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Minister calls commercial squid fishers back

 In an unprecedented move the Minister of Fisheries has called the bulk of New Zealand’s squid fishing fleet back to port to prevent seabird deaths  It is the first step in a package of measures David Benson-Pope is introducing to address a lack of commitment by the majority of industry to codes of practice designed to protect seabirds. Mr Benson-Pope says that while voluntary codes have dramatically reduced seabird deaths in some fisheries, blatant bad behaviour, most notably in the squid fishery, demands immediate action. The Minister has directed the Ministry of Fisheries to place observers on all vessels known to be not following industry best practice. The Minister intends to achieve change through the introduction of regulations falling under the current penalty regime, which includes fines of up to $100,000 for those who fail to comply. Mr Benson-Pope said, ‘These measures are the inevitable consequence of their poor behaviour.’

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