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Greenpeace alleges overfishing in NZ

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 15/05/2016

Greenpeace says research showing the quantity of fish caught in New Zealand is more than twice what is officially recorded warrants an independent investigation.

It's citing a University of Auckland report as evidence and says the Ministry for Primary Industries is failing to protect oceans.

Greenpeace New Zealand executive director Russel Norman says the paper called Reconstruction of Marine Fisheries Catches for New Zealand (1950-2010), draws on official records, interviews, literature, and data from a wide range of industry experts and personnel, to paint a damning picture of captured officials running interference for fishing companies.

The report estimates unreported industrial catch and fish discards dumped by commercial fishing operators.

"It looks like the ministry charged with looking after our oceans, have instead been looking after the fishing industry - it's completely shocking," Dr Norman says.

"New Zealand's industrial fishing companies have been under-reporting the number of fish they have been taking for years, and the evidence suggests the MPI has been covering for them," he says.

The report explains why average Kiwis are struggling to catch a fish for the dinner table, and demonstrates why they don't trust fishing companies, says Dr Norman.

Commercial discards were estimated to be as high as 37.4 per cent of fish caught. Unreported landings from the industrial sectors made up 18.3 per cent.

"That means nearly 20 per cent of all fish caught are stolen and over a third are thrown back. The waste is mind boggling," says Dr Norman.

When evidence has been delivered to MPI in the past, they have either sat on it or - even worse - buried it, Dr Norman says.

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