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Written By: - Date published: 10:34 am, January 3rd, 2009 - 28 comments
Categories: Environment, scoundrels - Tags:

National’s decision to allow a 40% increase in endangered Sea Lion kill-quota for the squid fishing industry is old news but I haven’t seen it covered anywhere except in a link in one of Steve’s posts a week or so ago so I’m assuming it was lost in the xmas rush. It shouldn’t have been.

Let’s be clear on this matter. The kill quota is already exceeded on a yearly basis because it relies on boats with observers and on self regulation from the fishing industry and the fishing industry isn’t exactly well known for putting ethical considerations first.

Down in Dunedin the Hooker Sea Lion colony is considered one of the big draw cards for eco-tourism and are a part of the local identity. They are also only found in New Zealand and are one of the rarest seals in the world. So rare in fact that the recommendation was to halve the quota to try to stop the decline in population, but all that seems immaterial to National as by increasing the kill-quota it has allowed the squid fishing season to go longer and that means more money for the fishing industry.

If anything this shows the new government is willing to put short-term gain for private interests ahead of the long-term benefits of maintaining the environment (and our clean green image). I struggle to understand why they would do this and why it would be such a high priority so early in their term. But then again the fishing industry has a history of “looking after” political parties so maybe this ios some kind of payback. I guess we’ll never know.

In the meantime have a look here to see just what the government is killing.

28 comments on “Payback? ”

  1. QoT 1

    Well, I guess we can only hope that the Minister for Tourism gets onto this issue … oh wait.

    (I swear, this line will never get old.)

  2. Monty 2

    Now be honest – the truth is that this would have been a recommendation sent up by MAF and / or DoC. This would have been prepared before the election and would have been signed off by any Minister post election.

  3. Kerry 3

    Typical…any thing decent and nice killed by the tories…..

  4. MikeG 4

    Well Monty I suppose you justify the biofuels legislation change by the same logic – it was a recommendation by some govt dept and would have happened under any Minister post-election?! Get real.

  5. mike 5

    “and our clean green image”
    Yes IB – its all about the “image” because the reality uder a labour govt was a shocker – carbon levels growing faster than the US under Bush.

    But go ahead and put up some fuzzy warm pics of fluffy little sea lion cubs to paint the torries as the bad guys

  6. higherstandard 6

    Kerry are you suggesting that you are neither decent nor nice or are you expecting a death squad at your door in the coming weeks ?

    In relation to the rather emotive post perhaps listing the actual numbers would be somewhat more reasonable – “New Fisheries Minister Phil Heatley announced today that the number of sea lions allowed to be killed in the squid fishery this season has been raised from 81 last year to 113.”

    Also describing it as a kill quota is misleading as from what I understand the fishing industry fishes in such a way as to avoid harming the sea lions of which there is a local population of around 14,000.

    IrishBill: get real. The fishing industry fishes in such a way it can make the most money unless it is regulated. Read the linked release, the only boats that have reported sea lion deaths were boats with independent observers on them.

  7. MikeG 7

    The population is DECLINING, so the Nats say that the numbers allowed to be killed should increase. Anyone see the flaw in that logic?

  8. Draco T Bastard 8

    … the fishing industry fishes in such a way as to avoid harming the sea lions of which there is a local population of around 14,000.

    And yet they still lobbied to have the quota increased it which would indicate that they aren’t doing to well in preventing those deaths. Throw in the fact that there’s a shortage of watchers to ensure that accurate reporting is carried out and we don’t actually know how many are being killed.

  9. Bill 9

    Sea lions eat squid. So they have to die ’cause they’re depleting squid stocks! What’s the problem ffs!

    Seals and dolphins shouldn’t be off the radar either. If fish stocks are to remain viable then the marine mammals have to go.

  10. RedLogix 10

    Jeez go easy on the satire there Bill; it’s a little hard to tell from reality.

  11. bobo 11

    Bill does that include boaties as marine mammals? Could do with culling a few jet skiers too maybe get Andrew Hore to help out 🙂

  12. Rex Widerstrom 12

    Anyone seen Ross Meurant round Parliament since the election? Perhaps Simunovich’s bagman is making deliveries to a new donee, now the old one is no longer available to take bribes accept donations he knows nothing about.

