21 Sep 2016

Fish dumping problem 'exaggerated' - lobby group

11:38 am on 21 September 2016

The extent of fish dumping in New Zealand waters is being exaggerated, according to a fisheries lobby group.

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Photo: 123rf.com

An independent inquiry has criticised the Ministry for Primary Industries for failing to prosecute dumping, which an internal ministry email has described as systemic.

The inquiry said stopping all dumping would probably put half the inshore fleet out of business.

But Fisheries Inshore chief executive Jeremy Helson said that was not true and the problem was being exaggerated.

"That email's probably a bit of hyperbole, an internal throwaway comment. Clearly there are issues that need to be addressed, but I wouldn't say they were systemic. I think it's also a little unfair to make generalised statements like that, and impugn the integrity of fishers, most of whom are pretty hard-working, honest people.

Mr Helson said the industry had worked with the ministry for some time to get a solid grasp on exactly what is being caught.

He said combating the dumping of fish was complex but the industry was willing to help.

Meanwhile, the company that investigated fish dumping, Trident, said it was independent, despite being owned by the industry's biggest players.

Chair Jeremy Fleming told Morning Report its monitoring process had no input from the fishing industry, despite it being owned by Sanford and other fishing groups.

"Human observers compliment the electronic monitoring. The collection of the footage is completely independent from Sanford or any of the other shareholders in trident, the footage is not available to those companies."

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