New Zealand Applauds United States' Steps Against Toothfish Plunder

  • Simon Upton
Associate Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade

"New Zealand welcomes the American initiative to track trade in illegal and unreported catches of toothfish," the Associate Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Hon Simon Upton said today.

He was commenting on advice from the United States of the introduction of a special code for reporting the importation of toothfish into the United States, designed to spotlight trade in toothfish caught contrary to the toothfish fisheries management regime of the Hobart-based Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR).

"The American action is an important move in the fight to curb the plunder of the Southern Ocean and to check the "free-for-all" attitudes that are developing in respect of Antarctic fisheries. It will support and strengthen the management regime CCAMLR has set in place to ensure the careful and sustainable development of toothfish fisheries, including in the Ross Sea, where exploratory fishing for toothfish has just got underway," Mr Upton said.

"New Zealand looks forward to working closely with the United States and other CCAMLR members to support CCAMLR and to ensure wise and careful management of the marine living resources of the Southern Ocean," Mr Upton concluded.

Additional Information

CCAMLR estimates that up to ten times the amount of toothfish legally caught in Convention waters (10,000 tonnes) has been taken over the past year by vessels flagged to members of the Convention or reflagged to flags of convenience. The plunder has caused significant damage to known toothfish stocks around a number of sub-Antarctic islands. It has also led to significant mortality of rare and endangered species of seabirds which have been caught in the long-lining fishery carried out without the precautions set by CCAMLR.

Along with Japan, the United States is one of the significant markets for this valuable species. The new reporting requirements mean that Washington is now better able to track toothfish imports into the United States. This will help CCAMLR to monitor and better understand the dynamics of the world toothfish trade.