New Zealand invited to commit to stronger protection of oceans and fisheries
New Zealand’s efforts to tackle the crisis facing our oceans have come under scrutiny as politicians are accused of traveling the world to engage and commit to global health, but there has been no real change.
More than 100 world leaders, including Fisheries Minister David Parker, attended the recent United Nations Ocean Conference in Portugal.
Delegates in Lisbon were urged to pledge to strengthen the protection of oceans and fisheries in their countries and on the high seas.
Greens spokeswoman for oceans and fisheries Eugenie Sage said the need to protect the health of the oceans is too important for a global summit to be a forum for discussion.
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“New Zealand must see urgent action globally and nationally to protect the health of the oceans from the threats of climate change, deep-sea mining, bottom trawling and overfishing,” Sage said. .
Just over 15,000 kilometers away in Geneva, members of the World Trade Organization (WTO) have pledged to curb harmful government policies that have encouraged overfishing.
Sage said progress in New Zealand was far too slow, despite marine protected areas being a central part of the government’s oceans and fisheries agenda.
“We haven’t seen a single new marine protected area established in Aotearoa for nearly five years, including the long-promised and much-delayed Rangitāhua/Kermadecs Ocean Sanctuary,” Sage said.
“To our shame, Aotearoa New Zealand is missing from the more than 100 countries that have pledged to support the goal of protecting at least 30% of the world’s oceans by 2030. Barely 0.5% of the seas, on which New Zealand has jurisdiction. , are protected, but the government has no timetable or plan to create new marine protected areas.
In the first such government alliance, the Pacific nations of Palau, Fiji and Samoa have announced their opposition to deep-sea mining, calling for a moratorium on the emerging industry amid growing fears it will destroy the seabed and damages biodiversity.
Chilean Environment Minister Maisa Rojas told the Geneva conference she would support a 15-year moratorium and Tuvalu, which boycotted the Lisbon summit over China’s decision to block Taiwanese participants in the island nation’s delegation, canceled its sponsorship for mining.
Greenpeace Aotearoa campaigner James Hita said now is the time for New Zealand to take a strong stand on the issue.
“The message from our Pacific neighbors is clear: we need urgent action on deep sea mining to protect the ocean that connects and feeds us,” Hita said.
“Deep sea mining is a threat to us all, the ocean is home to over 90% of life on Earth and is one of our greatest allies in the fight against climate change.”
Illegal fishing in the Pacific accounts for 300,000 tonnes of tuna disappearing, French Polynesia’s Minister of Culture and Marine Resources, Heremoana Maamaatuaiahutapu, told the conference.