Under-reporting shows need to review quota system

The Government must launch an independent review into New Zealand’s 30-year-old Quota Management System following a new report suggesting gross under-reporting of catch in the New Zealand fishing industry, Labour’s Environment spokesperson David Parker says. 

“The Auckland University report found the total New Zealand fisheries catch from 1950 to 2010 was 38.1 million tonnes - 2.7 times the 14 million tonnes officially reported to the United Nations.

“It is sadly unsurprising that there could be fraudulent practises among an industry where some rogue players were found to be subjecting foreign workers to slave-like conditions aboard their vessels. Despite initial denials by the industry, it was proven that some workers were being paid under the minimum wage with intolerable living and work conditions. 

“We mustn’t let the bad behaviour of some once again bring the entire industry into disrepute. 

“The new fisheries catch data released today should be taken very seriously. It suggests a gross under-reporting of actual catch, which would mean a significant amount of by-catch is being discarded,” David Parker says. 

Labour’s Fisheries spokesperson Rino Tirikatene says when the QMS was introduced it was regarded as one of the most effective fisheries management regimes in the world.

“The international science now available did not exist 30 years ago. Monitoring is now old fashioned and incomplete.