by the New Zelaand fishing industry. And as pointed out in the Herald today, that's simply not credible:
New Zealand's decision to monitor fishing practices with a watchdog owned by the industry would not be acceptable in the United States, Canada or Australia, an international monitoring company has told the Government.
The criticism was made in a letter to the Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy obtained by the Herald.
Howard McElderry, vice-president of Archipelago Marine Research, said appointment of a company owned by the industry it was policing would create a problem proving objectivity any time the data looked questionable.
The company which wrote the letter failed to win the contract themselves, but at the same time, they have a point: this is setting the fox to guard the henhouse. The incentives on Trident are to cover up rather than expose wrongdoing - and with MPI completely in the pocket of the fishing industry, they'll be happy to look the other way on it.
Onboard video surveillance is a good solution to the problem of pervasive criminality in the fishing industry. But it needs to be independent and credible. And this simply isn't.