by Steffan Browning
There was an early sailing today for Antarctica’s Ross Sea from Port Nelson by the Talleys-Sealord toothfishing boat Janus, to avoid protest action. This reflects the slippage of New Zealand in making a strong stance in the recent Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources CCAMLR negotiations.
The Russian registered Antarctic Chieftan left at 1.30 am and the Sparta (damaged by ice in April) has been delayed to 28 November.
Protest action in Nelson was planned for 2pm today by individuals committed to raising the need for substantive conservation of Antarctic marine resources under the CCAMLR. Ostensibly under safety guidance from the Harbour Master, the local flagship of the season’s New Zealand chartered Antarctic toothfish plunderers, Janus, left port about 9.30am this morning ahead of its planned 2.30pm sailing.
New Zealand seafood is less well branded today, as New Zealand is seen as the leader of the Antarctic toothfishery, beginning in 1996 in an area that should remain protected from extractive and industrial interests.
New Zealand can lead the way in marine conservation and enjoy a vibrant and sustainable fishery if it has the will. National must stop protecting big fishing companies’ excessive interests, as it did in the recent CCAMLR negotiations, and instead ensure cutting edge marine conservation, genuine sustainability, reduction of fisheries wastage and by-catch – in line with our clean green primary production brand.