Friday, May 11, 2018

A bullshit idea

The government is trying to revive the Kermadec Ocean sanctuary idea, which had been held up by the need for consultations with iwi. Unfortunately their proposal for reviving it is to allow fishing in it:

A marine sanctuary in the Kermadec Islands could be back on the table – but not in its original form.

Labour and NZ First are working on an alternative proposal for an ocean sanctuary in the region which allows some fishing to take place.

The compromise solution would appease NZ First, which was concerned about the impacts of a no-take zone on the fishing industry and iwi.

It remains to be seen, however, whether the Green Party would support a watered-down proposal.

Hopefully they won't, because this is a bullshit idea. A "sanctuary" which allows fishing isn't a sanctuary at all, and I expect the Greens to hold firm on that. While boundaries can be negotiated, the fundamental of a marine protected area actually being protected can't be.

There's a relatively easy solution for iwi whose fishing rights in the area would be affected, and that is to compensate them and offer co-management. Their mana is protected by the Treaty, and infringing upon it without compensation would be a breach of the government's duty. But I don't think its beyond the wit of government or iwi to come to an arrangement on this.

As for the fishing industry, fuck them. There's practically no fishing in that area anyway (a total of 20 tons of fish worth $165,000 are caught there every year), and the tiny amount there is is all for migratory species for which the quota can be exercised elsewhere. Their objection isn't because this will interfere with their business in any meaningful way, but to the very idea of marine protection itself - that there might be areas off-limits to their pillage. And like farmers whining about the "right to farm" (meaning the "right" to stick animals and their shit anywhere, without any environmental regulation) that is simply not an idea worth engaging with.

Unfortunately the fishing industry has NZ First in its pocket, and so we get bullshit ideas like this. I think the best we can do is work for a deal with iwi, while waiting for the government to change to one that doesn't involve Winston Peters or Shane Jones. Then we might be able to get some actual progress on this issue.