22 May 2021

Government's commitment to putting cameras on commercial fishing boats questioned

11:25 am on 22 May 2021

Greenpeace is questioning the government's commitment to placing cameras on commercial fishing boats.

View with a shallow depth of field of the deck of a fishing vessel: boxes with a fresh fish yield of tuna, the yellow rope and simple drag anchor, ocean water with bokeh overboard

Photo: 123RF

Last year, it promised to spend up to $60 million putting them on one-third of the fleet by 2024.

But Thursday's Budget announcement was silent on how quickly this would happen, much to the disappointment of environmental groups including Greenpeace.

Its oceans campaigner, Jessica Desmond, said the perilous state of many seabirds and dolphins that too often end up as bycatch, means cameras need to be put on the boats urgently.

"There's an issue of the investment and there's also an issue of an indication of the political will behind this, this has been a much belaboured programme, you know it's been more than a decade since it was first tabled."

Desmond said fishing practices will only change when they are made fully transparent.

Ahead of the Budget, Forest and Bird chief executive Kevin Hague also had money for cameras on commercial fishing boats on his wishlist saying the government had been dithering on the issue for years.

WWF kaihautū taiao / environmental science director Dr Aroha Spinks said in a post-Budget statement that if the government was serious about creating a foundation for the future one of the things it would do would be to fully fund cameras on 100 percent of all fishing boats.

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