Seafood New Zealand Friday Update 02 June 2017

Captain's Blog

June 2, 2017

Gaps remain in far-reaching fisheries management changes

The Government announced a $30.5 million boost to fisheries management in last week’s Budget.
How much of this is new money and how much will be cost recovered from the fishing industry is unclear.
“This funding will help introduce the world-leading Integrated Electronic Monitoring and Reporting System (IEMRS), which will give us arguably the most transparent and accountable commercial fishery anywhere in the world,” Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy said.
The intention is that vessel position monitoring and electronic catch reporting will begin on Oct 1 this year.
This will be followed by cameras on every vessel phased in from Oct 1 next year.
This means that every fishing vessel can be monitored at all times, no matter where they are, and any illegal activity dealt with, according to MPI.
The changes, which Mr Guy has said are part of the biggest alteration to fishing laws in a generation, are key parts of a Future Of Our Fisheries review launched in 2015.
The industry deserves credit for accepting these changes, he said.
“Commercial fishers are hard working and most want to do what’s right to ensure fish stocks remain at sustainable levels.”
But implementing such far reaching changes is no simple task.
There are currently 1356 quota owners, 1176 vessels, 206 licensed fish receivers and 994 permit holders to be brought into the system.
There is no software currently available to enable electronic reporting and some fundamental details are still to be settled.
These include what data is required to be reported, how often and to whom, and by what mechanism.
These details have significant ramifications for the hardware required, sourcing, installation, training and, not least, cost.
Industry is committed to working with the regulator in the interests of better fisheries management but the uncertainty and a timeframe of just four months for the first phase are causing anxiety.
So, too, is a proposal to include environmental NGOs in an IEMRS implementation advisory group.
If some of those antagonistic to commercial fishing bring their well-aired prejudices to the table, rather than engaging constructively, then the exercise will become a shambles.
If MPI is determined to proceed in this vein then it will need to tightly manage it within the parameters already proscribed.
MPI's project leader Stuart Anderson assured the Federation of Commercial Fishermen conference in New Plymouth yesterday that Greenpeace, Forest & Bird and LegaSea would have the opportunity to provide feedback but it was not a technical or decision-making group.
The industry supports collection of good information to improve decision quality but that data needs to be relevant, cost effective and necessary to meet clear management objectives.
Grandstanding by extremists will only delay that outcome.
Industry has demonstrated it is willing to work on resolving current issues.
There was considerable focus last year on allegations of discarding and where this is occurring, the fishing industry has acknowledged the need to improve practices.
This is a complex area that fisheries worldwide have struggled with.
What is not widely understood is that there are a wide range of circumstances that lead to catch being returned to the sea.
Many are legal obligations, such as fish under the minimum size limit.
Some are legally provided for, such as unwanted non-quota species. Although counter-intuitive for some, there are also cases where discarding is consistent with the purpose of the Fisheries Act.
In a system as complex and sophisticated as the QMS, it is all too easy for well-intentioned tinkering to undermine the fundamental tenets of the QMS. Great care is needed. To ensure we get this right, MPI should form a joint working party to test and refine policy settings to ensure the integrity of the QMS is maintained, and the Fisheries Settlement with Maori is not undermined.
In the past the seafood sector has offered to work constructively with MPI to resolve landings and discards issues but a previous working party was disbanded in 2014.
Discarding has always been permitted across some stocks, Labour fisheries spokesman Rino Tirikatene acknowledged at the federation conference.
"It needs more sophisticated management to ensure we get more consistency across the inshore fishery," he said.
He was taking part in a political panel that also included Greens environment spokesperson Eugenie Sage, local National MP Jonathan Young and New Zealand First fisheries spokesman Richard Prosser.
Mr Tirikatene also suggested removing fisheries from the wider primary industries ministry, as was previously the case.
"We need better fisheries management capacity within MPI to act in a timely manner, rather than just kicking the can down the road for decades.
"It's not getting the settings right."
In some cases, however, the fishing industry is ahead of the game.
Observers, paid for by the industry, are embedded across the inshore and deepwater fleets and their contribution is valued.
Where they fit into the new order is unclear.
The snapper1 fleet based on the Hauraki Gulf already has cameras installed under a trial that has been under way for some time.
A vessel monitoring system is standard on deepwater vessels and some larger inshore vessels, showing exactly where each one is at any given time.
As longline fisher Adam Clow, who has a camera on his boat which was shown on a recent Country Calendar programme, said: “That’s fine, we have nothing to hide”.
The outcome is not at issue. The means of getting there is the concern.

2017 Seafood Star Awards

Nominations for the Seafood Star Awards are now open.
The categories for this year's awards are:
- Young Achiever Award
- Longstanding Service Award
- Future Development Innovation Award
The Seafood Stars Awards will run across all facets of the industry and will be presented to those who have made a significant contribution to the seafood industry.
Click here to download the form and nominate someone.

