Seafood New Zealand Friday Update 11 November 2016

Friday Update is Seafood New Zealand's weekly email from our Chief Executive.

Captain's Blog

November 11, 2016
Future of Our Fisheries review 
  The operational review of the Fisheries Act will finally be landed later today.
  The consultation document, labelled the Future of Our Fisheries (Te Huapae Mataora Mo Tangaroa) has been nearly a year in the making after public submissions closed last December.
  It is in the form of a detailed review with three supporting volumes.
  They will cover maximising value from our fisheries, including addressing the contentious area of discards; regulatory change to implement electronic catch reporting and monitoring across the fleet; and encouragement of innovative trawl technologies.
  Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy has already indicated the fisheries management system is fundamentally sound. Evidence of that is that of the 157 stocks of known status in New Zealand, 83 percent are above the sustainable reference point used by Government to measure the status of stocks, according to fisheries scientists. Those stocks represent 97 percent of our annual catch.
  The Quota Management System has served the fishing sector, and the overall country, well for 30 years but there will be no argument from industry that it cannot be improved. In that regard it is encouraging that MPI director-general Martyn Dunne has stated that discard policies and settings need to be addressed in concert with placing cameras on boats.
  The Future of Our Fisheries is a welcome review that is presumed not to have any Trump-style shocks. It will take time to digest and to prepare a detailed response, with submissions due before Christmas. Next week's Friday Update will include reaction and analysis. 
  A key area that that review does not appear to cover, one that is the missing part of the QMS jigsaw, is that of the increasingly significant recreational sector. 
  For some valuable insights there we need to turn to a recent report from the independent think tank The New Zealand Initiative, titled What's The Catch?
  That report, sub-titled The State of Recreational Fisheries Management in New Zealand, was prepared by Dr Randall Bess, a former fisheries consultant, MPI scientist and commercial fisherman.
  His premise is "there is an underlying problem of complacency in managing recreational fisheries.  There is a current lack of fisheries policy leadership and technical competence to support it. 
  This hands-off management approach is not sustainable, as growth in New Zealand's population and tourism further increases the demand for recreational fishing."
  Dr Bess says New Zealand is unusual in that recreational fishing is permissible almost year round without licence or permit, there is no requirement to report the location, species or amount of fish caught and fishing methods banned in most other developed fishing nations are accepted here.
  He contrasts that with Western Australia where the recreational abalone (paua) season is five one-hour openings on successive weekends, regardless of weather. Or the red snapper fishery in the Gulf of Mexico reduced to just nine days this year.
  Dr Bess’ report says it is conceivable the snapper fishery in this country could end up in a similar state.
  The trends in the most prolific and popular fishery – the Hauraki Gulf – are undeniable. Auckland’s population is increasing rapidly, tourism is booming and more and more people are going fishing. 
  The inference is clear -  there  will come a point when recreational fishers will have to address their own impact, even if politicians remain too gunshy to act, rather than continually pointing the bone at the commercial sector.
  No one knows just how much fish are taken out of the Gulf by the recreational sector, or the catches anywhere else in our waters for that matter, but the total is undoubtedly substantial. In the snapper fishery from the Bay of Plenty to Northland (SNA1) the recreational catch is widely believed to be as much or more than the commercial take.
  The recreational right to fish is one of the few remaining free-of-charge public goods available to all, the report notes.
  “However, fishing is not free,” it continues.
  “The cost of managing inshore fish stocks is partly borne by the commercial fishing sector through cost recovery levies. The remaining costs of managing recreational fisheries and enforcing rules are borne by taxpayers, though most do not fish.”
  The report concludes “as more stringent restrictions are put in place, tension and conflicts between fishing sectors are sure to increase”. 
  That need not necessarily be the case.
  Greater regulation of recreational fishing, and more clearly defined rights, could enhance the quality of the recreational fishing experience without eroding quota holding rights.
  But that will require political will.
  If the Future of Our Fisheries does not address recreational as well as commercial fishing, that is an opportunity lost.

