30 Jan 2024

More cameras on fishing boats - but is the system working?

From Nine To Noon, 9:05 am on 30 January 2024
A fishing boat sits in the Hokianga Harbour

A fishing boat sits in the Hokianga Harbour Photo: Cole Eastham-Farrelly

More fishing boats are now required to have on-board cameras to monitor for deaths of rare dolphins and other bycatch.

Since mid-January, surface longline vessels operating near our shore are required to have cameras on board, to get a more accurate picture of bycatch, with Hector's and Maui dolphins of particular interest.

The Ministry for Primary Industries is part way through rolling out cameras on a range of fishing vessels. So far they are required on inshore vessels, not large deepwater vessels. MPI's director of fisheries compliance, Steve Ham says there are a range of measures and restrictions on set nets and trawling across the North and South Island to protect rare dolphins. But critics, including Zoology Professor Liz Slooten say there are too few cameras, and not enough monitoring of the footage captured.