  13. Santi 13

    “Typical any thing decent and nice killed by the tories”

    You’re safe Kerry.

  14. higherstandard 14


    Why don’t you get real ?

    Your post is overly emotive – refer to the last sentence. And in terms of pay back I was under the impression the fishing industry had donated to WP and Labour not the Nats?

    The allowable accidental kill rate is less than 1% of the population and the fishing industry is clearly not going all out to exterminate sea lions.

    I’m not arguing the obvious that regulations are necessary to stop over fishing of fisheries and protection of endangered species rather that this is likely to have little if any impact on the sea lion population and rather less impact than the illnesses that have wreaked havoc on the populations over the last couple of decades.

  15. Pascal's bookie 15

    Hi hs, happy New Year.

    How does one sentence make the post overly emotive? Is any emotive content too much? If so why? I guess I am asking that you explain yourself for once. It seems to me that you are using the fact that pictures can produce an emotive response as a way to say that there is not a real issue here. That would only be the case if emotive responses were somehow illegitimate. Perhaps that is the case, but you would need to show that, rather than just assume it. I’ll note that you don’t play this card towards the emotive content that scribe regularly spouts about ‘unborn babies’.

    No-one is suggesting that fishers are declaring war on sea lions or deliberately targeting them (‘going all out to exterminate’), that is a strawman which, unlike the emotive language you object to, really is an illegitimate argument.

    The fact that you have missed is that the allowable kill rate is not adequately monitored as it is. Do you think that boats without observers really have a zero kill rate? How many sea lions are killed by diseases is an issue, but it is not an argument for increasing the amount killed in fishing. Rather the reverse I should think.

    The public doesn’t get to know who donates to the National party. That is why they use trusts so much more than the parties on the left. But you know that.

  16. higherstandard 16


    Happy New Year to you.

    1. I can’t see what the relationship between Scribe’s comments on unborn babies and Sea Lions is ? ..
    2. The last sentence …”In the meantime have a look here to see just what the government is killing.”
    in my opinion is overly emotive (and factually incorrect) I have made no assertion that to post an emotive piece is objectionable just that in this case it seeks to generate an emotive response that distracts from the basic facts.
    3. In relation to the observed Sea lion kill rate, I may be wrong but I was under the impression that the observed kill rate is extrapolated to give a kill rate fro the entire fleet and it is not the case that is being suggested that it is merely a case of the sea lion kills that are visibly accounted for that is used as the figure to decide when to close the fishery – although one would have to check up on this with MAF.
    4. The donations to the Nats, Labour etc etc are here I note that both the Nats and Labour are the largest recipients of anonymous money – although if either party can be bought for these kind of paltry amounts you’d have to suggest we aren’t paying our politicians enough !


  17. Pascal's bookie 17


    1. I was just noting that you don’t object to scribe’s emotive language in the way you have objected here.

    2. That’s better. You here phrase it as opinion, which is of course fine, but means that it doesn’t carry any weight in terms of argument. Originally you were saying as if fact that “Your post is overly emotive – refer to the last sentence.” That struck me as meaning that had you had some sort of objective metric in mind. Too much emotion equals illegitimate. I was wondering how much emotive content is too much. Far from distracting from the the basic facts, emotion is a response to facts.

    3. I think that the system relies on voluntary admissions of kills, with big fines if caught cheating. Which is pretty hard to be caught doing.

    4. Labour and National do get the biggest amount. They are the biggest parties. National gets more ‘anonymously’ than Labour. None of which is the point. The point being that you insinuated that the nat’s were not in receipt of money from the fishing industry. Which is not something that the public could possibly claim to know anything about, given the way the the NP chooses to handle it’s donor information. If you have information that informs your opinions on this better than the rest of us, please share 😉

  18. higherstandard 18


    The system is described here.


    The insinuation in IBs post is that the current government is being bribed by the fishing industry – I was under the impression the only party that was known to have received funds from fishing interests was NF, although it is quite possible that National and Labour have also received funds however both parties have methods for keeping these donations at arms length.

