7 Jun 2012

Tribal collective considers buying fishing vessel

6:32 am on 7 June 2012

A number of North Island iwi are considering buying and operating their own fishing vessel following Government changes to the way foreign fishing boats must operate.

Foreign-owned charter vessels must be reflagged as New Zealand ships by 2016, which will place them under New Zealand laws.

The changes follow a ministerial inquiry held earlier this year, carried out after accusations of mistreatment and underpayment on some boats charted by New Zealand companies.

The Iwi Collective Partnership consists of 12 North Island iwi who pool together their annual fishing quota and lease it to seafood company Sanford, which operates four foreign-flagged vessels.

ICP manager Maru Samuels says a vessel owned and operated by Maori would be a long-term benefit to the collective.

However, Mr Samuels says around $20 million is needed for one vessel, and many Maori aren't convinced a career in the fishing industry is the right choice.

Mr Samuels says ICP must focus on creating an interest in fishing careers by developing training and scholarship programmes within the seafood industry.

ICP is the largest collective of iwi involved in the fisheries sector and is made up of interests from: Nga Rauru, Ngaiterangi, Ngati Awa, Ngati Manawa, Ngati Porou, Ngati Ruanui, Taranaki Iwi, Ngaitai, Te Rarawa, Ngati Tuwharetoa, Whakatohea and Te Arawa.