Greenpeace is calling the Government’s cameras on boats announcement too little, too late, after Minister Stuart Nash revealed commitments to put cameras on approximately 20 per cent of the fleet by 2024.

The Minister of Fisheries made the announcement live on Breakfast with John Campbell on Friday morning.

Jessica Desmond, oceans campaigner at Greenpeace, says once again the Government has wriggled out of responsibility for implementing cameras across the board. 

“Nash’s announcement confirms this Government’s unwillingness to regulate commercial fishing. It means that over an 11 year period since the first camera trials, there will be only 345 cameras on boats. This is shockingly slow and it’s simply not enough coverage,” she says.

“We urgently need to see a commitment to cameras on New Zealand’s full commercial fishing fleet, which is made up of 1,500 registered vessels. Without that, we are going to continue to see the same problems for the ocean, which is now seriously struggling.

“Time and again, this Government has pandered to commercial fishing rather than pushing ahead to get this long-overdue programme rolled out.” 

It has been seven years since cameras on boats trials began under the National Government, revealing widespread illegal fish dumping by the commercial fishing industry. 

Successive National and Labour Governments have both had commitments to delivering cameras on boats, yet failed to see it through.

A leaked phone call early this year heard Minister Nash blaming coalition partners New Zealand First for blocking the programme. New Zealand First MPs, as well as the New Zealand First Foundation, have received large donations from commercial fishing interests. 

“We expect the incoming government this year to show real commitment to change this pattern of delay, for the sake of our ocean and for truly sustainable fisheries, things that all New Zealanders care about,” says Desmond. 

“Until there are cameras on the full fleet, there are no guarantees of compliance and accountability from an industry that gets away with what they want, out of sight out of mind. 

“The commercial fishing industry must be required to be transparent and accountable for the threats they pose to the oceans. We’ve seen what happens when they’re not. It looks like drastically reduced fish populations, widespread bycatch of seabirds, dolphins and other marine life, and the pure waste that is fish dumping. 

“We urgently need change, and together with thousands of other New Zealanders we won’t stop until we see it.”

PETITION: Cameras on boats to protect the oceans

Call on the NZ Govt to commit to implementing cameras on the whole commercial fishing fleet before the end of their term in 2023. We need to see a clear plan to meet this deadline and transparent reporting on progress of that plan.

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