Seafood New Zealand Friday Update 24 March 2017

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

Captain's Blog

March 24, 2017

The sinking of Eliminator

It takes as little as 30 seconds to sink a boat.
That was our experience on the Wairarapa coast at  new year.
And it may well have been engine failure that was the cause.
The sea was boisterous but not unduly rough as Neil Davis launched his 6.5 metre aluminium boat Eliminator at Sandy Bay at Tora.
He has been out through the narrow channel flanked by breakers on the shallow reefs hundreds, if not a thousand times.
Neil, a former paua and cray diver, is the go-to man when boats are in trouble on the turbulent Pacific Ocean where big southerly rollers and screaming nor’westers are common.
He has retrieved one body out of the sea and assisted police divers with a search for another person lost in wild conditions. He also saved a local and his hypothermic mate when their boat flipped in weather that had kept everyone else at home.
His wife Pam, a legal executive, is just as staunch.
She holds the New Zealand records for a mako shark on 37kg line, a 338kg monster, and a 173kg mako on 10kg line.
Launching at Sandy Bay can be tricky but Neil and Pam have got it down pat.
Neil drives the tractor and boat down to the shore from their nearby bach, always playing Willie Nelson in the cab, where Pam takes over without Willie Nelson.
She backs the boat in, Neil fires it up and backs it off, Pam parks the tractor and runs along the rocks and hops on to the bow like a penguin as Neil noses the boat in.
On this occasion it went horribly wrong.
Neil, with me and a Wellington mate, Ian Peters, aboard, motored into the rocks.
But the tide was high and the surge lifted the bow on to the rocks before Pam could clamber aboard.
Neil threw the outboard motor – a newly fitted 140hp Suzuki that was just eight days old – into reverse and the boat surged clear.
He came in again after watching the swells on the reef but the bow banged on the rocks and the surge lifted it upwards.
The boat hung there and as it balanced a wave came into the stern.
The weight of the water tilted the boat and the next wave filled it.
Just like that, the boat was lost.
I leapt into the sea to avoid being trapped under the boat, Ian was able to scramble along the high side and get on to the rocks and Neil was trapped in the wheelhouse.
He was half tangled in the aerial and anchor rope but was able to get out.
We stood dripping on the rocks, wondering what had happened as the boat turned turtle, the motor cowling was torn off and the electronics flooded.
An observer on the shore, who helped pull us out of the sea, made a startling observation.
A retired police officer, he said he could not understand why the boat was not thrown into reverse when it hung up for the second time.
That was when the suspicion dawned the motor had failed to engage.
Neil had had trouble with his previous Suzuki motor as he came alongside his cray pot floats. On several occasions the reverse failed to engage and the boat sailed on.
Googling “Suzuki outboard motor failure” throws up an interesting, if not disturbing, array of complaints from various users around the world.
Suzuki in this country is represented by the Haines Group.
Its sales and services manager is Graham Kennedy, who has refused to answer a series of questions from Seafood NZ about Suzuki performance and the Davis’s experience in particular.
He has been sent electronic components from the destroyed, uninsured motor but nearly three months on has not responded.
Eliminator, a tough sea boat as ugly as a dump truck, has been repaired and this week Neil fitted a new motor.
A Yamaha.
He is still seeking some sort of redress from Suzuki, even if it is only the courtesy of being responded to.
Whether there is a wider issue about Suzuki outboard performance remains to be seen.
Do have feedback on this report? Forward to SNZ at
Ship wrecked – Eliminator on the rocks, Tim Pankhurst in the water and skipper Neil Davis still in the wheelhouse.

Organisers, punters praise 13th edition of Havelock Mussel and Seafood Festival

It was another successful year for 2000 hungry seafood lovers in the greenshell mussel capital of the world.
The Havelock Mussel and Seafood Festival had been at the mercy of the weather the past two years, with rain stopping it from turning a profit.
However with the rain holding off, festival committee chairman Graeme Barsanti said the turnout was positive and punters had made the day a good one.
"The numbers are good and the people are really happy. There is a lot of enthusiasm," he said.
Read more

Gone Fishin' in Gisbourne

Graeme is hunting and fishing along the East Coast this week.
He goes from a history lesson up Mount Hikurangi, shooting out of a helicopter and then playing with stingrays along the Cape.
Check it out this Sunday at 4.30pm on Three.

