Tuna fisherman angry at Kermadec Sanctuary
Despite conservationists hailing the New Zealand government's decision to turn the Kermadec Islands into a giant marine sanctuary, covering 600-thousand square miles, it hasn't gone down well with some in the fishing industry.
Conservationists are hailing the Government's decision to turn to Kermadec Islands - north east of New Zealand - into a giant marine sanctuary, but it hasn't gone down well with some in the fishing industry.
All mining, prospecting and fishing is to be banned across 600,000 square kilometres.
Charles Hummet, who's based in Nelson, runs a tuna fleet out of Fiji.
He told Jim Mora there was no consultation with the industry and says it's a short-sighted decision.
CHARLES HUMMET: Absolutely staggered really because we talk about our quota management system and how it's such a good system we've got and so on and to suddenly announce in New York a major change to where we can fish and how we can fish is quite incredible and quite disappointing.
JIM MORA: How's it going to affect you and the general industry, you run a tuna fleet out of Fiji don't you.
CH: Yes, and we're involved in the New Zealand fishing industry as well in the tuna industry.
JM: So what will it mean to you?
CH: It will mean to us that we cannot fish when it's a good time to fish for the yellow tuna and big eye in the months of September, October, November, and December. I need to explain that in 2007 the industry voluntarily entered into a BPA, a benefit protection area for the Kermadecs so long before this became a hot issue the industry realised that this was a pristine area and agreed not to trawl or not to put any bottom gear on the seabed in the Kermadecs. Now the fishing I'm talking about is quite different, that is surface fishing or mid-water fishing.
JM: Yes, but won't the boats simply wait for the tuna on the other side of the protected area the way they do at the moment?
CH: Yes, and that's what's happening with the foreign fleets fishing outside of the Kermadecs at the moment, there are about 220 foreign vessels particularly on the Western side sitting there waiting for the fish to traverse across. These are non-resident fish, they don't stay in the Kermadecs, they're just highly migratory on their way through.
JM: Will it have the environmental benefits for the Kermadec islands that they are saying in your view?
CH: It will have no effect whatsoever, the quantity of fish that we can take is is governed by the QMS (quota management system) so where we catch it, whether we catch it off Bluff or off Auckland, the total is still the same so this makes not one kilogram of difference.
JM: Nevertheless it's a vision that's entranced the world hasn't it, secretary of state John Kerry was talking about how important it is to have this great swath of ocean totally safe for seabirds and wales and dolphins and so on. Are you saying the reality doesn't quite match the grandness of that vision.
CH: The reality doesn't because Kerry and unfortunately our Government ministers don't know the difference between pelagic which is surface and demersal which is bottom.
JM: So you're saying this is basically just a symbolic statement.
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