29 Sep 2008

Fishing industry seeks more talks over catch ban

12:33 pm on 29 September 2008

Commercial fishers hope discussions on plans to heavily restrict commercial and recreational fishing will be re-opened, following a ruling to put some government bans on hold.

An interim High Court ruling means some government restrictions aimed at protecting Hector's and Maui's dolphins will be postponed, instead of coming into force on Wednesday.

Most bans on set netting, drift netting and trawling will still go ahead, but the ban has been temporarily lifted for fishermen off some areas of the west coast of the North Island, the Marlborough Sounds, and at Te Waewae Bay in Southland.

Federation of Commercial Fishermen president Doug Saunders-Loder says the industry sought the interim order because it believes the ban puts livelihoods at risk in areas where the dolphins are never seen.

He says the fishing industry shares the Fishing Minister's committment to the protection of marine mammals and seabirds, but feels this decision was too broad.

The minister, Jim Anderton, says he has already decided on where bans are needed and the injunction will not affect that.

"This was very widely consulted, it was very widely studied, I had the best scientific evidence in front of me when I made the decision and I'd make exactly the same decision tomorrow."