24 July 2012
Author: Nathasha Real
The US Government is considering classifying orange roughy as threatened and making the recommendation to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). The classification would mean tighter restrictions on the fishing of the species.
New Zealand’s Ministry for Primary Industries and the Department of Conservation sent a five-page report to the US urging it to refrain from classifying the species as threatened. Dr Pamela Mace, ministry principal fisheries science adviser, argues that the species as a whole does not warrant a CITES listing and would not even benefit from it, Radio New Zealand reports.
The ministry estimates there are 140 million adult orange roughy in territorial waters. "That hardly constitutes a risk of extinction," Mace noted. "There are certainly many, many far more deserving species that require the sorts of protections that a CITES listing offers."
If the CITES classification goes through, New Zealand would have to report regularly to other countries on fish numbers and prove that commercial fishing in its waters will not deplete the species.
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