NZ First has promised to make up to $100 million available to expand marine farming and aquaculture, but an outdoor recreation council has slammed it saying the party is only serving its fishing company corporate bedfellows.
Andi Cockroft, chairman of the Council of Outdoor Recreation Associations said reports earlier in the year of NZ First’s close relationship and corporate fishing companies donating substantially to the party and MPs such as Shane Jones and others, raised questions as to the integrity of NZ First pushing for more aquaculture in order to serve its corporate friends.
“Fish farming is no substitute for proper management of the sea fisheries and it’s just not happening with the flawed quota management system (QMS) which by its tradable nature has resulted in corporates now dominating the fish stocks quota to the tune of some 75%,” he said. “And those corporates are the ones plundering fish stocks so the recreation public was left with the crumbs of declining fish stocks.”
He said kahawai had declined alarmingly and the species was an important cog in the food chain. Tarakihi was another under severe pressure. Moves to put cameras on commercial boats and to review the failed QMS had reportedly been blocked by NZ First in government but acting in the interests of its corporate supporters.
Andi Cockroft said aquaculture’s benefits were a myth. In the Marlborough Sounds excessive aquaculture was causing growth rates of mussels to drop drastically. Whereas once mussels could be harvested at 18 months now it was heading for three years.
“The habitat has a finite carrying capacity and NZ First doesn’t seem to comprehend in its haste to do good for its donors,” said Andi Cockroft.
Fish farming was a capital intensive, high risk and economically uncertain venture.
© The recreational fishing public is left with “crumbs” after corporate company plundering