1 Mar 2012

Why so few Maori employed in the fishing industry?

7:09 pm on 1 March 2012

The release of the ministerial inquiry report into the use of foreign fishing vessels on Thursday confirms there are questions over why Maori aren't working in the industry.

Some submitters argue Maori quota holders should employ Maori to catch their quota and process the catch.

They say one of the purposes of the Maori Fisheries Act was to help develop the collective and individual interests of iwi involved in the fishing industry - which would ultimately benefit all Maori.

But respondents to the inquiry suggested the use of foreign charter vessels is effectively undermining the goal of benefiting Maori as a whole.

The report also records submissions which highlight New Zealand's unemployment, particularly among youth and Maori and Pacific workers.

Again, submitters argued the use of foreign vessels is taking jobs away from locals who are willing and able to work both on board vessels and in on-shore processing plants.

Those making their points say more should be done to increase employment opportunities for New Zealanders in the on-shore processing of fish caught in the Exclusive Economic Zone.

The report says submitters note that employment levels in the fishing industry on land have been falling steadily in recent years - due to the increased use of offshore processing plants.