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Fisheries Minister stands firm on by-catch transparency

Fisheries Minister Stuart Nash has rejected a fishing industry proposal to exempt footage from fishing boats from the Official Information Act.

On 4 July 2017, a range of commercial fishing organisations wrote to the Ministry of Primary Industries seeking a change to the law to prevent the public release of information collected by MPI about fisheries activities.

The letter from George Clement of the Deepwater Group; Dr Jeremy Helson from Fisheries Inshore New Zealand; Storm Stanley from the Paua Industry Council, Tim Pankhurst from Seafood New Zealand and Daryl Sykes from the New Zealand Rock Lobster Industry Council requested that, “the Fisheries Act be amended to clarify the purposes for which the [electronic monitoring] information (and other information on commercial fishing activities) will be obtained by MPI and to expressly provide for the OIA to not apply to this information.”

Minister Nash rejected the proposal saying he had yet to see a compelling case to change the Official Information Act and there were already protections under the Official Information Act for privacy and commercial sensitivity.

Image credit: Forest & Bird