Camera rollout boosts marine protection

Oceans and Fisheries

The rollout of on-board cameras across New Zealand's inshore commercial fishing fleet has reached a new milestone, with cameras going live on the first 23 boats from Tuesday, Minister for Oceans and Fisheries Rachel Brooking has announced.

“Initial installations on these 23 boats will be followed by a further 70 by the end of the year, and up to 300 by early 2025,” Rachel Brooking said.

“These cameras join the existing activities used to monitor commercial fishing in New Zealand, including monitoring boat locations and the work of on-board observers.

“This is a significant step in monitoring commercial fishing in New Zealand and will improve transparency and accountability across the sector," Rachel Brooking said.

Cameras have been prioritised on boats posing a higher risk to protected species of marine mammals and seabirds. Filming only occurs when fishing is taking place.

“People in New Zealand, and around the world, increasingly demand evidence of sustainable fishing practices,” Rachel Brooking said. “As a Government, we share this desire and we’re taking action.

“New Zealand’s cameras will increase the number of on-board cameras globally by around 15 percent.”

The camera rollout follows trials along the west coast of the North Island focused on protecting Māui dolphin habitat.

These trials were accompanied by bans on trawling across 12,000 square kilometres and bans on set netting over 32,000 square kilometres.

“Getting the remaining cameras on-board is a priority. I’m delighted to see this work go live,” Rachel Brooking said.