Thursday October 19, 2017   Last updated 02:06AM
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Fisheries Act changes could undermine settlement

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The Maori fisheries settlement trust Te Ohu Kaimoana says proposed changes to the Fisheries Act undercut the Maori rights guaranteed in the settlement.

The Ministry for Primary Industries today released its operational review of the act.

Proposals include shifting a greater share of the total allowable catch to the recreational sector, stopping discarding of fish, and making more use of electronic monitoring.

Te Ohu Kaimoana says Minister Nathan Guy declined its request to exclude any draft proposal which was not compliant with the 1992 Deed of Settlement.

The document suggests the Crown only has a partnership with tangata whenua in relation to the management of customary (non-commercial) fishing, whereas the settlement acknowledged traditional fisheries included commercial aspects.

Te Ohu Kaimoana says commercial fishers appear to be the scapegoat for any adverse impacts on fish stocks, with no questioning of the effect of recreational fishing of of land-based pollution.

It says some aspects of the proposals appear to be driven more by public pressure and politics than the need to obtain evidence about fisheries sustainability.

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