Seafood New Zealand Friday Update 2 October 2015



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

Tim Pankhurst's Captain's Blog
Friday, October 2, 2015

Kermadec Ocean Sanctuary

The Kermadecs sanctuary is a huge boost for New Zealand marine protection and its international environmental credentials.
But its surprise announcement promotes some disquiet about the way this Government operates and its reluctance to engage with key stakeholders.
The declaration by Prime Minister John Key in the heady surrounds of the United Nations in New York of the proposed Kermadecs sanctuary is the second time in a year the fishing industry has been blindsided by the Government on far reaching marine proposals.
The first was the declaration during last year’s election campaign of proposed recreational marine parks in the Hauraki Gulf and Marlborough Sounds that would displace commercial fishing effort.
The Hauraki proposal, aimed at placating recreational snapper fishers, had unintended consequences for flounder netters and kina divers and rock lobster quota holders amongst others and is still being worked through, nearly a year after a discussion paper was due.
Neither was there consultation with the seafood industry on the Kermadecs proposal to exclude all fishing, along with mining and oil and gas extraction, from 620,000 square kilometres, an area twice the size of New Zealand.
The sub tropical Kermadecs, comprising five islands to the north east of New Zealand half way to Tonga, are a marine jewel.
The vast area is home to the world’s longest chain of submerged volcanoes, the second deepest ocean trench at 10km, three sea turtle species, six million seabirds, 150 known fish species, 250 species of corals and byrozoans, 88 known species of crustaceans and 35 species of migrating whales and dolphins.
The seafood industry wholeheartedly supports their protection and the Government deserves credit for that.
But the fact is no fishing activities are threatening that ecosystem.
There is no trawling, bottom or deepwater, in the Kermadecs. 
That initiative was taken by the deepwater fishing industry in 2007 as part of a series of Benthic Protected Areas covering 10 per cent of New Zealand’s huge Exclusive Economic Zone.
That far sighted move nearly a decade ago was tangible proof of fishing commitment to environmental protection.
The only fishing activity in the Kermadecs is catching pelagic tuna and swordfish under strict quotas. Those fish do not live in the zone, they pass through it in the spring and early summer.
The volumes are small and the return is minor in the context of the overall fishing industry, although any new fishery is now ruled out.
It is easy enough to dismiss the fishing exclusion impact as being of little account.
But tell that to those directly affected, whose businesses and livelihoods are about to get that much harder.
Charles Hufflett’s Solander Group, a tuna industry leader, sees the move as a “massive removal of a property right” that will only benefit the subsidised, poorly regulated, largely Chinese fleet sitting on the edge of the zone waiting for the tuna to arrive.
The Cabinet paper from Environment Minister Nick Smith recommending the sanctuary is dismissive of fishing rights, proposing no compensation be paid “because it is a measure taken for sustainability purposes”.
But it is not sustainability that is at issue here.
Labour fisheries spokesman Rino Tirikatene warned the Government’s casual approach to iwi consultation breached its Treaty obligations.
“Closing a fishing area isn’t like closing a paddock,” he said. “You can’t just move stock elsewhere and say that everyone is satisfied.”
A Kermadecs sanctuary was Labour Party policy but was not part of National’s published policy.
ACT leader David Seymour welcomed the proposal but said there was an important compensation principle at stake.
He agreed with Seafood NZ chair George Clement that we should expect compassionate treatment of those New Zealand families whose livelihoods will be impacted.
With a Marine Protected Areas Act in gestation, but with little information on its likely form, there is understandable nervousness in the seafood sector about what the next surprise might be.

Other links:
Seafood New Zealand's media release
Aotearoa Fisheries Ltd's media release



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White-capped albatross. Photo: Southern Seabird Solutions Trust.


2015 Seabird Smart Awards

Nominate a mate!
Do you know someone who is going the extra mile to look after seabirds while fishing? It could be an individual, a crew or company committed to making a real difference for seabirds. Nominations for the awards are open until October 18. Email or
Click here to fill a nomination form


In the Media




Hoki quota trimmed by 'precautionary' 10,000 tonnes 

Stuff (September 30) reported on Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy announcing that the hoki TACC for the 2015/16 fishing year, beginning October 1, will be reduced to 151,540 tonnes. The report quoted Minister Guy saying this reflected a "cautious approach" on the back of a low hoki biomass estimate in the sub-Antarctic. The report also quoted Seafood New Zealand Chairman George Clement saying the cut showed "conservative and precautionary management".
Click here for full report




Scallop quota cut brings
mixed reactions 

Stuff (September 30) reported on mixed reactions to the new commercial scallop limits by the Ministry for Primary Industries. The report said commercial scallopers were accepting of the new catch limit for the top of the south but not so the recreational sector. Minister for Primary Industries Nathan Guy had set the commercial limit at 25 tonnes from the Marlborough Sounds - down on the 30 tonnes last year - with an additional 15 tonnes from a "new" area on the eastern side of Tasman Bay, offshore from Delaware Bay and towards Cape Souci. The Challenger Scallop Enhancement Company had asked for 34 tonnes from the Sounds, with a grouping of resident and recreational organisations seeking a cut to
15 tonnes.
Click here for full report



Joe Heberley, hero of the Sounds

Stuff (September 30) reported on Arapawa Island's Joe Heberley being commended by Marlborough Police and Coastguard in appreciation of a lifetime of service to search and rescue operations in the Sounds. Marlborough Police Area Commander Inspector Simon Feltham said Heberley has, for decades, been the ‘go to man’ for Police search and rescue when boaties get into trouble in the Marlborough Sounds and Cook Strait.
Click here to watch the video



Joe and Heather Heberley. Photo: NZ Police.




Fisheries scientists' CFOOD initiative

Global fisheries scientists have come together in a new CFOOD (Collaborative for Food from Our Oceans Data) project to ensure informed debate about the state of the world’s fisheries.
Dr. Ray Hilborn, professor at University of Washington’s SAFS and CFOOD founder, says their website will allow fisheries scientists to offer independent scientific commentary to debunk false claims and support responsible science.
Click buttons below to see their work





Gone Fishin' with Graham Henry and Graeme Sinclair

Join two iconic Kiwis, Graham Henry and Graeme Sinclair, for a day out on the water while helping support kiwi and their habitats. Kiwis for kiwi, a national charity working to keep kiwi safe, has set up an online auction to help raise funds for their conservation efforts. The winning bidder gets to go on a fishing trip with rugby great Henry and fishing legend Sinclair. The winner might even have the chance to be on TV as the trip will be filmed as part of a Gone Fishin' episode airing in December. Auction closes October 20.
Click here to view and place bids