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Manaaki Tuna Petition Update

Posted April 16th, 2013 in Tuna News by Pat

The Manaaki Tuna petition (signed by over 6750 people) was delivered to Parliament on March 19th 2013, accompanied by the 150 metre Travelling Tuna Tapestry. The tapestry, made of recycled cloth, was initiated by Stephanie Bowman, a science and art environmental educator, who worked with schools and communities throughout NZ to raise awareness of the tun’s biological and cultural significance. Thousands of people helped create the tapestry and it was displayed in public places around the country.

A submission by Manaaki Tuna in support of the petition was prepared and is now before the Primary Production Select Committee. Evidence will be presented later this year. The petition’s focus (calling on the Minister of Primary Industries to place a moratorium on the commercial fishing of the longfin eel) has generated a high degree of public debate over the past year, and media articles, television programs, and responses from scientists, and public officials have kept the issue in the public eye. The Maori Party, Labour Party and Green Party have all publicly supported the aim of the petition.

In April 2013, the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment released a report “On a pathway to extinction: An investigation into the status and management of the longfin eel’. Recommendations include suspending the commercial catch of longfins, the protection of eel passage and habitat, and setting up an independent review of scientific advice on the status of the longfin eel population. The Parliamentary Commissioner’s report can be accessed at:
http://www.pce.parliament.nz/publications/all-publications/on-a-pathway-to-extinction-an-investigation-into-the-status-and-management-of-the-longfin-eel

In June, 2013 The Minister of Primary Production, and the Minister of Conservation announced an interim response to the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment’s report on longfin eels. The recommendation to establish an independent, international peer review panel to reassess the data on longfin eels is being implemented, and a decision on whether to suspend commercial fishing of the species will be made once the final assessment from the independent panel is received in November 2013. The response can be accessed at: http://www.beehive.govt.nz/release/interim-measures-longfin-eels-announced

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