22 Jun 2012

Stop worrying about re-flagging - MP

6:27 am on 22 June 2012

An MP who formerly worked for the Ngai Tahu Fisheries company says the fisheries sector has enough time to prepare for the re-flagging of foreign charter vessels, and should stop focusing on projected financial losses.

Labour MP for Te Tai Tonga, Rino Tirikatene who used to work for Ngai Tahu Fisheries says there won't be any shortage of catching capacity in this country.

Re-flagging is set to happen from 2016, and the Maori Fisheries Trust - Te Ohu Kaimoana - says the change could reduce the value of the settlement quota by $120 million.

Trust members say reflagging could reduce annual income for iwi quota owners by $10 million, if the owners of these vessels no longer want to work in New Zealand waters.

Trust leaders are also worried the price of high value fish such as hoki and orange roughy will drop, making it less profitable for foreign charter vessels owners to catch.

But Mr Tirikatene says with less competition for quota, companies such as Sealord, half-owned by Maori, should be able to fill this gap.