“My statutory role under the Fisheries Act is to strike a balance between the economic benefits of squid – our most valuable fishery – and the impact on sea lions. I have to ensure any impact is sustainable and that is precisely what I did in this case. The Minister of Conservation has a statutory role to advocate a conservation viewpoint and he does this well, but I am required to make a balanced decision taking into account all factors,” Jim Anderton said.Forest and Bird responded in the media.
Mr Anderton,I got a response for Jim's advisor last time I wrote, so it'll be interesting to see if they have any information on the use of by-caught sea lions.
I write to you once again to applaud your response to criticism regarding your decision to increase the allowed by-catch of NZ sea lions for this season.
In fact, I believe your recent decisions have shown that you as Minister of Fisheries are filling the role of "conservationist" more so Minister of Conservation, who plays more of a protectionist role.
To "conserve" something implies that we humans wish to utilize whatever that resource may be, but we moderate our utilization such that it does not effect the ability of future generations to also utilize the resource (aka "sustainable use").
Protection is only useful as a means of conservation when a resource is seriously threatened, which judging the information in your press releases, is not the case for the New Zealand sea lion.
One question I do have is what becomes of the by-caught sea lions?
Indeed, if economic value could be assigned to these resources it creates an incentive for these resources to be conserved (by industry, rather than only by government), just as is the case for other fisheries. While there are direct benefits from the squid fishery, it would be wonderful if the by-caught sea lions were put to good use, also.
It must be difficult to make the right decision in cases such as these when what are essentially "anti-use" groups attack you with quite emotional arguments, but I think you have done a splendid job in this instance, and make a very compelling argument in support of your decision in your press releases.
Congratulations again, and best regards,
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