The commercial fishing industry has accused a German activist-academic of waging a “determined anti-fishing agenda” in events surrounding the release of a research paper this week.
The University of Auckland research paper,Reconstruction of Marine Fisheries Catches for New Zealand (1950-2010), also known as the Simmons report after its lead author, was embargoed for release at 9.30am on Monday.
(NBR did not receive a copy of the report but was alerted to it after a flurry of media statements supporting it from the Greens, etc.)
All the opposition parties had their statements ready to go, indicating that the academics involved had been working with them on it by giving them advance copies.
Seafood NZ chief executive Tim Pankhurst says the report was widely circulated among opposition parties and Greenpeace at the weekend. He issued a detailed response soon after the embargo was lifted.
I don’t have a problem with this, but when others do it, some on the left call it dirty politics.
Mr Pankhurst says the German environmental organisation NABU was aware of the Simmons report’s contents a month before its release and told Seafood NZ as much.
Its spokeswoman, Dr Barbara Maas, visited Seafood NZ on April 14 and warned she also had evidence of alleged collusion between the MPI and the fishing industry; that she had a copy of an internal MPI document allegedly confirming that there was reference to it in the Simmons report; and she would make her claims public when the report was released.
“She further claimed she had 105 international conservation organisations ready to back a call for a boycott of New Zealand seafood if dolphin protection was not increased,” Mr Pankhurst says.
“Dr Maas first called for such a boycott in 2012 and again in 2014 but gained no traction, given the extensive protections in place and no Maui [dolphin] captures.
Dr Maas has been trying to get a boycott against the NZ fishing industry for years and years – at least seven. And the media report this as something new, as we see in the Herald:
Fast food giant McDonald’s has been being urged to stop sourcing its fish from New Zealand waters following the leak of a confidential report which revealed the unreported capture of a rare dolphin.
The leaked report of an investigation in 2013 by the Ministry for Primary Industries, titled Operation Achilles, also revealed New Zealand fishing boats had illegally dumped large amounts of healthy fish — a finding which prompted the ministry to launch an inquiry this week.
McDonald’s sources some of its fish for the Filet’O’Fish burger from New Zealand waters, and environmental campaigners are now urging it to drop New Zealand fish from its menus.
“We are not attacking McDonald’s,” Nabu International spokeswoman Barbara Maas said. “They have a huge opportunity here to do the right thing and bring about some real change in the New Zealand fishing industry — they could say they saved the Maui’s dolphins, and how good would that be for their brand?”
The group will soon launch a campaign which includes billboards with the message: “Buy New Zealand Fish Get Dead Maui’s Dolphin Free.”
All part of the co-ordinated campaign against the NZ fishing industry.
“The Seafood NZ response to Dr Maas’ latest claims was that it was beholden on her to produce evidence of such serious allegations. Her threats amounted to economic sabotage, if not blackmail.”
Egged on by opposition parties.