22 November 2004 Media Statement
Positive message in UN fishing resolutions
United Nations resolutions on bottom trawling passed at the General Assembly send positive messages on the conservation
of marine life beneath the high seas, Acting Foreign Minister Marian Hobbs, Fisheries Minister David Benson-Pope and
Conservation Minister Chris Carter said today.
"The resolutions provide important directives on conservation of high-seas biodiversity," the ministers said. "They may
not have met the conservation movement’s call for a global moratorium on bottom-trawling on the high seas, but they are
most definitely a step in the right direction."
Bottom trawling is a fishing practice that involves dragging nets along the ocean bottom, often damaging important
undersea features and habitats along the way. It is a widely used fishing method employed by most fishing states.
The UN resolutions call upon states "to take action urgently, and consider on a case-by-case basis ….the interim
prohibition of destructive fishing practices, including bottom-trawling that has adverse impacts on vulnerable marine
ecosystems, including seamounts, hydrothermal vents and cold-water corals located beyond national jurisdiction, until
such a time as appropriate conservation and management measures have been adopted in accordance with international law".
New Zealand worked hard throughout the negotiations to promote elements of its multi-pronged strategy on the protection
of high-seas biodiversity, recently agreed by Cabinet, the ministers said.
The delegation also pushed hard for an annual General Assembly review of progress on the establishment of interim
protection measures and improved regional fisheries management.
"We had to settle for a review in two years, but the issue is now firmly on the international agenda," the ministers
In his speech on the resolutions, New Zealand's Permanent Representative to the UN, Don MacKay, stressed the need to
assess progress ahead of a formal review.
"Given the urgency of the issue, New Zealand looks forward to the opportunity to check progress on interim measures and
on improvements to regional management arrangements next year, at the sixtieth session of the United Nations General
Assembly," Mr MacKay said.