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Have you heard of the old proverb “give a man a fish and he eats for a day, teach a man to fish and he plunders the ocean devastating fish supplies, and sells their catch overseas to make money”? That might not be how you remember the proverb but it’s certainly what has happened here in Aotearoa New Zealand.
The Quota Management System (QMS) implemented in 1986 was intended to preserve our fish stocks for future generations but it has failed. Big industry players have destroyed fish supplies and precious ecosystems in New Zealand by overfishing certain species and bottom trawling methods. Fishing companies invest in technology that ensures they’ve caught every fish they can in a spot, before freezing them and sending them overseas to countries like China to make money.
TOP has plans to address the 35 years of greed and neglect in our fisheries system. We will:
- Restore fish stocks by increasing marine reserves off-limit to fishing
- Ensure quota can only be leased to companies who can prove they are fishing sustainably
- Invest in robust research and technology for preserving fish populations and ecosystems
- Re-negotiate with Māori to protect their fishing interests as per Te Tiriti o Waitangi
- Implement a management system that protects the fishing interests of smaller companies, Māori-owned companies and the wider community
- Implement practices that monitor by-catch and accidental kills
- End commodity exports overseas
Even with the best fishing rods and technology, no one can catch fish that aren’t there. TOP believes we are responsible for making sure we add value to the fish in our oceans, not deplete them.
Let’s change the proverb again to end with “teach a man to fish sustainably and he will eat well for life”.
Page last updated on 15-Oct 2020
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