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'I hate it' - small scale NZ commercial fishers worried new video surveillance will give away their best spots

New regulations to digitally monitor commercial fishing boats are worrying some small-scale operators, who suspect constant video surveillance may give away their best fishing locations.

New rules for monitoring commercial fishing boats have some small-scale operators worried. Source: 1 NEWS

But the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) argues controls are necessary to guard against overfishing.

Hayley and Carey are cod and tuna fishers, who feel MPI’s constant new electronic monitoring and reporting regulations are too intrusive and expensive.

"The thought of that actually is abhorrent to me, we live on this vessel a lot while we are at sea," Carey Nelson says.

"Just my partner and I on here, and it's our home, it's not just an office for us, we are living here, where the camera is, I can't actually get from the shower cubicle into the wheelhouse without having to walk past this camera.

"MPI say it's not going to be running constantly but we probably won't have control of the footage they're going to see of what’s happening on board and I find that really uncomfortable.

"It's just too big brother."

MPI say the measures are a must for sustainable fishing and have been in the pipeline since 2016.

But lobby group Fisheries Inshore New Zealand also shares concerns over costs, privacy and intellectual property data. Or rather, their special fishing spots being shared.

"This is untested technology, we'd like opportunity to slow down a bit, talk to MPI and get this right, because if we get it wrong it's going to be very hard to unwind," Fisheries Inshore’s Jeremy Helson says

Deep sea trawlers must be compliant with the new technology by October 2017, with inshore operators by April next year.

MPI also disputes claims from fishers the cost of upgrading their boats is upwards of $18000, saying their own estimate is close to $7000.

"We appreciate that there will be a cost to industry in implementing digital monitoring, however it is not the intention to drive fishers out of the sector, we want to work with all fishers to make sure they get the system up and running," MPI Manager, Digital Monitoring Matt Perkins said.

But, despite the regulations already being passed by Cabinet Carey and Hayley hope it’s not too late to make some exemptions.