HON PHIL GOFF
9 February 2000
NEW ZEALAND TO UNDERTAKE SURVEILLANCE IN THE ROSS SEA REGION
"Scarcity has driven the price of toothfish up to very high levels, creating the potential to draw poachers into waters
off the Ross Dependency in Antarctica", Foreign Minister, Hon Phil Goff, said today.
"The Government has asked observers on New Zealand vessels fishing in the area and national representatives on tour
vessels to look out for illegal activity.
Mr Goff was welcoming the appointment of the Captain and other senior officers of the Tangaroa as CCAMLR designated
inspectors. The NIWA (National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research) vessel Tangaroa will be on alert for illegal
toothfish poaching activities while carrying out charter work in the Southern Ocean this month for the Antarctic
Division of Environment Australia.
"Illegal activity is continuing unabated in other areas of the Southern Ocean, and constitutes a serious threat to these
resources regulated by the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR).
The Tangaroa will play an important role if any activity requires investigation. We're also planning aerial surveillance
of the area," Mr Goff said.
"The recently agreed international Catch Documentation Scheme aims to close down markets in the US and Japan for
illegally caught toothfish and will shortly be implemented in New Zealand", Mr Goff added. We expect a public
consultation document to be released about the scheme this month.
This year three New Zealand vessels were authorised under CCAMLR to fish in the Ross Sea and undertake research about
the little known toothfish. "New Zealand hopes other states party to CCAMLR will wait until more information is known
about the stocks in the region before sending their vessels to the area" said Mr Goff. The season runs from January to
mid April, when ice conditions allow fishing vessels into the extreme southern latitudes.