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Speaker: If the fish stinks ...

19 Responses

  • Paul Brislen,

    Well said, Tim, and I couldn't agree more.

    LegaSea is the recreational fishing lobby group and we've called for a Commission of Inquiry into MPI and its handling of all these matters.

    A Commission of Inquiry is defined like this:

    A Commission of Inquiry (Commission of Inquiries Act 1908)

    An inquiry under the Commissions of Inquiry Act 1908 should be considered when the situation is so unusual that no other approach will do, such as:

    there is considerable public anxiety about the matter

    a major lapse in Government performance appears to be involved

    circumstances giving rise to the inquiry are unique with few or no precedents

    the issue cannot be dealt with through the normal machinery of Government or through the criminal or civil courts

    the issue is in an area too new, complex or controversial for mature policy decisions to be taken.

    The type of inquiry is decided upon after discussions between Ministers and officials, with advice from Crown Law Office and State Services Commission as required.

    We believe MPI's obvious capture by the industry needs to be reviewed at this level, not via an internal process which has no end date given and whose terms of reference are to look purely at the reports we know have been made public, not at the systemic issues inherent.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 200 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel,

    I thought Shane Jones had sorted out the fishing industry in NZ and the Pacific - surely it can't be broken again?

    (NB: May contain traces of sarcasm)

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7892 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen,

    No matter what access MPI has to what would ultimately be many terabytes of footage, if an industry is responsible for reviewing, analysing and reporting on itself, there is a risk of abuse,

    This is bollocks. You just said those same cameras showed dumping and illegal activities that were not prosecuted.

    So IF there was abuse of the cameras then either it was really incompetent abuse and failed to delete the illegal activities
    OR
    There was no abuse of the cameras.

    That our fisheries are a huge problem is no secret. That this government has no will to limit commercial fisheries is no secret.

    To pretend there is some grand conspiracy over the cameras when the cameras show damning evidence of fish dumping is just stupid grandstanding by Greenpeace and a ridiculous distraction from the very real problem of over-fishing and fish dumping confirmed by those cameras.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4451 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen,

    And just as an aside MPI is way way overworked and underfunded. Going after MPI is just attacking the lone policeman on the block.

    The problem is this government has decided that funding MPI will limit their ability to make tax cuts next year.

    MPI is full of good dedicated hard working folks who believe their job is worthwhile. I'm sure there will be the odd bad one in MPI but that's true of any organisation. To go after MPI when the problem is the government is just picking on the easy target.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4451 posts Report Reply

  • Moz, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    MPI is full of good dedicated hard working folks who believe their job is worthwhile. I'm sure there will be the odd bad one

    My impression from a few random contacts is that MPI has quite a lot of people who feel that commercial fishing is under attack and will reflexively defend it against even the mildest criticism. That kinda suggests to me that they feel they're part of the industry, rather than an independent regulator who is there to stop abuses. I can see how it would be easier to work that way, and we do see that type of capture everywhere from policing to politics, but it's still a bad thing.

    Sydney, West Island • Since Nov 2006 • 1198 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to Moz,

    we do see that type of capture everywhere from policing to politics, but it’s still a bad thing

    My experience with them has been different.

    But either way the solution is to increase funding to allow them to operate independently and not to simply accuse them of being corrupt.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4451 posts Report Reply

  • st ephen,

    Twenty years ago I talked to a guy who worked as an observer on fishing boats in the Southern Ocean. He said the by-catch reports radioed in were something like:
    Boat A - 1 albatross, no dolphins
    Boat B - 0 albatross, 1 dolphin
    Boat C - 13 albatross, 7 dolphins
    Boat D - 1 albatross, no dolphins
    Boat E - 25 albatross, 11 dolphins
    Boat F - 0 albatross, no dolphins
    It wasn't hard to guess where the observers were...

    dunedin • Since Jul 2008 • 254 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Brislen,

    Let me tell you about the 20 year struggle to get access to the report that defines our snapper fishing industry.

    Oh wait, I can't because after asking for nearly 20 years (yes, twenty years) the report is lost and cannot be produced. Yet our policy relies on it.

    MPI needs to be fully reviewed and quickly before it's too late.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 200 posts Report Reply

  • Tim McKinnel, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    To clarify the camera situation for you, there is no suggestion the cameras were misused. Also, the footage we know about because of a leaked report was captured by another company.

    Greenpeace does not think the fishing industry should be monitoring itself. You are welcome to a different view.

    I agree there are many hardworking people at MPI. I know some of them. There are undoubtedly resourcing issues. An inquiry would, I expect, establish that.

    Auckland • Since Jun 2016 • 1 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    MPI is full of good dedicated hard working folks who believe their job is worthwhile. I'm sure there will be the odd bad one in MPI but that's true of any organisation. To go after MPI when the problem is the government is just picking on the easy target.

    And yet, at Tim notes, senior MPI officials rushed to depict the report as non-factual and contradicted by the ministry's own data. We only know that wasn't true because (presumably) concerned people within the ministry leaked the ministry's own reports.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22756 posts Report Reply

  • Idiot Savant,

    And so, a new series of questions arise. Who, in this so-called open and transparent system, entered the RFP process? Why was Trident Systems preferred over the other applicants? Which individuals made the decision to award the tender to Trident, and on what criteria? And how did MPI and industry manage the inherent conflict of the industry consenting to and supporting itself, relative to external applicants?

