Seafood New Zealand Friday Update 04 August 2017

Captain's Blog

August 4, 2017

Seafood assurance programme launched at industry conference

Seafood production and procurement can be a complicated business.
And customers increasingly want reassurance around the provenance of the produce they are buying.
In the case of seafood, that includes questions around its sustainability, impact on the marine environment and treatment of employees.
That has led the seafood industry to launch OpenSeas, a one-stop source for information that was unveiled at the Seafood New Zealand annual conference in Wellington yesterday.
Until now it has been difficult to access credible, reliable and up-to-date material in one place.
OpenSeas is a third-party verified, broad-based transparency initiative designed to enable customers of New Zealand seafood, primarily internationally, a single, comprehensive source of information about the environmental, social and production credentials of the New Zealand seafood industry.
Programme Manager Jodie Campbell says OpenSeas, is a first of its kind transparency initiative that has been a year in the making and brought together over 20 industry experts and five regulatory agencies to contribute to nearly 40 pages of website content.
“OpenSeas does not purport to verify individual product claims but it is a systematic collation of available information.”  
That information includes New Zealand's approach to sustainable use of its vast marine environment, the systems and processes used to ensure supply chain integrity and the legal protections for the welfare of workers and indigenous communities involved in seafood production. 
The site also features individual species profiles, which include the most up-to-date harvest details and independent environmental certification or risk assessment scores.
“OpenSeas focuses on presenting short, digestible pieces of information about the New Zealand seafood industry, allowing users to retain and reuse the information within their own businesses,” Jodie said.
“Ultimately, it should enable customers of New Zealand seafood to make informed choices in line with their own sourcing policies.”
Sitting behind the site, is a full suite of reports, supplementary documentation (such as standards, certificates and guidance), legislation and digital references.  These details can be found by navigating through the site, empowering users to access the necessary level of detail they require. All information on the site is traceable back to the source document. 
James Whittaker, head of responsible sourcing and quality at the Australian supermarket giant Coles, told the conference product safety, quality and responsible sourcing are paramount in satisfying 21 million customers a week across 800 stores.
Coles assurance programme was drawn on in developing OpenSeas.
The programme is made to be shared. Links, factsheets, reports and references can be found throughout the site. The professionally designed format makes it easy to download, share softcopies and print hardcopies. 
OpenSeas is designed to assist business to business dialogue but is open, free of charge, for anyone to use. 
It is currently undergoing independent certification for the programme's Quality Management System.  Achieving certification will be a reflection of the programme's commitment to meeting the information needs of businesses while ensuring accuracy and transparency are not compromised. The aim is to achieve certification within the first six months of the programme.
For more information about the programme, visit or contact
Keynote speaker Sir Ray Avery, noted entrepreneur and philanthropist, told the conference the signs were consumers were going to turn away from red meat.
“That is good news for you in a business that doesn’t use up resources,” he said.
‘If you believe you can be the greatest seafood exporters in the world, you can do it. You have to have a plan and work together.”
British-born Sir Ray said New Zealand was a country of innovators and Kiwis shared three characteristics – not fond of rules, no respect for the status quo and daring to dream.

Changes needed for recreational fishing - NZ Initiative

The New Zealand Initiative is calling for a recreational fishing fee to be implemented as tourism and population booms put increasing pressure on New Zealand's fisheries. 
The recommendation was made in the report, The Future Catch: Preserving Fisheries for the Next Generation, which was released by the NZ Initiative on Monday.
Report author Dr Randall Bess said there was a need for change.
"I think we've reached the point where we realise there's a responsibility as a resource user to give something towards it," Bess said.
"I mean, we're not talking about a lot of money, $10 or $20 a year.
"Collectively, that can make a big difference in terms of improving fisheries for a long time."
Fisheries Management Director Dave Turner said the idea was "off the table".
"We are not going down the road of licensing in New Zealand. It's not going to happen.
"New Zealanders love to fish, it's part of our culture, so as the population increases obviously there will be pressures on the system.
"But we're working hard across all sectors to make sure we have sustainable shared fisheries for the future."
Read more

