Seafood New Zealand Friday Update 21 October 2016

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

Captain's Blog

October 21, 2016 

Strong funding support available to boost seafood research projects

 One thing the Government cannot be accused of is lack of funding support for science and innovation.
 Up to $48 million is available under the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment's Endeavour Round in 2017.
 Proposals are now being sought in two categories - Smart Ideas aimed at promising, innovative research, and Research Programmes that have potential to transform the economy, environment and society.
 The seafood sector did well in the 2016 round with $12.8 million awarded to Nelson's Cawthron Institute for improving feed conversion efficiency in high value Chinook salmon.
  Another $5.3 million was directed to Cawthron to develop multiple shellfish species culture in open ocean sites. The project centres on revolutionary flotation and mooring systems that have the potential to dramatically increase aquaculture production.
  NIWA was also awarded funding for two seafood-related projects.
  One, valued at $506k, was to assess the impact of fishing activity and climate change on productivity of fish populations.
  Another $861k was granted to assess human induced impacts on the seafloor environment through monitoring changes in the chemistry of crustaceans. Mining, trawling, coastal pollution such as siltation and global impacts including ocean acidification are all being considered.
 Seafood Innovations Ltd, (SIL) is another funder looking for suitable projects.
 SIL has $7.5 million available to seafood companies or sectors for suitable research projects.
 The SIL consortium, led by general manager Mike Mandeno, is a joint venture research company of Seafood NZ and Plant and Food Research. It was seeded with $14 million in total from MBIE over seven years, to be matched 1:1 by industry.
 In a bid to encourage more seafood industry proposals, SIL now provides financial and management assistance to shape projects. It has also cut the administration overhead and relaxed provisions on ownership of intellectual property to give companies greater incentive to invest.
 There are no upper or lower limits - projects to grow seafood returns have ranged from $50k to $5 million.
Contact Mike on this link or visit for guidance on eligible projects.
And the Sustainable Seas National Science Challenge is looking for innovative projects to fund.
The challenge has $1.5 million to support projects up to a value of $150k for two years.
Enhancing utilisation of our marine resources within environmental and biological constraints is one focus.
A second is methods to increase diversification in marine economies with a view to adding value.
Expressions of interest are due by November 30.
Those initially selected will be invited to submit detailed proposals by March 15.


Senior MFAT trade officials are readying for a new round of WTO negotiations regarding fisheries subsidies. Many in the industry will no doubt express sighs of exasperation given the poor WTO results to date.
MFAT trade negotiators Stefan Corbett and Nick Markwell have been visiting a number of fishing companies in Auckland. They have been escorted by Matua Shane Jones, Pacific Economic Ambassador. Nelson is next on the itinerary as the officials seek views from the industry on the current impacts of subsidies. 
The ambassador is on duty today escorting prickly Fijian Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama to a Waiheke Island mussel farm.
The uplift in interest on the impacts of subsidies relates to US State Secretary John Kerry announcing backing for negotiations amongst like-minded nations, according to Jones. He said that although Kerry's tenure is drawing to an end, his enthusiasm is obvious given his presentation at the recent US hosted Oceans Conference held in Washington. 
That gathering is held annually and nations are expected to make pledges to 'save the oceans'. The Kermadecs outcome does not, however, give great confidence about the direction of travel emanating from such gatherings. 

- Tim Pankhurst
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Safer commercial fishing and internationally recognised tickets 

New Zealand is adopting international rules on certification for commercial fishermen, aimed at making fishing safer and ensuring New Zealand fishers will have their tickets recognised internationally.
Following public consultation in April 2015, the Government decided to accede to the International Maritime Organization’s International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Fishing Vessel Personnel, 1995 (known as STCW-F).
The Convention covers crew working on fishing vessels of more than 24 metres in length or with propulsion power of 750kW or more, operating beyond 12 nautical miles from shore.
Maritime New Zealand is currently consulting on rule changes required as part of this process.

Have your say
The invitation to comment document is available on the Maritime NZ website on this link. 
Consultation closes on November 7.

