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Human Rights Exception For Japanese Bluefin Vessels

Japanese boats catching southern bluefin tuna species in New Zealand waters will be excluded from of a bill brought about to end human rights abuses aboard boats fishing in the area.


The government backed down on the original bill that would see all foreign vessels fishing in New Zealand waters reflagged to New Zealand by 2016, after it drew opposition from the New Zealand Japan Tuna Co Ltd, managed by the Solander group. It stated that it had four vessels that only fished in these waters for 35 days out of voyages that lasted around 285 days.


Refusing to accept a ban on southern bluefin tuna, outlining that it could not deflag and reflag within the time available, an amendment to the original bill was proposed to allow foreign boats to operate in this way if it was deemed to “be in New Zealand’s interests.”


But the Green Party has expressed its opinion in opposing the exemption being granted to fish for the tuna, as New Zealand-registered vessels are already chasing the lucrative, highly endangered bluefin that is mostly sold to the Japanese sushi and sashimi market.


In its report to Parliament, the select committee said that reflagging as proposed would result in some countries such as Japan being unable to “comply with the new requirements because of domestic legal complications.”