National Plan of Action on seabird deaths in fisheries
9 April 2003
The number of albatross killed in New Zealand fisheries is set to fall with the implementation of a new National Plan of Action to save seabirds.
The plan, announced by Conservation Minister Chris Carter and Fisheries Minister David Benson-Pope today, establishes agreed codes of practice in key fisheries impacting on seabirds.
These codes will set limits on the number of seabird deaths permitted in any one year, place controls on fishing methods harmful to seabirds, and provide for a future legal response if fishing vessels fail to fulfill their responsibilities.
"This action plan is a significant step forward in addressing one of the most significant threats our seabirds face," Mr Carter and Mr Benson-Pope said.
"In the past seven years, 13 species of albatross and 17 of petrel have been recorded as caught in New Zealand fisheries. The industry has made some good progress in addressing this problem, but more needs to be done.
"This plan combines voluntary and regulatory measures. It provides the fishing industry with the opportunity to build on progress, while underscoring the need for immediate action to make New Zealand waters safer for the 80 species of seabird that breed in them."
The plan, which comes into effect immediately, was prepared by the Ministry of Fisheries and Department of Conservation with considerable input from the fishing industry and conservation stakeholders. Consultation took place in June 2000 and again in August last year.
The plan addresses all commercial and non-commercial fisheries catching seabird species protected under the Wildlife Act 1953. It is consistent with all New Zealand’s international obligations to reduce seabird bycatch, particularly the International Agreement on the Conservation of Albatross and Petrels.