Tim Pankhurst
Industry leader Peter Jones mourned
The New Zealand seafood industry lost another leader when Peter Jones, 73, died in Wellington on November 5.
Born in Wales, Peter first traveled to NZ in 1966 as a naval officer to complete his Masters ticket before returning to Wales in 1970. Unable to stay away from New Zealand, Peter returned 3 years later and began trolling for albacore tuna off the west coast of the South Island.
Through out his career Peter took on many leadership roles within the industry, serving as President of the Bay of Plenty Commercial Fishermen’s Association and the New Zealand Federation of Commercial Fishermen, among many others.
In 2012 he and his wife Leslie were awarded Honorary Lifetime Memberships to NZFCF for their constant support and commitment to those within the industry.
A service was held for Peter on November 8 in Wellington.
Donations can be made to the New Zealand Shipwreck Welfare Trust, and can be posted to PO Box 297, Wellington 6140.
Martyn Dunne: Unsupported claims on Ministry for Primary Industries doesn't do anybody any favours
NZ Herald (4 November)
Martyn Dunne, Director-General for MPI, wrote a column in response to Rachel Stewart's attack on the ministry and their "dim-wittedness."
Dunne said MPI are one of the Government's biggest regulatory agencies and the matters we deal with - fishing, animal welfare, food safety and biosecurity to name a few - are complex.
Furthmore, allegations that MPI take it easy on commercial fisherman are unfounded and not supported by the facts, he said.
MPI are proposing for all commercial fishing vessels to have cameras and have closed thousands of hectares of ocean to certain types of fishing to protect Hector's and Maui dolphin.
Read more

To read Stewart's reply to Dunne, click below
Rachel Stewart:You can't hide from the facts
Have we been making our snapper smaller?
NZ Herald (7 November) reports that a new study, jointly run by Victoria University and University of Oslo in Norway, will investigate whether fishing practices have altered the genetic make-up of snapper.
Leading the study is evolutionary geneticist Dr Peter Richie who said they will compare the genome of snapper bones found in ancient Maori middens with modern stocks to determine whether size selection of snapper has affected the stock.
The study is supported by the Marsden Fund, who handed out $830,000 for the research.
Read more
Fishing industry's elder statesman had salt in his blood
Marlborough Express (8 November) eulogises industry stalwart Ted Collins, who passed away on October 30, aged 79.
Ted started out as a farmer but soon changed careers to begin his life as a commercial fisherman and industry advocate. It was a time of great change in the industry as the QMS was implemented and the economic exclusive zone created.
Ted's daughter Jan said her father was a passionate fisherman who loved the industry.
"He would come ashore and talk fishing all night. He literally had salt in his blood," Jan said.
Read more
NIWA launches research into seabirds
NIWA has received funding to better help understand what some of our different seabirds are doing.
Funded by the Sustainable Seas National Science Challenge, the study aims to enhance the use of the New Zealand’s marine resources while ensuring the marine environment is cared for and used wisely.
The Sustainable Seas challenge is working to address many of the issues raised in a report on the state of our marine environment, released last week by the Ministry for the Environment and Statistics New Zealand.
NIWA scientists Dr David Thompson said the research is important because of the many issues facing seabirds.
“It’s important to know where and when species occur– otherwise it’s impossible to assess whether a particular activity will impact a particular species," Dr Thompson said.
Read more
South-East Marine Protection Forum Public Consultation - Have your say
The South-East Marine Protection Forum has released a public consultation document and has called for submissions on initial proposals of 20 sites that could be included in a network of marine protected areas (MPAs) along the SouthEast Coast of the South Island from Timaru to Waipapa Point. You can download the public consultation document, submission form and supporting documents on this link, or call 0800 687 729 to request a copy.
Copies will also be available for viewing at local council offices and public libraries throughout the region.
Submissions close 5pm, Tuesday, December 20, 2016.
Click below to browse October's Seafood New Zealand magazine