Consultation opens on plan to transform the fishing sector

The Government has released a draft plan to transform the fishing sector so that it can do a better job of protecting the environment while providing more jobs and earning more money.

“Oceans are an essential part of being a New Zealander,” Oceans and Fisheries Minister Rachel Brooking said at the launch of the Fishing Industry Transformation Plan in Auckland today.

“Our four-million-square-mile marine area is 15 times the size of our land area. Even our most inland places are not much more than 100 kilometres from the sea.

“Oceans give us jobs (in tourism as well as fishing and aquaculture) and food, they regulate the climate and store vast amounts of carbon dioxide, and they are the source of some of our best holidays and memories.

“All of these things are worth protecting and enhancing, which is why I am pleased that my very first job as Minister for Oceans and Fisheries is to launch a public discussion document on how we can do better.

“Last year, New Zealand earnt $1.45 billion in export revenue from wild-capture fisheries. If we want to earn more and at the same time make sure we have healthy oceans, we have to keep finding ways to improve,” Rachel Brooking said.

The draft Fishing Industry Transformation Plan has been put together by representatives of the fishing industry working with environmental groups, iwi representatives, scientists, unions and the food sector.

Proposals include:

  • Expanding medical, cosmetic and nutraceutical products from seafoods so we can earn more without catching more.
  • Identifying new technologies, fishing gear and practices to reduce the impact fishing has on the seafloor and on protected species.
  • Developing skilled jobs for New Zealanders and ways to earn more from the fish we catch.
  • Preparing for the effects of climate change.

“Now we need to hear what others have got to say, and I encourage everyone to read the draft plan, talk about it and, most importantly, tell us what you think through the submission process,” Rachel Brooking said.

Submissions are open from today until 5pm on 11 June.