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Greenpeace is slamming the government’s Fisheries Industry Transformation Plan released today, calling it anything but transformational – as it allows destructive bottom trawling to continue.

“Bottom trawling is the worst of the worst methods of fishing. It destroys seafloor habitats and indiscriminately kills ocean life, and this new plan does nothing meaningful to stop the destruction”, says Greenpeace oceans campaigner Ellie Hooper.

“Despite its name there is very little that is transformative about this plan with no timeline to phase out destructive bottom trawling and an over reliance on mythical ‘techno fixes’ to address the impact commercial fishing has on ocean life.

“We see this plan as a missed opportunity to protect the ocean from the ravages of bottom trawling and truly transform commercial fishing in Aotearoa.”The science is clear – bottom trawling destroys marine habitats and life. The public knows this and are fully onside with a ban. Almost 80% of people surveyed want a ban on bottom trawling and that same sentiment shined through in submissions.”

The vast majority of submitters on the Plan – almost all of the 2,790 email submitters – called for a time-bound transition away from bottom trawling – yet the final plan has ignored these voices.

“It’s very clear who has been listened to in this process, and who hasn’t. The government has ensured the commercial fishing industry can continue kicking the can down the road, avoiding meaningful changes and continuing ocean destruction. Everyone else who wants to see the ocean protected and full of life – has been ignored.”

In June, a report from the Department of Conservation revealed that 200 tonnes of coral has been observed being trawled up by bottom trawlers over the last 13 years. Weeks later, a sustainability review showed serious concerns for a key bottom trawled fish – orange roughy.

“The Government already has enough data to act,” says Hooper.

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“We know the harm bottom trawling causes and we know what needs to be done to rectify it. We cannot afford more delays in transitioning away from this method, that will only mean more destruction.

“We are in a biodiversity crisis and it’s time to get real about what it’s going to take to reverse that.

“With the government currently considering bottom trawling restrictions for both seamounts and the Hauraki Gulf, we sincerely hope they will do what‘s right for the ocean, and what the vast majority of people want to see – and ban bottom trawling from these areas.

“We can have a thriving ocean and a commercial fishing industry we are proud of, but to get to that future we need urgent commitments to move away from bottom trawling.”


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