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Loss Of Quota Rights - Amendment Bill Changes

NEW ZEALAND - The Government's proposed additions to the Aquaculture Amendment Bill, particularly the introduction of arbitration, is a major breach of quota owners' rights and will lead to unnecessary conflict and expense says the New Zealand Seafood Industry Council.

"Arbitration was not supported in the submissions of the major industry organisations and was also rejected by the select committee that examined the legislation," says Peter Bodeker, Chief Executive of the New Zealand Seafood Council.

"The most worrying aspect of the proposed changes is a significant and fundamental weakening of quota owners' rights and removes a protection that has been in place for 25 years since the beginning of the Quota Management System (QMS).

The seafood industry worked together to propose a negotiation process to resolve potential issues.

Mr Bodeker said that currently if there is an undue adverse effect (UAE) on fishing, aquaculture cannot proceed without the agreement of affected quota owners. The industry is concerned that the proposed change will enable the value of quota, including the fisheries settlement, to be unilaterally reduced without the consent of quota owners.

"We are not saying that quota owners own the coastal space but they do own commercial harvest rights."

"It would be unthinkable, for example, that a farmer or horticulturalist on the edge of a town could be forced to sell part of their land to a developer wishing to build a supermarket at that site, yet this is essentially what is being proposed under the proposed changes," said Mr Bodeker.

the Fish Site Editor

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