The Heron report provides further evidence that the fisheries section of the Ministry of Primary Industry has been captured by the very industry it was supposed to be regulating.
‘If New Zealanders are wondering why it is so hard to catch a fish these days, this report offers a simple cause, MPI is helping the fishing industry to cover up illegal systematic dumping of fish,’ said Dr. Russel Norman, Executive Director of Greenpeace.
The Heron Report examines the failure of MPI to prosecute illegal systemic fish dumping in spite of video evidence of such dumping, and reveals that senior management at MPI blocked any prosecution.
While damning in what it does reveal, MPI’s repeated refusal to waive legal privilege, means, far from being an open and transparent explanation, the New Zealand public is once again not being told the full story.
‘You have to ask, what MPI are hiding from us. Nothing short of a dramatic shakeup of the MPI fisheries can restore public confidence in the management of fisheries in New Zealand,’ says Norman.
So far, MPI Director-General Martyn Dunne’s answer to ongoing and systemic fish dumping by the fishing industry, has been to award the industry the contract to electronically monitor itself.
‘Unsurprisingly, MPI can’t see any problem with the fishing industry owning the company that video monitors the fishing industry,’ says Norman.
‘All future video monitoring tenders should include a provision that the entity performing the video monitoring is completely independent of the fishing industry,’ says Norman.
With public faith in the fishing industry and the Ministry of Primary Industries at an all time low, Greenpeace is calling for a commission of inquiry into fisheries regulation and the Quota Management System which is currently driving the fish dumping. The review must be run by people completely independent of MPI.
‘The report shows that MPI is working for the fishing industry, not for the people of New Zealand. MPI has been caught by the fishing industry – hook line and sinker.’