Seafood New Zealand Friday Update 26 August 2016

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

Captain's Blog

August 26, 2016 

Discards policy review needed
before cameras

Imagine if cameras were placed in every home in the country.
 They would undoubtedly capture some bad behaviours but they would not solve underlying problems.
 That needs a range of measures to address the causes.
 Putting cameras on boats to address discarding of non-target or undersized fish will not be an instant fix either. As a society we understand that it is far better to address the causes of difficult social problems than to simply monitor those undesirable outcomes; so too in fisheries. 
 Like every other fishing country, New Zealand is grappling with the challenge of managing discards, harvested fish and aquatic life that is returned to the sea.
 Visiting US academic Anastasia Telesetsky, attached to the Ministry for Primary Industries under a New Zealand Government fellowship in honour of eminent astrophysicist Sir Ian Axford, has ventured into these vexatious waters.
 She presented a research paper in Wellington this week titled: Fishing for the Future: Addressing Fisheries Discards and Increasing Export Value for New Zealand’s Sustainable Fisheries, that is a useful addition to a complex debate.
  “The discarding of fish is a major threat to the New Zealand fishing industry because of its potential to undermine the integrity of the quota management system if the discarding is not reported and factored into the cap set by the total allowable catch,”  Telesetsky wrote. She found that “overall, the trend of reducing actual numbers of discards from the New Zealand industry has been positive”.
   Her report said that in the deepwater fisheries, where the bulk of the total catch is made, the percentage of discards is “quite low”.
  “ The bycatch rate and discard rate for deepwater QMS species between 2008 and 2013 has been further reduced with vessels catching approximately 9.3 percent QMS bycatch but only discarding out of the total catch 1.1 percent of QMS species.”
  She attributed this marked decline to “a combination of better fisheries management plans, observer coverage and a change in the deepwater fishing culture.
  “This general trend is encouraging as reflected in a 2016 report released by MPI which found that the majority of stocks with known status were not overfished.”
  Telesetsky noted discard practices did vary among fisheries and it was more of an issue in the inshore fishery.
  She said Auckland University’s catch reconstruction report for 1950-2010 (Simmons) concluded the actual catch might be 2.7 times that recorded “is disputed by international fisheries scientists, MPI fisheries managers and MPI fisheries scientists”.
   Discarding and dumping are negative practices in the public mind but what is not understood is that all undersized quota species are required by law to be returned to the sea. By doing so, fishermen are observing the law, not breaking it.
  Those discards are factored into the Total Allowable Commercial Catch, they are not additional to it.
  What is illegal is discarding QMS species above any minimum legal size, a practice not condoned by the industry.
  The various incentives for this illegal discarding need to be addressed.
  Anastasia Telesetsky’s conclusion is that “to support both the objective of sustainable fisheries and the continuation of a commercial fishery in New Zealand, MPI must design a discard policy that reflects both the current realities of commercial fishing and the aspiration that all fish caught in New Zealand waters become part of an economic value chain.
  “Before electronic monitoring is implemented, MPI must make important decisions about how it intends to handle future discard incidents. Will New Zealand attempt to implement a full discard ban such as that in the European Union and risk potential bankruptcy of some portions of the fishing industry which cannot afford to land fish with low or no value. Or will New Zealand recognise some threshold of legal operational discarding that will not have cumulative impacts on marine resources? 
  “For the electronic monitoring system to be a success in enhancing data collection for fisheries management, MPI will need some degree of credible buy-in from the fishing community. This social policy aspect of implementing new technology should not be ignored in the rush to implement.
  “Since the introduction of the QMS, New Zealand’s fisheries management system has improved the abundance of many commercial stocks. Addressing the remaining data gaps associated with existing discard practices will further strengthen the fisheries management system.”
   There is, of course, another major gap in fisheries management, which is not addressed in the Telesetsky paper, and that is compulsory catch reporting in the recreational sector where fishing effort is increasing and discarding and high grading is common.

- Tim Pankhurst
Seafood Industry Conference
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In the Media

Delivering New Zealand's positive reputation to the world

New Zealand Story's latest blog post by director Rebecca Smith talks about how seriously New Zealanders take their role as Kaitiaki (guardians) and how this also contributes to the country's positive international reputation. Smith says Kaitiaki is a key value promoted by New Zealand Story because it is based on real, tangible actions the country has taken in the past as well as present.
"Thirty per cent of New Zealand's Exclusive Economic Zone is protected from bottom fishing and our Fishing Quota System is seen as best practice and admired around the world.
"Our actions and behaviours will deliver more positive reputational value than any advertising campaign can ever achieve." Read full blog post

Listen to Rebecca Smith speak about maintaining and building reputation at the NZ Seafood Industry Conference on August 31.

Stark Bros' Endeavour set for launch

Stark Bros' new fishing trawler - the FV Endeavour - is set for launch on August 30. The 17.2-metre steel trawler, weighing 125 tonnes, has been designed and built by Stark Bros in their Lyttelton ship building facility for Ocean Fisheries Ltd. Stark Bros Chief Executive Andrew Stark said the vessel is a multi-million dollar investment in the inshore fishing industry, a sector providing the vast majority of New Zealand’s fresh fish, promoting fresh, sustainable, wild caught, restaurant quality fish for New Zealand and the world.
"The FV Endeavour is as you would expect state of the art, developed from the strong boat building and inshore fishing knowledge the Starks have amassed in 58 years of boat building and 49 years of inshore fishing," Stark said.
The vessel, equipped to fish in depths from 10 to 500 metres, includes an onboard salt water ice maker, computer controlled split hydraulic winches with auto scrolling, and a suite of electronics including Marport Trawl Catch Sensors. 
Official launching ceremony: Lyttelton Port at 3pm on August 30

New Zealand Aquaculture Conference 2016

Four more weeks until the 2016 New Zealand Aquaculture Conference. This year's conference will be held over three days. 
September 27: Research day, 9am – 5pm.
September 28: Technical day, 9am – 5 pm.
September 29: Conference, 8.30am – 4.45pm; cocktail function, 6.30pm – 10pm.
Book now to secure your spot or view Conference Agenda.
Rutherford Hotel, Nelson

Correction: Mataitai reserve amended after fishers' concerns

Last week's Friday Update reported on a news story about amendments to a mataitai reserve proposal in Timaru. The photo with the news item was incorrectly captioned. The person in the photo is Arowhenua Runanga chairman John Henry and not commercial fisherman Gordon Mitchell. The error is regretted.
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