Money the great persuader!
Pure New Zealand - Yeah Right!
by Dave Moran
Some of you may have viewed the following features recently on New Zealand television.
- Shark Finning, TV3, 60 minutes on 11 March.
- Salmon farming in the Marlborough Sounds, TV3 Campbell Live 13 March.
Check them out online.
I have commented on shark finning and the magazine has run articles about it over many years. New Zealand is so far behind other countries regarding shark finning/products it's becoming an international joke. Twenty years ago I would suggest you would not find a shark fin product on the open market in NZ or Australia. Now there are factories producing shark fin products for the local and international markets. There is no quota on how many kilograms of fins can be produced.
This year, finally, government says it will look at finning when they release their: National Plan of Action for Sharks. It is interesting to note that the main reason the government is doing a national plan is because it is under an obligation to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, to produce one! From where I sit the NZ Government is supporting 100% the production and importing of shark fin products thus condoning the world wide slaughter of millions of sharks just for their fins. Money, money, money!
New Zealand Sea Week opened at Auckland Zoo on 5 March.
The Conservation Minister, Kate Wilkinson gave an address. In brief she talked about how wonderful (in the government's opinion I guess) the coastal waters of NZ are and the government would be monitoring its condition. I questioned her about NZ's King Salmon's (NZKS) application for eight new farms in the Marlborough Sounds. She advised she knew nothing about it? A few days later I was sent a copy of: Minister's Direction on NZ King Salmon's proposal. Signed by Kate Wilkinson. Dated 3 November 2011. View here. It's a worry that our Minister has such a short memory!
In this document she states: The proposal will involve the occupation of large areas of the coastal marine area with salmon farming structures for up to 35 years, the discharge of 40,000 tonnes of fish feed per annum and the resultant discharge of faecal matter from the caged salmon into the coastal waters and seabed of the Marlborough Sounds. It is interesting in the media the NZKS CEO Grant Rosewarne has commented: There was 'no mystery' about what lay underneath the farms which was mostly worms and micro-organisms. Yet when local Danny Boulton of Sea Safaris based near French Pass tried to video the mess under the nets with a remotely operated camera (ROV) he was told to leave the area. You can view that here.
If there is nothing to hide, Grant, why not let independents film what is happening to the marine life under the nets with a ROV - it doesn't even need air to survive the dive!?
The application by NZKS is being fast tracked by the Government through the Environment Protection Authority, even by-passing the local council. Which is in contrast to Kate Wilkinson's directions (3/11/11): I direct that the matters be referred to a board of inquiry for determination. NZKS is 51% owned by a Malaysian family. Maori also have a big interest in the farms. They are also checking Stewart Island for farm sites.
New Zealand promotes itself as having a pure clean environment producing pure products. Other countries are environmentally way ahead of NZ. Take Indonesia for example. Many see Indonesia as one of the most polluted countries on the planet. It has problems for sure but they are tackling them. In Issue #110 (2009) I did an interview with the Minister of the Environment based in Jakarta, Masnellyarti Hilman. She advised me that the Government was very concerned by the pollution of fish farms, and shark finning/products were illegal. They have seen the results and are frantically trying fix them. A huge task due to the money involved. Is New Zealand going down the same path? We all need money to survive but there has to be checks and balances as to what effect our striving for monetary wealth has on the environment we life in.
In my interview with Paul Watson of Sea Shepherd in April/May he makes an interesting point at the conclusion of the interview, I encourage you to read it.
On a brighter note! Check out the 16 diving destinations within the April/May issue.There will be one that will entice you to explore - enjoy.
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