To: Hon Eugenie Sage, Minister of Conservation
Date: 18 March 2019
At the Authority’s February 2019 meeting we had a presentation from Richard Wells, managing director of Resourcewise Ltd, on the issue of seabird by-catch. This was in response to a presentation from DOC staff at our August 2018 meeting.
The former Authority Chairperson Dame Kerry Prendergast originally wrote to you on 13 November 2018 concerning this issue and received a response from you on 31 January 2019. I am therefore writing to you again as the Authority’s thinking and advice on this issue has developed.
Richard provided an industry perspective and additional context, and it was clear from his presentation that there was a broad recognition within industry of the need to mitigate by-catch. Although current mitigation efforts, such as promoting a culture change ensuring all fishing vessels have onboard information on endangered species and best practice, are progress in the right direction, the Authority firmly believes that more should be done. For example, cameras on board vessels have the potential to improve industry performance and risk management, and the Authority supports a full rollout of cameras throughout New Zealand.
Authority members also have concerns about fishing boats that have the ability to process by-catch and then release under the boat in the form of berley, away from view. Any information you can provide on this issue would be much appreciated.
The Authority is encouraged to hear that DOC will receive additional funding to grow its work on fisheries by-catch, but stress the urgency of action in this regard.
E noho ora mai
Edward Ellison ONZM