As offending against our public fishery is allowed to continue MPI are cowardly hiding behind a purported inability to monitor camera footage.
A 2011 MPI - Compliance Risk Profile of the West Coast-East Coast South Island Hoki Fisheries – shows what a corrupted state the MPI is in.
MPI observers reported unusually high catches of juvenile hoki less than 55cm in length. These fish were too small to be processed and were allowed to be discarded because the Hoki boats were fishing in areas habited by juvenile hoki which is an extremely serious offence. In MPI Operations Maxi and Mini extensive profiling of the Hoki fishery showed that unobserved vessels fishing in the Hoki area were high grading and likely to be catching unprocessable hoki due to their low or nil economic value.
Operation Bronto (2011) identified a large number issues in relation to fishing reporting, fishing practices, vessel weighing and recording systems, carton weights, including high grading, mis reporting of by catch and non-target species.
Operation Bronto involved gathering, examining and analysing data relevant to the hoki fishery and its associated bycatch species.
Discarding enables fishers to increase their economic return by avoiding QMS related expenses such as purchase of annual catch entitlement (ACE) or payment of deemed values. Hoki fishery bycatch species are especially vulnerable to this type of offending.
Fishers may increase the economic return by deliberately discarding small, damaged or less valuable fish. This practice is known as high grading.
In the report the MPI makes many suggestions to improve fishing practices.