Register now for Paua Conference 2017

Registrations are now open for the Paua Conference 2017. Running in Nelson on August 24 & 25, the Paua Industry Council have put together a great lineup to update attendees on the sector.
Book now to hear an interesting and informative range of speakers, and for a chance to catch up with everything paua from throughout the country.
To register go to or email

In the Media

Seafood industry congratulates its stars

New Zealand’s seafood stars have been recognised at the industry’s annual conference in Wellington today.
Chief Executive of Seafood New Zealand Tim Pankhurst said the conference, titled Oceans of Innovation, was a celebration of the exciting developments in the industry over the past few years, most of which were not well known.
“Some of the recipients of the Seafood Stars Awards played a significant part in the world-leading, cutting edge technology that is making a real difference to the way commercial fishing targets what it needs and is lessening its environmental footprint,” said Pankhurst.
The winners are:
Future Development Innovation Award:
  • Cawthron Institute
Young Achiever Award:
  • Dr Tom McCowan - Paua Industry Council
Longstanding Service Award:
  • Graham Patchell – Sealord
  • Sean McCann – NZ Fishing Guild
  • Graeme Coates – Marine Farming Association
  • Jim Jenkins – Marine Farming Association
To read more about our winners, click here

Seafood exports set to top $2 billion

Seafood exports are predicted to hit a record $2 billion annually by 2020.
That is according to the Ministry for Primary Industries 2017 Situation and Outlook report.
Export revenue for the year to June 2017 is expected to be $1.8 billion, broadly in line with last year, before steadily increasing.
The total annual value of the sector, including the domestic market, employment and processing is estimated at $4.2 billion by BERL.
“It is a case of value before volume,” Seafood New Zealand Chief Executive Tim Pankhurst said.
“We are not catching more fish – the wild capture total has remained stable over the past five years.
“Where there is an increase in volume is in the aquaculture sector, which continues to perform strongly.”
Export prices are expected to continue to improve due to growing demand, MPI said.
Read more

Commercial fishing worth more than $4b to NZ economy - BERL

A report from economic researchers, BERL shows New Zealand’s commercial fishing industry is worth $4.18 billion.
Chief Executive of Fisheries Inshore New Zealand, Dr Jeremy Helson, says the report confirms the importance of commercial fishing to New Zealand.
“The Ministry for Primary Industries says exports alone are expected to reach $2.3 billion by 2025. Add the contribution to the domestic market through jobs, investment in infrastructure and the sectors supporting the industry and you have a significant contributor to the New Zealand economy,” said Helson.
The report, which measured a five year average, showed 13,468 people were directly employed in fishing and seafood processing alone, which is 0.7 percent of all New Zealand employment.
Seafood is New Zealand’s fifth largest export by value and represents 3.2 percent of total exports.
The report includes fishing and seafood harvesting for deep water, inshore, highly migratory species and shellfish, but excludes aquaculture, which has revenues of another $500 million.
Read more
Read the report

Forest and Bird claims set nets killing hundreds of penguins annually 

Radio NZ (4 August) Forest and Bird say hundreds of penguin deaths are going unreported by fishers.
Fourteen penguin deaths were reported in the the year October 2015 to October 2016, with thirteen reported by Ministry for Primary Industries observers.
However, only three percent of vessels had MPI observers on-board.
Forest and Bird claimed this meant the real number of deaths had to be higher. 
"It looks as if the fishing industry is killing hundreds of penguins in set net fisheries and almost none of it is being reported," he said.
Fisheries Inshore New Zealand chief executive Dr Jeremy Helson said fishers were legally obliged to report the death of protected species.
"I think most fishermen do a pretty good job," Dr Helson said.
"Increased reporting is going to be something we are working on in the future."
Read more

2017 Seabird Smart Award

Here’s your chance to spread the word about your fleet’s achievements.
Nominations are now open for the 2017 Seabird Smart Awards, so if you know someone who is making an extra effort to look after seabirds go online and nominate them.
The awards are run by the Southern Seabird Solutions Trust and aim to recognise outstanding leadership and commitment to looking after New Zealand seabirds.
You could nominate a skipper or crew, a manager, or even a vessel. Basically it can be anyone associated with fishing in any kind of role.
The 2017 awards function is timed to coincide with an international meeting of seabird experts from thirteen countries being held in Wellington in September.
Click here to learn more or nominate someone