Tuesday, February 14, 2006

A good day for conservation

Wow. The government has announced that it has cut a deal with major fishing companies to close almost a third of our EEZ to bottom trawling - the largest marine conservation plan ever within a nation's EEZ. From the map of affected areas [PDF], it doesn't look like a third, but its a hell of a big area, reportedly covering 42% of seamounts in New Zealand waters and a decent selection of habitats. A very good day for conservation.

It may also help us negotiate a wider deal as well. At the moment, representatives from 25 countries are meeting in Wellington to establish a Regional Fisheries Management Organisation. New Zealand is urging action on bottom trawling, and we've just shown that we'll back our words with actions. Hopefully a few of those other governments will decide to follow our example and do the same.

(If you're interested in the RFMO, BTW, Greenpeace has a blog on the meeting here).


There is a slight irony in banning bottom-trawling in the Kermadec trench area while still allowing seabed mining.


But I guess inconsistency is better than nothing.


Posted by Matt : 2/14/2006 04:37:00 PM

Maybe what you need to do is give the rights to fishing to a trust or competing trusts - designed to maximise long term profits via fishing licences and so forth.

Just an idea that might be better than a free for all.

Posted by Genius : 2/14/2006 05:52:00 PM

Genius: I suggest you go away and read about the way fisheries are managed in New Zealand. We certainly do not have a "free for all". The problem that this measure is supposed to address is the consequent damage caused by fishing, rather than overfishing itself.

Posted by Idiot/Savant : 2/14/2006 11:22:00 PM

Fear Greeeks (And Maori and Dalmatians) bearing gifts.

Bound to be something fishy in all this.

Posted by Anonymous : 2/15/2006 08:54:00 AM

This is just an industry proposal at the moment, rather than a 'deal' as such, although Anderton likes it.

Although Anderton is adding the areas already placed off limits to get his 42% - the industry apparently wants the ones that fall outside its proposal reconsidered.

Big though it is, I'm inclined to assume the areas covered aren't much good for bottom trawling anyway - that someone (whose PR must be at an all time low) is making high virtue out of necessity. And opening up the possibility of being able to do whatever they like everywhere else.

They certainly haven't changed the wildly disingenuous tone of their rhetoric claiming that it's okay at all.

Rhetoric that is eerily echoed in that Anderton press release - which isn't as radical as you might hope from the headline.

That said, it's I suppose it's progress. And they're clearly feeling got at.

The really positive bit probably is the push for restrictions on the high seas.

Posted by Lyndon : 2/15/2006 10:46:00 AM

Well, its impressed at least one critic. But the Greens are making sure we're not being scammed: their question in Question Time today is

What advice or reports has he received or asked for on the ecological values of the areas proposed by the fishing industry to be closed to bottom trawling in New Zealand's exclusive economic zone, and who provided that advice?

If the answer to the latter part is "the fishing industry", then I think we've got good reason to be concerned.

Posted by Idiot/Savant : 2/15/2006 12:51:00 PM