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US court orders ban on New Zealand exports of several fish species

Sea Shepherd New Zealand filed legal proceedings in an effort to protect endangered Māui dolphin habitats.

A US court has ordered an immediate ban on New Zealand exports of several species of fish from two fisheries off the North Island’s west coast.

The non-profit marine wildlife conservation organisation Sea Shepherd New Zealand filed legal proceedings in an effort to protect endangered Māui dolphin habitats, under the Marine Mammal Protection Act.

The injunction handed down by the United States Court of International Trade applies to nine species from the West Coast North Island inshore trawl and set net fisheries, including snapper, tarakihi and spotted dogfish.

“The Court’s ruling sends a strong signal to New Zealand and other countries that unless they can show their fisheries regulatory program is comparable to the U.S. regulatory program, they risk an import ban,” the chairman of the board and chief executive of Sea Shepherd Conservation Society chief executive Pritam Singh said in a statement.

The ban will remain in place until the US finds New Zealand’s regulations for the fisheries are comparable with American standards, or until the court case is fully resolved.

The nine fish species included in the court’s injunction are:

  • snapper
  • tarakihi
  • spotted dogfish
  • trevally
  • warehou
  • hoki
  • barracouta
  • mullet
  • gurnard deriving from New Zealand’s West Coast North Island multi-species set-net and trawl fisheries.

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