  19. IrishBill 19

    It wasn’t an insinuation HS it was a question. The numbers are in decline and have been for some time. The release you link to show the response to declining numbers was to lower the kill quota in 2007. The numbers are still declining and yet the National government has increased the kill quota. I can see no reason the government would behave in this way aside from blind ideology or as some sort of payback. Maybe you have another explanation. If you do I would like to read it as I am starting to think you have no ability to argue the main points of any argument made and prefer to misdirect and create strawman arguments.

    And I used a picture because our posts have not had enough visual interest lately.

  20. Pascal's bookie 20

    Thanks for that link hs. Unfortunately it doesn’t give us the detail we need about how the assumed strike rate is determined; whether or not this is set only using data from ships with observers. That is the point in question I believe.

    With regard to the funding issue your original response was “And in terms of pay back I was under the impression the fishing industry had donated to WP and Labour not the Nats?”

    I’m not really sure what the question mark applies to. It seems to me to be saying that you think the facts are this, but could be wrong in that belief. That is much more like an insinuation than anything in IB’s post.

    You’ve now changed this to NZFirst only, and removed your assertion that the National party received no fishing industry funding.

    As to whether the Labour party or the National party are more likely to be receiving these funds, or whether their policy is shaped by such funding, we can only note that the previous government cut the number of allowable deaths, while this government is raising them.

  21. Bill 21

    So the numbers are in decline. This is obviously be an unfortunate but unavoidable result of a natural process. Die!, Sealions! Die! And Aboriginies!…And Anyone!….And Anything!…The profit motive must be preserved!….At any cost!….And any cost is no cost if it’s not monetary!.

    So grow up and belt up.

    Yeah. Delete this when I’m sober and pragmatic.

  22. Chris G 22

    I learnt in an ecology paper that there are very few independent observers monitoring bycatch (I assume from ministry of fisheries) and like IB said, the only people reporting bycatches of things like albatross and sealions are by the ones with the observers.

    Basically its a right crock and they clearly kill more than the quota. What a shame, but a fisher will just see more $$ signs in the ocean. Hard to control that.

  23. Rex Widerstrom 23

    What are you guys arguing about who received bribes contributions they knew nothing about in the past?

    Such contributions have absolutely no relation to the donor’s political beliefs and everything to do with buying favours. Thus the money flow will change direction after an election.

    While some corporations hedge their bets by buying off contributing to the opposition parties, others are cynical enough to realise that once they’re in power, the whiff of a cheque of sufficient size will ensure that any out-of-joint noses are quickly restored. Not saying it’s happened here, but it’s a possibility. Either that or Jim Anderton doesn’t want the competition when he’s salmon fishing.

  24. RedLogix 24


    Yeah. Delete this when I’m sober and pragmatic.

    No that one was a bit lighter and I could tell it was bitter and slightly over the top satire.

  25. Grumpy 25

    I agree that this policy would have been dreamed up by the last (Labour) Government.

    Just goes to show that socialist/environmental policies are completely subservient to a big fishing industry donation.

  26. Jum 26

    New Zealanders have a right to know what is being sacrificed for a few people’s financial gain. A very short time into a recession/depression and the savagery comes quickly to the surface. Might equals right. A National majority means New Zealanders who care about all the creatures in New Zealand are ignored.

    Empathy is a sign of a higher being.
    Guess that leaves NAct out. Maori – where are they on this?

  27. Jum 27

    Phil Heatley had to backtrack on the housing plans because he discovered people can talk back and it looked bad for National’s pretend caring sharing first term.

    Obviously he’s discovered a new target – those that can’t talk back.

    Perhaps the Nacts can win a few ’empathy’ points by reducing the time for chicken battery cages to be used and stop the savagery of ‘battery’ production of pork in New Zealand. Doubt it – it might reduce the beloved monetary profits from greedy shareholders and employers. The mere thought these practices occur in New Zealand should make all politicians ashamed because they could stop it if they voted en bloc. Ignore the fat cat profit-mongers for once.

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