Seafood New Zealand Friday Update 16 October 2015



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

Tim Pankhurst's Captain's Blog
Friday, October 16, 2015



Conserving precious blue cod

  If snapper are the North Island’s signature fish, blue cod would hold that place in the South Island.
  As the Hauraki Gulf was to snapper, so the Marlborough Sounds are to cod.
  Or they were.
  The cod fishery has been in trouble for a number of years and management methods have struggled to make an impact, not least because they were widely seen as confusing, complicated and ad hoc.
  Last week cod rules for the top of the South Island were amended again, maintaining the daily bag limit at two and introducing a minimum legal size of 33cm for recreational fishers.
 The highly unpopular and poorly targeted transit and slot rules have been dropped.
 The slot rule meant only two fish between 30 and 35 cm could be kept.
 The mortality rate is unknown but if the fish survive being caught they then suffer heavy predation from shags and cuda when returned to the sea.
 And the transit rule meant fish caught elsewhere could not be taken through an area with different regulations.
 There will now be one set of rules across the Marlborough Sounds and Tasman Bay and all seasonal closure and closed area restrictions apply equally to recreational and commercial fisheries.
 The Total Allowable Commercial Catch for cod in Area7, which extends from Cape Campbell on Marlborough’s east coast, across the Sounds and down the west coast to Haast remains at 70 tonnes, just 3 percent of the nationwide total of 2330 tonnes.
 Of that 70 tonnes, only about 30 tonnes is caught in the outer Sounds, almost all in pots.
 The seasonal closure taking effect from Dec 20 will have an impact on the few commercial cod fishers in the area but the changes have largely been well received.
 “This is a very important and popular fishery, not just to locals but people from all around New Zealand who love coming here,” Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy said.
 Too true. So let’s see some good science to back that up, starting with a rebuild plan that tracks the outcome of management measures. 
 The Sounds cod fishery was closed to recreational fishing in 2008 and reopened in 2011 with the rules that are now being amended.
 Fishing at D’Urville Island as a teenager in the late 60s there were so many cod just offshore that our dad limited the family catch to six. My brother and I made sure the six we landed were huge, like pup groper.
 By the time I returned in the 1990s with my own family the cod were pretty much wiped out in Catherine Cove. 
 The arrival of deep freezers in every home coupled with the ever increasing numbers of fishers in more efficient boats able to range further spelt the end of a resource that once seemed inexhaustible.  
 A neighbour on the Wairarapa coast recently complained to me that it had taken him all day to catch 28 cod when he used to be able to do that in a couple of hours.
Do you think you may be part of the problem, I asked?
No, it was those !&*#ing commercial b*!#**s who were to blame.
When I lived in Christchurch and fished recreationally out of Motonau in north Canterbury in the late 90s a request was painted on the toilet block. It said: In the interests of conservation please limit yourselves to 30 cod per person per day. That was subsequently amended to 20 and it now stands at 10. Still a lot of fish. And there are a lot more people chasing them.
The recreational and customary catches remain the missing pieces in the Quota Management System picture.
We know what the heavily regulated commercial catch is; we have little idea of the amount the increasing number of recreational fishers catch.
NIWA on behalf of MPI is conducting a survey of top of the South fishers at eight popular boats ramps over the next 12 months. The number of boats fishing will also be counted from spotter planes on those days.
It is the first such top of the South survey for 10 years and it will encompass only 54 days chosen at random but at least it is an attempt to better understand recreational impact on commonly caught stocks.
That is the way to realising we all have a part to play in conserving our precious fishing bounty.
We await a baseline survey to ensure that any changes from the new rules can be measured.



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2015 Seabird Smart Awards

It's not too late get your entries in! Nominations extended until Wednesday, October 21!
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White-capped albatross. Photo: Southern Seabird Solutions Trust.


In the Media




Commercial blue cod closure
'a real blow' says Picton fisherman

Stuff (October 12) reported on changes to blue cod fishing rules being "a real blow" to commercial fishermen who will be affected by a new seasonal closure. The report said changes to Marlborough Sounds blue cod fishing rules would mean a new commercial seasonal closure would kick in next year alongside the existing recreational seasonal closure. Picton fisherman Graham Taylor said the changes would not have a big impact on his business, because he was mostly catching crayfish during the closure period, but he said they would have a huge impact on other fishing businesses.
Click here for the full report




Clearwater Mussels is finalist for South Island Farmer of the year

AgriHQ (October 12) reported on finalists being announced for the South Island Farmer of the year competition. Clearwater Mussels, a greenshell mussel producer with 90 mussel farms in the Marlborough Sounds, is among the four finalists this year, and also is the competition's first entry from an aquaculture business.
Click here for full report




Te Ohu Kaimoana chairman Matiu Rei. Photo: Fairfax


Maori Fisheries Trust ignored in Kermadec plan, leaders say 

Stuff (October 8) reported on the Maori Fisheries Trust, Te Ohu Kaimoana, saying the Government was "cynical" in its handling of the Kermadec Ocean Sanctuary plan. In a joint statement chairman Matiu Rei and chief executive Peter Douglas said the trust, the agent of the Treaty partners, was only informed 10 hours ahead of the Prime Minister's announcement last week. They said the 1992 deed of fisheries settlement guaranteed that the Crown would consult iwi and their agents on fisheries and ecosystem management.  
Click here for full report




Cawthron chief executive Charles Eason.


Cawthron adds $1million a month to economy

Radio New Zealand (October 8) reported on the Cawthron Institute, New Zealand's largest independently-owned science organisation, being tipped to add more than $200 million to the country's GDP and create hundreds of jobs in coming years. An economic report released in Nelson by Minister for Economic Development, and Science and Innovation Steven Joyce showed the Cawthron was now one of Nelson's largest business services exporters.
Its 200 staff brought earnings of $1 million a month to the economy.
Click here for full report




Grow a safer business with Primary ITO's health & safety workshop

Primary ITO has launched a new workshop, ‘Managing Health & Safety’, to help develop safer primary industry businesses. Further supporting health and safety upskilling, Primary ITO is now able to access discounted nationwide First Aid courses via Red Cross. Bookings can be made by calling 0800 RED CROSS or 0800 273 337.  
Click here to book online




The San Aspiring. Photo: Gone Fishin'


Gone Fishin' with the San Aspiring

TradeZone Gone Fishin' with Graeme Sinclair travels to the Falklands and South Georgia with John Bennett and the crew of the San Aspiring and follow in Shackleton's footsteps. 
On Saturday, October 17, 5pm on TV3.
Click here for more information