    These are all good questions. You should submit an OIA on them.

    Palmerston North • Since Nov 2006 • 1711 posts Report Reply

  • David Hood, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    This is bollocks. You just said those same cameras showed dumping and illegal activities that were not prosecuted.

    So IF there was abuse of the cameras then either it was really incompetent abuse and failed to delete the illegal activities
    OR
    There was no abuse of the cameras.

    My impression was that the issue is about the Trident system- the new workflow that is just being brought in so is a future concern

    "However, MPI Minister Nathan Guy told Radio New Zealand that Trident would monitor footage.

    "Trident does the summary, they alert MPI if there's anything they see that's suspicious, MPI gets a summary of that footage, it can't be tampered with, it's securely stored, it's available to MPI on a regular basis and then they can go about their normal role as a regulator and following through on enforcement and if needed, prosecutions," Guy said."

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/industries/80522148/sanford-ceo-volker-kuntzsch-defends-onboard-monitoring-cameras

    Where Trident, an industry body, decide what the MPI needs to know and alerts them and provides something called "summary footage" which is presumably edited down by Trident since how else can it be a summary. The summary may be securely stored by MPI but that is not really the issue.

    Dunedin • Since May 2007 • 1445 posts Report Reply

  • Barry Torkington,

    It's all quite absurd. Trident received the contract because the quota owners demanded it. They were given the choice of who they preferred to work with and unsurprisingly chose Trident.
    The accelerated roll out of 400 cameras to cover the commercial fleet raises some basic reality issues. Each vessel would generate conservatively 2500hrs of video. 400 such vessels will generate in excess of 1 million hours of video files each year.
    Who, how, where. Even taking an auditors view 50 full time staff would be needed to monitor 10% of the total.
    You have to ask why is all this going on in an Industry claiming to embody the finest stewardship ethics? Without a Commission of Inquiry the public will never learn the truth about New Zealand's Fishing Industry and the success it has achieved in capturing fisheries science, policy, administration and politics, and the unseen hands on the tiller.

    Ti Point • Since Jul 2007 • 3 posts Report Reply

  • Howard Edwards, in reply to Ian Dalziel,

    I thought Shane Jones had sorted out the fishing industry in NZ and the Pacific - surely it can't be broken again?

    (NB: May contain traces of sarcasm

    Indeed - if anyone knows about video footage it's Shane "a mighty kauri has risen" Jones.

    Albany • Since Apr 2013 • 66 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    I believe the allegation is that there was agreement not to prosecute based on the footage that has been released. Therefore those particular cameras may have been operating under different assumptions than others.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19688 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    MPI is not unique. This government has sought to muzzle regulatory agencies by merging them with industry promotion agencies. MBIE swallowing DOL is another great example of where that leads.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19688 posts Report Reply

  • Kiwiiano,

    Maybe cameras running at 1 frame per sec to speed the process. Computer analysis of the images? There's a lot at stake.

    ChCh • Since Nov 2006 • 46 posts Report Reply

  • Moz, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    But either way the solution is to increase funding to allow them to operate independently and not to simply accuse them of being corrupt.

    I agree with the first part, more funding is essential.

    But I did not mention corruption. I think it's interesting that my impression of MPI is reinforced by the article above, where you seem to have taken it as evidence that the regulator really is independent.

    My feeling is that MPI are clearly not capable of independent analysis, let alone fair regulation. So we either need to get rid of them, or provide an independent oversight body that is capable of regulating the industry.

    What I would like to see is a requirement that all catch be landed. I don't care whether it's a protected species, if they kill it they have to bring it ashore. If nothing else it will give fishers an incentive to catch only what they can sell. It would also simplify analysing the video since they only have to scan for fish going over the side, rather than get into the messy details of exactly what is going over the side. And the detailed analysis can be done on land by anyone, not just people who have to live on the boat with the people they're regulating. It's "small town cop" exacerbated to the Nth degree, not least because people often die on those boats and if you're an "independent observer" who is offside with the crew... that's really sad.

    Sydney, West Island • Since Nov 2006 • 1198 posts Report Reply

  • Moz, in reply to Kiwiiano,

    Computer analysis of the images?

    That's got to be where they're heading. It's also something that if NZ made it work I think a lot of countries would buy off us. And our reputation as sustainable would get a boost too, simply because we had that system.

    I work in the physical security industry, and one thing we're seeing a lot right now is "smart monitoring" where instead of 50 camera feeds on multiple monitors, the security people mostly see one feed selected by the computer as interesting. As that technology improves we're going to see much more use made of stuff like biometrics so that people not on the allowed list are flagged and tracked in real time.

    I suspect that one really useful side effect of the above fish-watching would be the ability to get excited if a non-fish went over the side. So instead of waiting for another crew-member to say "I haven't seen Bob for a while" the computer would be all "whoop whoop, man overboard" the instant Bob cleared the rail.

    Sydney, West Island • Since Nov 2006 • 1198 posts Report Reply

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