Minister rejects fishers’ call for footage exemption

Fisheries Minister Stuart Nash has rejected a call from the fishing industry to exempt footage gathered on boats from the Official Information Act.

A proposal is currently before the government to install cameras across the entire fleet to monitor illegal fish dumping or the by-catch of sea birds or dolphins.

A letter written to the Ministry for Primary Industries last year by the industry said footage gathered from fishing boats could be requested under the Official Information Act by those with an “anti-fishing agenda” and used to paint the industry in a bad light.

On Tuesday a statement from MPI said no decisions had been made about whether to exempt the camera footage from the OIA and a proposal from the industry to do so would be considered.

It said it needed to balance transparency and public interest while protecting privacy and other sensitive information.

Today Fisheries Minister, Stuart Nash, has said he was aware of the letter.

But he said he had yet to see a compelling case to change the Fisheries Act around the application of the OIA.

There were already provisions within the OIA to protect peoples’ privacy and commercially sensitive information, he said.

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