Antarctica: Toothfish

  • Simon Upton
Associate Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade

``New Zealand is concerned by reports that a New Zealand vessel licensed by Australia to fish for toothfish around Australia's Heard Island, has been threatened by a vessel fishing illegally,'' the Associate Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Hon Simon Upton, and the Minister of Fisheries, Hon John Luxton, commented today.

``This incident underlines the need for members of the Convention for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources to work together urgently to find effective means of addressing illegal fishing,'' the Ministers said.

``There is as yet no evidence of any illegal or unregulated fishing activities in New Zealand's Ross Sea, and no suggestion of imminent threat. However, there are signs of growing interest on the part of the international fishing industry in the region. Working with like-minded countries through the Convention on the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources we will seek effective ways of preventing ``free-for-all'' fishing for toothfish in the Ross Sea,'' the Ministers added.

``We are already assisting in the collection and sharing of information with countries affected by the illegal and unregulated fishing. We are building up knowledge of what is happening,'' the Ministers said. ``Officials will be working with affected countries during the forthcoming Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meeting in Christchurch to develop options for cooperation in combating this illegal fishing.''