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Kiwi Claim: Japan Ripping Off $2b Worth of Tuna

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WELLINGTON, New Zealand -- New Zealand is deeply concerned about the vulnerable status of the Southern Bluefin Tuna stock and would be very disappointed if allegations that the global quota for Southern Bluefin Tuna has been substantially over-caught are substantiated says Minister of Fisheries, Jim Anderton said today.

“Wherever New Zealand is involved internationally, we strive to manage fisheries to the same high standards that we would expect at home. So we view over-catch by any country as a very serious matter," Jim Anderton said.

The process of managing the southern bluefin tuna fishery at an international level is done by the Commission for the Conservation of Southern Bluefin Tuna (CCSBT).

The Commission is currently reviewing anomalies in Australia’s tuna farming operations and in Japan’s market data. Details of these reviews remain confidential while they are being considered by the Commission. Findings will be analysed by a scientific committee, due to meet in October, which will then pass on its advice to the Commission.

"As a matter of principle, New Zealand has always believed that if, in international arrangements, you over-catch your entitlement, you should pay it back," Jim Anderton said.

“In the past, New Zealand has, on occasion, over-caught a modest amount of bluefin tuna. But we have always paid this back in subsequent years through under-catching by the same amounts.

“I expect that in this instance, if there is any substantial over-catch, that this would be paid back by the nations involved and that the Commission would take action to prevent this occurring again," Jim Anderton said today.

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