NZ ambassador happy Pacific Vessel Day Scheme will go on
New Zealand's Pacific ambassador Shane Jones says in encouraging catch based fisheries management his country is not advocating that other methods should go.
New Zealand's Pacific ambassador Shane Jones says in encouraging catch-based fisheries management this country is not advocating other methods should go.
This week New Zealand is hosting about 40 fisheries ministers and officials to learn about this country's fisheries management.
It is part of a US$34 million dollar commitment by New Zealand to advance the Pacific Forum's Roadmap on Fishing Sustainability.
The Parties to the Nauru Agreement have come out on the eve of the visit to say its members have unanimously voted to continue with their Vessel Day Scheme, under which the island nations restrict the number of purse seiners operating by selling fishing days.
Mr Jones told Don Wiseman that is not a problem.
SHANE JONES: Let's de-fang the community of listeners of any apprehension that they might have that the New Zealand offer of financial assistance and offer to provide opportunities during this education tour have anything to do with stripping the ability of island leaders to run the VDS scheme. That is wrong in fact and that is a very disappointing level of mischief making that I have had reported to me. The purpose of the trip, and there's about 40 people, is to provide our friend and colleagues and ministers from across the Pacific the chance to look at the New Zealand story, and take on board some of the lessons that have been learnt, as New Zealand over several decades has, developed, refined and continues to work on, a catch-based system. The advisors to the PNA group, the ministers that comprise the FFA [Forum Fisheries Agency] group have no end of opportunity while they are here to test whether or not has application in the islands. The reason that we are doing it - the prime minister [John Key] identified two key ingredients - the importance of maximising the economic worth of the fishery in the host communities of the Pacific, and ensuring that the systems that we had in place, and the stewardship that we show, continues to drive better sustainability outcomes.
DON WISEMAN: But the PNA say that their system works very very well, that they have had this huge generation of income. That there has also been a reduction in fish going out of their region and that is the critical area in the terms of tuna in the region. Wouldn't it have been a better move to have focused on developing even further, that VDS, rather than bringing in another way of doing it?
SJ: The New Zealand government is actively working with the Solomon Islands and PNG to invest and encourage more development through factories and manufacturing. So I think it is a little uncharitable for anyone to say that the New Zealand government is not currently investing in the areas that you have identified. A key priority in New Zealand's bilateral aid in terms of fisheries is Solomons Islands. The Solomon Islands probably has the marquee factory in the Pacific - 50% owned by the Solomons government and 50% owned by Tri-marine, a large American outfit, employing up to 2,300 people during the course of the factory's yearly activities. There is a proposal to establish a further factory there. So I think that it is important that while the focus has been on the 400 to 500 million dollars associated with the PNA's VDS scheme - and as an ambassador I say good on you, get on with it. But there are other fisheries challenges, not the least of which is the long line fishery where the level of regulation is woeful and unfortunately the level of high seas fishing threatens to ruin the sustainability of the long line fishery. And a lot of what we are doing this week is actually focusing on those problems.
DW: So how will you do that? You are taking them around the country aren't you? So what will you do?
SJ: Our visitors will have the opportunity to go to the Nelson Technical Training School, they will be hosted in Nelson which is the fisheries capital. They will have an opportunity to meet from the most senior surveillance and administration people here in New Zealand, a host of private sector people who were involved in the development of the catch-based quota management system several decades ago. So it is a great opportunity to interact with the private sector, but more importantly with people whose day to day jobs are to administer our fisheries. And I think it is important that we trace the origins of the trip back to a declaration by the leaders to explore how more value could be created out of the fisheries resource and also to consider a report that is currently being written about the importance and what virtues there might be in a catch based system, enjoying wider application throughout the Pacific. This is not something that New Zealand is independently doing and I would be very disappointed if a perception is put through the media or anywhere else that this is a lone wolf exercise. This is something that comes from the highest levels of the political leadership of the Pacific, from the Pacific Forum.
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