In the Media

A Maui dolphin. Photo: Martin Stanley/DOC

Small rise in Maui dolphin numbers

Stuff (October 19) reported on the small rise in adult numbers of the critically endangered Maui dolphin, according to the preliminary results of a survey carried out over the past two summers.
The Maui dolphin population is now estimated at approximately 63 adults, according to the preliminary results of the survey carried out by the Department of Conservation, the Ministry for Primary Industries, and researchers from Auckland and Oregon State universities. The survey also estimated with 95 per cent confidence there are between 57 and 75 adult Maui dolphins. 
This represents an increase from a 2010-11 survey that estimated the number at 55, with 95 per cent confidence there were between 48 and 69.
Environment Minister Maggie Barry said the stabilisation of numbers over the past five years could only be good news. Minister for Primary Industries Nathan Guy said the new figures were an encouraging sign that restrictions on fishing were having an effect. Read more

Also read: 
Beehive: New Maui dolphin estimate encouraging

Shark cage dive operators have duty to protect public, paua divers say

Stuff (October 19) reported on commercial paua divers seeking a declaration from the Wellington High Court making it mandatory for the Department of Conservation (DOC) to consider public safety when licensing great white shark cage diving. 
Lawyer Bruce Scott, who is representing commercial paua divers, said allowing tourism operators to attract great white sharks near Stewart Island without considering the implications on public safety is a "contradiction that is irreconcilable". Scott made the comment at the High Court in Wellington on Wednesday, as paua diver group PauaMAC5 bids to make it mandatory for DOC to consider public safety when licensing great white shark cage diving. PauaMAC5 argues the cage diving, whose operators use bait such as berley or chum to attract the sharks, has deterred swimmers and fishers from entering the water due to fear of attacks.
DOC has said its only mandate under the Wildlife Act is the protection of sharks, and it did not need to consider public safety when issuing licences.
But Scott said that mindset was too simplistic, and the act was really about the interaction between humans and animals. Read more

Also read:
Blood in the water over shark cage diving (Radio NZ)

Santy Maria blessed in home port Tauranga after unloading first catch

Bay of Plenty Times (October 19) reported on fishing company RMD welcoming its new $5 million, 24-metre trawler Santy Maria in its home port of Tauranga with a traditional Maori blessing on Wednesday.
The vessel, which was launched in Nelson by builders Aimex Service Group in September, arrived in Tauranga on Monday after unloading its first catch in Gisborne earlier this month.
"This is absolutely the most up-to-date new launch the New Zealand fishing industry has seen in decades," said Roger Rawlinson, who with his brothers Dan and Marcus own RMD.
"It's a state-of-the-art boat that's been designed around health, safety and sustainability."
The Santy Maria is the first of a series of up to six new fishing vessels that will supply Moana New Zealand, the largest iwi-owned fisheries company. Read more

New Zealand King Salmon makes splash in NZX debut

Newshub (October 19) reported on New Zealand King Salmon shares rising 3.6 per cent in their NZX debut after the aquaculture company raised more than $70 million to fund its growth and allow existing shareholders to reduce their holdings. The stock first traded at $1.16 on the NZX, valuing the company at about $160 million.
It sold about 69 million shares in the IPO, raising $30 million of new capital. 
The offer attracted food investor China Resources Ng Fund, which bought a 10 per cent stake and the New Zealand Superannuation Fund, which will hold 5.5 per cent.
New Zealand King Salmon chairman John Ryder said the IPO gave New Zealand King Salmon "a strong platform for investing in aquaculture growth".
Read more

Mussel farming In Marlborough 

Radio NZ Country Life (October 14) featured an interview with New Zealand mussel farming pioneer and Clearwater Mussels head John Young about the industry's growth prospects. Young said the future of marine farming would be big, if it was allowed to be. 
Mussel farming had turned around the fortunes of Havelock, which was once a dowdy forestry town, and is now a thriving gateway township to the Marlborough Sounds, he said.
Read more or listen in on this link

Kiwi in a craypot 

Making the front page of the Stewart Island News this month was a kiwi trapped in a craypot.
"Can’t get more Stewart Island than that! Thanks to Rachel Keen’s dog Roxie who discovered the trapped bird. I’ll bet whoever hung the snifter in that pot never imagined a curious kiwi would be poking his beak at it!" the editor's
write-up said.
The Department of Conservation got a call in early September to report someone spotting a kiwi trapped in a craypot at the top of Whipp Place. When the DOC team - Kevin Carter, James Ware, and Bridget Baynes arrived on the scene, the craypot, semi-covered in vegetation, looked like it had been there a while. A fern growing up underneath the pot had lifted it up just enough so that the curious kiwi was able to get inside but not back out.
Senior ranger biodiversity Kevin Carter called it “the most unusual kiwi rescue” he’s ever done.
The kiwi didn’t look like it had been there for very long, and there were no signs of excessive stress (like stress moulting). Carter opened up the top hatch while Baynes and Ware encouraged the kiwi toward him.
When the kiwi was within reach, Carter was able to grab its feet and perform a quick health check. After a quick bill measurement and weight, the fit and healthy sub-adult kiwi was released and made its way down the track.

Read Stewart Island News on this link