Roughy on the Rise on sale now

You can now purchase a copy of Roughy on the Rise, the story of New Zealand's most controversial fishery. The story of orange roughy is one of cowboys, characters and conservation.
Roughy on the Rise charts the discovery of this mysterious deepwater fish, its exploitation, its depiction by environmental NGOs as the epitome of unsustainable fishing, the slow unlocking of its secrets, its key role in bankrolling the development of the New Zealand seafood industry - and latterly its recovery.
Click here to purchase a copy

2017 Seafood Industry Conference - Registrations now open

Registrations for the 2017 New Zealand Seafood Industry Conference are now open and we are pleased to announce that our keynote speaker has been confirmed. 
The conference will be headlined by Alex Olsen of A. Espersen A/S, Demmark. Alex is a progressive thinker who will talk about 'Seafood in a changing world -how we deal with the challenges we face'. Alex started with Espersen in 2007 and has since developed Espersen’s Sustainability and Governance initiatives throughout their supply chains. Sir Ray Avery, New Zealander of the Year in 2010, is our other keynote, speaking about Kiwis' innovative attitude and what makes us different.
Other speakers include Iain Hosie of Revolution Fibres, a nanofibre production company based in Auckland, on turning hoki skins into nanofibre. Plant and Food, MSC, DOC and ANZ will also present, along with journalist Bill Ralston who will provide an insight on the upcoming election.
Click here to view the programme and register now.

Shipwreck Welfare Trust auction raises $41,000 for families

Auctioneer extraordinaire Richard Kibblewhite (right) in action last night at the annual NZ Federation of Commercial Fishermen conference fundraiser in aid of the Shipwreck Welfare Trust. He was assisted by federation vice-president Allan Rooney (left). The auction raised $41,000 to help bereaved families affected by shipwrecks.
Photo: Ali Undorf-Lay

In the Media

Parasite threatens Bluff oyster populations

RNZ (1 June) A lethal parasite could threaten the iconic Bluff oyster population in Foveaux Strait. 
Bonamia ostreae has been found in two oyster farms on Stewart Island.
The parasite was first found in Marlborough Sounds' oysters two years ago.
Ministry for Primary Industries bio-security surveillance manager Brendan Gould said there were fears it would spread to the wild Bluff oysters.
"We're resigned to the fact it's here. We're not going to stop it from being here - we don't believe that eradication is something that is able to be done," he said.
"Our focus was to try and stop it spreading and we do have controlled area notices in place limiting movement of flat oysters."
A related strain decimated the oyster population in Bluff in the early 1990s and again in the early 2000s.
Read more

Chathams wharf putting holes in vessels- fishers

RNZ (30 May) A Pitt Island fisher is claiming the newly revamped wharf is putting holes in vessels.
The $4.8 million wharf was built in 2015 and then received $1.8 million in repairs after Cyclone Pam damaged it soon after.
The fisher, who wished to remain anonymous, said the timber and steel fenders had put holes in boats, costing time and money to fix them.
"It was just wrecking them, it really was, it was hopeless," he said.
The problems had been going on for a year, he said.
Engineer Gary Teear, who is responsible for the design, said his work was fine.
"Initially the fender piles that were put in, they were counted as too high, so they were cut off," Teear said.
"They then came back and said they were too low because their boats landed on top of the piles."
Teear said the fishers had continued to demand service they were not entitled too.
In last week's budget the Government announced $3.4 million in funding to create a breakwater for the Pitt Island Wharf and for maintenance. 
Read more

Sanford CEO: Fisheries need to push 'NZ brand'

Newsroom (30 May) Sanford chief executive Volker Kuntzsch believes the fishing industry is yet to take full advantage of brand 'New Zealand' when selling our product on the international stage.
“We catch this fantastic species down in Antarctica called toothfish and it’s highly valued in the United States and China - but somewhere on the journey it changes from being a New Zealand fish to a Chilean one. We have a great story to tell, we just need to be better at telling it," Kuntzsch said.
Click here to watch Kuntzsch talk to Newsroom.

West Coast fisherman survive stranding on Greymouth Beach

Stuff (29 May) Three fishers made it to shore in one piece after their vessel got into trouble coming across the notorious Greymouth bar. 
Crewman Matthew Fisher was asleep when he was woken by a wave.
Fisher climbed onto the deck, saw his son Adin, helping skipper and owner Les Horncastle, who may have fallen asleep at the helm.
"He's probably nodded off for 10 or 15 minutes and that is all it takes. The auto-pilot was set for [Greymouth port]," Fisher said.
"The only thing I can think of is it's his [cancer] medication. I've never had a fear of going to sleep with him at the wheel. If I thought for a minute that that was going to happen, I wouldn't have gone to sleep."
The vessel was in the breakers off Cobden Beach, when the three got into the life raft, making it to shore safe.
A Maritime NZ spokesman said the vessel was intact with no evidence of fuel or oil leaks.
The vessel is now stranded on Cobden Beach.
The men had been fishing for ling.
Read more

NZ farmed rare Salmon king in Japan

Stuff (28 May) New Zealand King Salmon are making inroads into premium Japanese food channels.
New Zealand King Salmon general manager of marketing Jemma McCowan said the fish is being used for sashimi at top restaurants in Japan.
"Japanese consumers are known for their eagle eye for quality. But overall they have a hugely positive image of New Zealand and our food," McCowan said.
Asia makes up 10 percent of King Salmon sales, with half that going to Japan.
McCowan said the business wants to increase sales to 17 percent in the region over the next five years.
New Zealand makes us 70 percent of king salmon sales worldwide, but only five percent of the global salmon market.
Read more

Ocean Bounty

This week Ocean Bounty checks out the story on mussels.
It starts with the collection of spat on 90 mile beach and ends in a feast offshore or in a place like the Coromandel Mussel Kitchen.
Ocean Bounty visits farms and find out why mussel farming is so popular with recreational anglers.
Tune in to Three at 5pm on Sunday to check it out, and if you missed last week’s episode on tuna, click here to watch it OnDemand.