Editorial 67


By Dave Moran

It’s hard to believe after all the partying to welcome in the beginning of the new century that we are just about to celebrate Christmas and the beginning of the year 2001.

I recently saw pictures of forlorn whitebait fishermen bemoaning the lack of whitebait this year. But about two years ago Department of Conservation (DoC) officials tried to close the whitebait fishery for a season to give the dwindling stocks a chance to recover. After some altercations with people who demanded their ‘God given rights’ be respected, DoC walked away. Whitebaiters are getting what they fought for … bugger all whitebait.

The quota for orange roughy on the Challenger Plateau has been cut from 1425 tonnes to one tonne because scientists believe there is only 3% of the original biomass left. This is far lower than the recommended 30% of the original population biomass to maintain sustainable fishing.

There are numerous people trying to advise on fishing quotas, after considering the information they have on hand with the resources at their disposal. Plus, trying to appease commercial fishing interest. We have the technology to maintain healthy fish stocks but it takes a forward thinking fishing industry and a strong government to change the game plan and enforce it.

Whitebait, orange roughy, North Atlantic cod, the New Zealand salmon fishery are just a few of the alarm bells that are ringing, but who is listening? Some still think the oceans are there for them to plunder and make a heap of dollars in their own lifetime.

Dive New Zealand magazine, like many publications around the world, are supporting the movement to reduce the demand for sharkfin and seahorse products. See page 85 for further comments. Let’s invest in New Zealand’s long term fishing future not for individuals’ short term gains.

If you are involved in the dive industry in New Zealand or Australia, you are probably aware that there are changes being formulated that will affect the way you work, your ability to work and how you service your customers, especially if you take them diving. The Standards Australia/Standards New Zealand for occupational Diving (SF/IT) and Recreational Diving (SF/17/1) is in four parts. The first part, operational practices is for construction diving. The standard is now complete and passed. The following three parts are still in draft form: scientific diving, recreational diving and snorkelling, media diving.

The standard for ‘diving and recreational snorkelling at a workplace’ is for those involved in providing services for recreational divers. Some people are upset that the ocean is deemed a ‘workplace’ in the draft standard. Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) are very clear in their interpretation of ‘work place’. If a person receives gain or reward or is hired to work in the sea then the sea is their work place and as such comes under the watchful eye of OSH.

Diving medicals are another hot topic for those who receive payment for working as or with divers. There are a lot of confused people who are not really sure how this standard will affect them and think it may be detrimental to the diving industry. In addition, what can be law in Australia may not necessarily be law in New Zealand.

A standard is defined in New Zealand as ‘best work practice’. Regulation is defined simply as ‘what is required by law’.

In New Zealand a standard is just that, but in Australia a standard can also be a regulation which is enforceable. To add to the confusion, different states will have different standards/regulations.

The process started in April 1997, and

to reach agreed standards by the diving industry may take a few more years before they are set in concrete.

No wonder there is confusion out there. We will have a more in depth report in the February/March 2001 issue.

The Dive New Zealand team wish to thank all our readers and advertisers for their support throughout the year. We look forward to continuing the development of the magazine so that you, our supporters, are proud to call Dive New Zealand and Dive Pacific your preferred diving magazine.

Enjoy the summer, and take time out to smell the roses and spend some lazy and adventurous days on and under the water.

Don’t forget to pick up the stunning Dive Annual 2001 on sale at your local bookseller or dive store.

Merry Christmas and all the best for 2001.

Dave Moran undefined

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