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US seafood ban plan causes stir in NZ

US seafood ban plan causes stir in NZ

Field Notes, powered by KPMG, is a weekly news update on news nationally and globally from the agri-food sector.

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Ian Proudfoot

Global Head of Agribusiness, Partner - Audit

KPMG in New Zealand

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[13 September/Stuff NZ]

A bid to ban Kiwi seafood from the US by Sea Shepherd due to Māui dolphin welfare concerns was only stopped by senior members of the US government. Sea Shepherd NZ managing director Michael Lawry stated the organisation was not surprised by the decision, but believed it had a good chance of securing a ban if it filed a lawsuit challenging NOAA's reasoning which stated that they believed New Zealand were taking the petition from the Sea Shepherds seriously and implementing a regulatory programme similar to the US, reducing the risk of a breach. The proposed ban was towards New Zealand snapper and other seafood caught within the range of Māui dolphins' habitat. Although this proposed ban would only apply to $2 million of annual exports, the overall $200m of annual fisheries exports to the US could then be at risk unless a traceability and certification programme was set up. If successful, a ban would also undermine our country’s reputation and environmental credentials. Fisheries Minister Stuart Nash stated that ensuring threats to Maui and Hector's dolphins were being managed effectively is a current priority for the Government.

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