In the Media

NZ-developed ethical fishing method in line for top award

Radio NZ (20 March) Karl Warr of Better Fishing in Hawke's Bay has been nominated for an international award for his innovative trawl net.
US conservation group Sea Web hands out the awards, with Warr a finalist in its Seafood Champions category. 
After becoming increasingly despondent with the number of undersized fish he was catching, Warr built his new trawl gear, which allows smaller fish to swim free and can be adjusted to the type of fish being targeted that day.
Warr's trawl net, which he pioneered in his backyard, has been tested by NIWA who found it caught 10 to 40 percent less undersized and small flounder than the standard trawl net.
The caught fish was also commanding a higher price at the restaurants he sells to in Napier, Auckland and overseas.
Read more

The true value of recreational fishing

Newsroom (21 March) Dr Eric Crampton, head researcher at The New Zealand Initiative, has questioned the validity of a report commissioned by The New Zealand Marine Research Foundation.
The report, titled Recreational Fishing in New Zealand: A Billion Dollar Industry, claims that fishing generates $1.7 billion for the economy.
However, Dr Crampton said even if the figures are accurate it does not provide proof that the fish is more valuable on a recreational hook over a commercial one.
He also questioned parts of the reports methodology.
"Almost half of the reported economic impact comes from ‘multiplier effects’ as spending by fishers flows through to retailers, and on to their suppliers, and so on," he said.
"And counting fishers’ spending on groceries and restaurants during fishing trips as an economic impact of fishing, as the report does, only makes sense if fishers would not have eaten anything if they had stayed home."
Read more

Opinion: Salmon farm relocation plan in the spotlight

The Marlborough Express (March 22) New Zealand King Salmon chief executive Grant Rosewarne has laid out his case for re-locating six salmon farms in the Marlborough Sounds.
Rosewarne said under the proposed change, six farms, covering nine hectares, would be transferred from low-flow to high-flow sites, bringing significant improvements to the environment,.
"On a low-flow site we achieve a good environmental outcome relative to broad acre land animal farming but on a high-flow farm we can achieve a stunningly good outcome - using the Best Practice Management guidelines we can operate to a world-class environmental standard," he said.
Rosewarne also spoke of the improved outcomes for residents and the local economy, the move would provide.
"The king salmon species requires deep, high-flow, and cooler water conditions. Fortunately, high-flow sites, by their very nature, tend to be further away from holiday homes, recreational areas and people.
"The company projects that, over time, the relocation of the low-flow farms will generate an additional 300 jobs at King Salmon.
"That's a lot of families enjoying a top of the South lifestyle and all achieved while reducing the environmental impact of King Salmon's farms."
Read more

Australian Financial Review's Most Innovative Companies

Get your organisation recognised for its innovative attitude by entering the Australian Financial Review's Most Innovative Companies list.
The top 50 companies will feature in the AFR on September 20, providing exposure to 1.4 million readers.
Entering is simple, just register your company by clicking here.
Regardless of whether you rank or not, every entrant will receive an Innovation Audit report, which benchmarks your organisation’s performance against all other entrants.
The report also includes recommendations on how you can improve your innovation efforts.
If you have any questions, contact Ben Haydock, the list's manager, by clicking here.

Green Ribbon Awards

Entries have opened for the Ministry for the Environment's Green Ribbon Awards. 
The awards are a celebration of individuals, communities, organisations and companies who work to protect and manage New Zealand's environment. 
The categories are:
- Protecting our biodiversity
- Resilience to climate change
- Minimising our waste
- Caring for our water
- Protecting our coasts and oceans
- Business leadership
- Community leadership
- Leadership in communication and            education
- Kaitiaki leadership
- Philanthropy and partnership
Previous winners involving the seafood industry include Te Korowai o Te Tai o Marakura and Guardians of Fiordland Fisheries and Marine Environment.
Click here to enter and make sure your story is heard. Entries close May 10.