As the world’s most important home for seabirds, Aotearoa must step up as a global leader in seabird conservation. However, the National Plan of Action for Seabirds, announced by the Government, today will not get us there without clear commitments to put cameras on boats.
The Plan reflects New Zealanders values with its vision to achieve zero deaths of seabirds in fisheries. We applaud them for making this pledge. However, achieving this vision will not be possible without a way to ensure fishers are using bycatch mitigation technologies and methods to avoid killing birds or to verify how many birds are dying.
WWF-New Zealand CEO Livia Esterhazy says, “Cameras on boats are the only way to provide that independent verification across our fleets at a reasonable cost. There are simply not enough observers and the cost of vastly expanding the observer programme is out of reach. Cameras provide a ready option to fill this need.”
We call on the Government to make a commitment to roll out electronic monitoring to enable their plan of action for seabirds to work. We look forward to working with the Government to achieve their vision.