Normally when you email someone at the Ministry of Fisheries it's an email address like but for the submissions on the Ministry's latest proposal they've asked us to send them to .
One thing I'm quite sure of is that "Bluefin Tuna" is not on the payroll at the Ministry of Fisheries. For starters, if Bluefin was in charge, there is no way the Ministry would be making ludicrous suggestions like allowing our fishing industry, and the Japanese charter fleet that fishes part of the NZ quota, to catch more southern bluefin tuna when the species is already listed as critically endangered.
Alas, someone with a lot less sense is in charge at the Ministry and, defying belief and credibility, they have put forward three options: leave the catch as it was last year, increase it a bit, or increase it a lot.
You can find the proposal here and even if you've never made a submission before, this deserves a response, but you only have until Friday, December 10:
- The latest scientific information from the fisheries management Commission in charge of the species indicates that only 4.6% of the original breeding population remains. That's right - over 95% has been wiped out.
- The species has been listed by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature as critically endangered for over a decade, and the stock has fallen even lower since. Critically endangered is the same status as kakapo, and one step away from "extinct in the wild".
- Related bluefin tuna species have been fished to oblivion and entire fishing industries have disappeared in the North Sea, Norwegian Sea and off the coast of Brazil. The industry is not just risking its own future, but placing at risk the very survival of a species.
- Other countries fishing for bluefin tuna agreed to cut catches last year in response to the crisis facing the species, but New Zealand flew in the face of precautionary management and common sense, and upped the catch allowed by our fleet.
- Following one catch increase in March, the Ministry is now offering the industry the opportunity to catch even more bluefin in the coming season - unless common sense prevails and the Minister disagrees.
That's where your submission counts!
The fishery also has an extremely high bycatch of sharks, and is allowed to fin them and dump their bodies overboard - a practice that has been banned in many other countries. The fishery and its impacts on bluefin tuna, sharks and the ocean ecosystem are a scandal of fisheries mismanagement and a black mark on New Zealand's reputation.
Please write to and tell Bluey what you think of the way that our Ministry is treating him, and call on the Minister to close the southern bluefin tuna fishery until stocks have recovered to a safe level.
The Greenpeace submission is here if you'd like some ideas about what to say.
And you can send your message to:
For the tuna!