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Effective action needed against pirate fishing boats

New Zealand’s failure to detain pirate shipping vessels poaching endangered species in our region is simply not good enough, Labour’s Defence spokesperson Phil Goff says.

“We send New Zealand naval vessels to the Arabian Gulf to board pirate ships there but seem to lack the ability to detain pirate fishing boats in our own back yard.

“These boats were caught red-handed fishing illegally, yet were able to thumb their noses at the New Zealand Navy. It’s like police catching burglars in the act but being unable to detain and take action against them. 

“The Government owes New Zealanders a full explanation as to why our navy is unable to carry out its task of effectively policing maritime areas for which we have responsibility. 

“Toothfish are an endangered species and yet we seem incapable of stopping illegal commercial fishing operations that threaten the species with extinction.

“A New Zealand recreational fisher who breaks the law faces prosecution and confiscation of their boat and car. Yet a large scale international syndicate appears able to act in a criminal way without being sanctioned.

“That’s not good enough and New Zealanders need an assurance that the Government and Navy will be able to act more effectively in future,” Phil Goff said.