Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Still a criminal industry

More evidence that the fishing industry suffers from pervasive criminality, with Forest & Bird highlighting some odd numbers in the annual statistics:

The Annual Review Report For Highly Migratory Species Fisheries 2018/19 (Pg 4, Table 4) showed only 4% of commercial long lining trips for tuna and swordfish reported non-fish bycatch such as seabirds when there was no observer, but this jumped to 37% when there were Government observers on board.

“It’s simply unbelievable that a commercial fishing trip is nine times more likely to catch seabirds when there’s an observer on board,”says Mr Keey.

“The only reasonable conclusion is that on trips without observers fishers are breaching their legal obligation to honestly and accurately report bycatch,” says Mr Keey. It is not an offence to kill seabirds while fishing but it is an offence to fail to report catching them.

And this isn't a trivial offence. Submitting a false report is punishable by up to 5 years in jail and a $250,000 fine. As for what to do about it, the solution is obvious: a government observer on every boat, and make this criminal industry pay for it.