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Fisheries inquiry must be widened to include Trident

The Government must widen its inquiry into the Ministry for Primary Industries to include its awarding of a company owned by Sanford and Moana Pacific Fisheries to monitor commercial fishing vessels, Labour’s Fisheries spokesperson Rino Tirikatene says.

The Ministry for Primary Industries announced earlier this month it would appoint a lawyer to conduct an inquiry into claims it didn't prosecute skippers for dumping fish despite having video footage.

“A commercial fishing company should not be responsible for monitoring the commercial fishing industry.

“Once again the Ministry is passing the buck. The Government should be monitoring fishing vessels, not outsourcing the job to the industry.

“In December MPI awarded Trident Systems – a subsidiary of a Sanford and Moana Pacific Fisheries – the contract to set up cameras on board commercial trawlers to monitor the vessels.

“The relationship between the Ministry and the commercial fishing industry is too cosy. First, MPI refuses to prosecute inshore trawlers despite evidence of large scale illegal fish dumping, and now it has emerged it is outsourcing its monitoring obligations.

“This is a Ministry in crisis. It can’t even perform its core functions and is instead relying on the industry it’s meant to be monitoring.

“We’re calling on the Government to widen its inquiry to include exactly how Trident was awarded this contract and whether any red flags were raised,” Rino Tirikatene says.