NZ wants light fishing in Ross Sea
Wed, 31 Oct 2012 11:36a.m.
By 3 News online staff
New Zealand and the US have brokered a joint proposal to create the world’s largest marine reserve area in the Ross Sea.
New Zealand has negotiated to allow a limited amount of fishing within the area, and that is worrying some environmental groups.
The proposal was put to an international commission meeting in Hobart this week and requires approval from 23 members of the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR).
New Zealand and the US have proposed a marine protected area of 2.27 million square kilometres, with 1.6 million of that a “no-take zone”. An area in the south would be designated a “special research zone” where light fishing and tagging of toothfish would be permitted.
The US originally wanted a no-fishing reference area but has agreed to the new zone.
The zone is where the bulk of toothfish are found and New Zealand CCAMLR commissioner Carolyn Schwalger says it will provide a balance between conservation and sustainable fishing.
“[It is] an area that will be lightly fished so enough fishing will take place there for us to sustain the tagging programme and at the same time the United States, we understand, are satisfied they can do the research they want to do.”
The toothfish fishery is worth around $50 million to New Zealand annually and uses a tag and release system to calculate how many fish there are. New Zealand went into the meeting confident that it could protect the Ross sea and continue with fishing.
Environmental group Antarctic Ocean Alliance’s coordinator Geoff Keey is concerned.
“We believe a marine reserve ought to be no-take,” he says. “If they’re talking about light fishing we want to know what that really means. If they are talking about research fishing inside a marine reserve we want be confident they are not talking about commercial fishing in the guise of research fishing.”
The members of the commission have until tomorrow to make a decision on whether to accept the proposal.
3 News / NZN
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1/11/2012 9:38:55 a.m.
Paul Berry wrote:
Looking at her reactions to the lack of the marine protected area Ms Schwalger did not seem to be upset. One is left wondering if this was from her and the governments point of view the desired outcome.
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