• John Luxton
Fisheries and Aquaculture

Minister of Fisheries, Hon John Luxton today said that he was considering all options and hoped to be in a position to make a decision early next week on the immediate future of Auckland Island squid fishery.

The Ministers comments follow an allegation from Opposition Conservation spokesperson, Pete Hodgson, that he was breaking the law because he had not already closed the fishery.

This is an important decision for many people. There are the 13,500 Hooker seas lions, of whom 34 have been observed as accidentally caught. But then we have the major impact on people if we close this fishery, Mr Luxton said today.

Extrapolations using a special formula indicate that 102 of the 13,500 sea lions are estimated to have been caught by the whole fleet.

Fishing industry submissions have highlighted that there will be significant economic impacts from closure including, loss of substantial income ($ 30 million plus) , lost jobs, possible bankruptcy for some small companies, contract complications, flow on impacts in processing and vessel servicing, damage to overseas squid markets, as well as difficulties in charter availability for squid and other associated fisheries.

Having now received further information from the industry on the economic impacts, and more information from my Ministry on all the available options open to me as Minister, I hope to be able to announce a decision early next week, Mr Luxton said.

I am surprised that Mr Hodgson would want me to make a quick, ill considered decision given the impact on people, jobs, and companies in his and other Labour held electorates, Mr Luxton concluded.