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Seafood companies challenge sanctuary

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 29/04/2016

Seafood companies challenge sanctuary © Facebook / The Kermadecs Seafood companies challenge sanctuary The fishing industry is taking the government to court over the proposed marine sanctuary in the Kermadec Islands.

Seafood companies have filed a statement of claim in the High Court in response to the government's move to establish the Kermadec Ocean Sanctuary via the Kermadec Ocean Sanctuary Bill.

The action, led by the Fishing Industry Association has been filed by Solander Maritime Ltd, Sanford Ltd, Talleys Group Ltd, Independent Fisheries Ltd, Aotearoa Fisheries Ltd, KPF Investments Ltd (United), Vela Fishing Ltd, Pupuri Taonga Limited (Sealord) and Ngai Tahu Seafood Resources Ltd, representing around 80 per cent of fishing quota, FTA says.

"The proposed bill will undermine the integrity of New Zealand's 30-year-old world-leading Quota Management System and the Maori Fisheries Settlement Act," FIA president Steve Bishop says.

He says the process for setting up the sanctuary is flawed.

"The QMS has been and remains the principal resource management regime operating in New Zealand's oceans out to 200 miles around the Kermadecs."

It has been so effective in managing fishing activities that the Kermadecs region is regularly described as a pristine environment.

The Greens, WWF-New Zealand and the Environmental Defence Society (EDS) were quick to condemn the move.

WWF-New Zealand campaigner Alex Smith says the fishing industry is trying to veto marine protection "seemingly on the basis that they have a property right over the ocean".

Green Party environment and fisheries spokeswoman Eugenie Sage says the fishing industry has overstepped the mark, with a self-serving legal challenge.

"The industry's legal action against the Kermadec sanctuary looks as if it is trying to obtain veto power," she said.

EDS chief executive Gary Taylor says "we are gob-smacked by this announcement".

It is the second legal challenge against the sanctuary, following High Court action by Maori Fisheries Trust Te Ohu Kaimoana last month.

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