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Taranaki woman Jacqueline Bublitz has made a heartfelt personal submission on the potential impact of the proposed Maui and Hector’s dolphin threat management plan (TMP).

She said the plan, which has been drawn up by bureaucrats with little understanding of the implication lines drawn on maps have for hundreds of fishers, processors and retailers and their families, was part of an agenda by environmental NGOs to end commercial fishing.

Submissions on the controversial extension of set net and trawling bans in an additional 24,000 square kilometres of ocean closed on Monday.

The timetable around a government response is unclear.

Bublitz, known as Rocky, is the sister in-law of Keith Mawson, owner of Egmont Seafoods, New Plymouth’s prime seafood processor and retailer providing employment for 40 fishers and factory staff and their families.

If the further restrictions on fishing activity, already heavily regulated and monitored, are enforced, Mawson says he will be out of business.

So, too, will be hundreds of small fishers in coastal communities around the country.

Any further restrictions must be based on sound science, Seafood NZ said in its dolphin submission.

Not one Maui dolphin has been confirmed caught by a commercial fisherman since 2002 and the TMP itself recognises toxoplasmosis, a cat-borne disease that enters waterways, is the main threat to Maui. It suggests that set netting may capture an estimated one dolphin every 10 years and in the trawl fishery one in 50 years.

The far more numerous Hector’s dolphin is estimated to have a population of 15,700 and the science shows the numbers are increasing.

The consultation paper dispassionately states that hundreds of fishers stand to be affected and hundreds of millions of dollars lost from regional economics.

Yet it contains no socio-economic analysis, no discussion of the human impacts, compensation or transitional assistance.

“It’s an easy sell to demonise the fishing industry, made even easier by the seeming disinterest of our elected officials to get to know the people, like my brother (Shane Bublitz, Egmont vessel manager), who stands to lose everything if further restrictions are placed on inshore fishing,” Bublitz said in her submission.

She said it was a personal response “focused on truth, my family and our people”.

“He, (Bublitz) along with the fishers he works closely with, have their existence on the line as much as our dolphins do.

“From mental health to mortgages, these (mostly) men are at risk, yet (Fisheries Minister) Stuart Nash immediately diverted the conversation to Brand NZ when asked about them on the 6 o’clock news.

“I find that completely unacceptable. I would have more respect for the likes of Greenpeace if they came out and said they don’t care about us, that they want to push their agenda at any cost.

"That they’re prepared to sacrifice people’s lives and livelihoods, along with New Zealanders’ access to fresh, locally caught fish, because the people don’t matter. What the rest of the world thinks is more important.

“Further targeting the already heavily regulated inshore fishery in non-core habitats does not save dolphins in the end.

“It’s just a giant green tick on our social license card to help sell things in other countries, while we bankrupt our own people, ignore treaty settlement and customary rights and sell our backbone to the highest (or loudest) bidder.

“This is not who we are.”

He aha te mea nui o tea o? What is the most important thing in the world?

He tangata, he tangata, he tangata. It is people, it is people, it is people.

Or is it the brand, the brand, the brand?