Seafood New Zealand Friday Update 27 May 2016



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

Captain's Blog


May 27, 2016 



MSC reaffirms New Zealand hoki meets international best practice 

The Marine Stewardship Council has reaffirmed New Zealand hoki fisheries meet international best practice in the face of a boycott call.
The German-based environmental group Nabu is targeting McDonald’s, which uses New Zealand hoki in its fish products, in an anti-fishing campaign over alleged lack of dolphin protection. This is despite the fact endangered Maui dolphins are not found in the deepwater hoki habitat.
McDonald’s has not buckled to what amounts to economic blackmail.
The global company has responded that the New Zealand hoki fishery is considered one of the best maintained and controlled fisheries in the world and was one of the first to be awarded MSC certification for sustainable fishing.
The Nabu action led by Dr Barbara Maas was timed to coincide with the release of the Simmons catch reconstruction report that claims massive dumping by the fishing industry since 1950.
The Sustainable Fisheries Partnership (SFP), an international non-profit organisation that advises major buyers on the sustainability of fisheries they source from, has attacked the campaign.
 “There is no connection between the situation of these dolphins and the McDonald’s business and attempts to link the two are simply dishonest,” SFP chief executive Jim Cannon said.
SFP fishery technical director Geoff Tingley was critical of the Simmons report. “The methods in the paper are questionable, but regardless of the methods, the paper is highly misleading in aggregating historical data and implying current performance is as bad,” he said.
“The study’s reliance on historical data skews its conclusion towards an allegation that the current problems of discards and waste are worse than they actually are.”
   The difficulty in having a sensible science-based discussion around the Simmons report is that the data and methods are so unclear.
  Further, the furore around the leaking of the Ministry for Primary Industries reports into discarding in the inshore fishery, referred to in the Simmons report, is giving credence to the deeply flawed catch reconstruction study.
  Dropping an outright lie about a Maui dolphin capture into a swirling mass of allegations has made for a tangled web that has had the fishing industry on the back foot, as intended.
On May 13 on the eve of the Simmons report’s release, Dr Maas issued a press release headed: Investigation reveals Maui’s dolphin death was suppressed.
That was forwarded to the BBC and other international news organisations and run uncritically.
The fact is the Nabu claim is a fiction. There is a dolphins capture incident referred to in the Simmons report, as Dr Maas warned there would be, but it refers to Hector’s dolphins, which are not at risk. The capture was investigated and recorded. A second capture could not be confirmed.
The question that should be being asked here is: How is that a publicly-funded institution in the form of Auckland University and publicly funded researchers are party to a campaign that besmirches, if not potentially sabotages, a vital export sector and all those who work in it? The university’s ethics committee should have something to say about that.
The Simmons report is deeply politicised, witness the collusion with Nabu.
It is part of an international project, the University of British Columbia-based Sea Around Us.
The overall project is headed by Dr Daniel Pauly, who has a clear anti-fishing bias, claiming the world’s oceans will have run out of fish by mid century.
The Simmons catch reconstruction report covering 61 years draws heavily on interviews with 300 subjects, all anonymous, 200 of whom were crews on foreign chartered vessels complaining about their treatment. That is a hopelessly biased sample.
The role of science is to put data before opinion, not the reverse.
What the report’s authors appear to have done is compile every instance of illegal or questionable behaviour they can find, extending even further back than the report’s supposed 1950 outer limit, and extrapolate that across the entire industry to buoy up their inflated figures.
Their bias is demonstrated in choosing to dismiss detailed studies by science provider NIWA going back to 1991 that showed the overall discard rate was 6.6 percent in the offshore fisheries where the bulk of fish are caught.
It is simply not credible to claim the actual catch rate is two to three times that recorded. That would equate to hundreds of thousands of tonnes, a sea of dead fish that could hardly go unnoticed.
Because they are so vulnerable in this respect, Simmons et al have now sought to discredit the NIWA findings. They claim the findings are not accurate because they “do not tell us how much was dumped when the observer was asleep”. This is desperate stuff. The fact is vessels that MPI deems need more scrutiny have two observers on board for 24-hour coverage.
Where the report does have some merit is in highlighting there are issues in the inshore fishery. That area deserves scrutiny.
The industry has been telling MPI for a number of years that discards policy, Total Allowable Commercial Catch settings and deemed values all need to be reviewed.
 The public is not generally aware MPI requires non-target species and undersized fish to be thrown back. That is a case of fishermen complying with the law, rather than breaking it.
Increased electronic monitoring of vessels announced by MPI Minister Nathan Guy this week will address the symptom but not the cause.
The Quota Management System has served us well for 30 years but we can agree with Simmons and co that it doesn’t provide all the answers.
What the QMS has built is a $1.7billion export industry that provides major investment and employment, particularly in regional New Zealand, and helps sustain this country’s high standard of living. That is being put at risk by the most concerted attack yet seen on the commercial fishing industry.
An independent, international review of the Simmons report is being commissioned.
But in the meantime there is no doubt New Zealand’s reputation is being unfairly damaged.

- Tim Pankhurst



2016 Canon Media Awards



Seafood New Zealand Environmental Photography Award

Underwater photojournalist Richard Robinson’s stunning image of a blue shark rearing up in front of him was shot on assignment for New Zealand Geographic magazine and won the Seafood New Zealand Environmental Photography Award at this year’s Canon Media Awards. Robinson also won the Best Photo Essay Slideshow award for a feature on Mako Sharks. 
Seafood New Zealand sponsors the award as part of its programme of activities to raise the profile of the industry’s commitment to the environment, says Chief Executive Tim Pankhurst.
“It’s also an ideal vehicle for building relationships with the media,” he says.




Fishing reporter Bill Moore
lifts anchor

Nelson Mail fishing reporter Bill Moore is moving on after 32 years with the newspaper.
Bill was editor of the paper for 10 years before returning to reporting as a senior writer.
He has always taken an interest in the fishing industry, which is Nelson’s biggest private employer, and earned respect for his coverage.
Bill worked on a North Sea oil rig before joining journalism via the reading room at the Mail.
He was never a soft touch but could always be relied on to report accurately and to diligently follow issues.
Bill never reported on the size of Kim Kardashian’s bum or any other of the trivial issues that dominate today’s digital offerings, being more of an old style journo who saw it as his role to inform his community.
We wish him well, not least chasing snapper and scallops in Tasman Bay.


In the Media




MSC refutes NZ overfishing claims

Intrafish News (May 24) reported on the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) refuting recent claims that the New Zealand hoki fishery was not complying with sustainable standards. MSC's written statement to Intrafish said that since the fishery's first certification, hoki population has more than doubled in New Zealand's Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), and the fishery had also taken measures to reduce impact on the seabed and bycatch of marine birds
and mammals.



Nabu's campaign based on inaccurate allegations

Nelson Mail (May 24) reported Seafood New Zealand chief executive Tim Pankhurst stating Nabu's campaign was based on inaccurate allegations. Maui's dolphins weren't found in the deep water where hoki is caught, Mr Pankhurst said. Conservation measures to prevent capture of the small dolphins were working, with no sightings or captures in 1961 observer days since 2012. 
"Nabu claimed a Maui dolphin death through fishing was suppressed. This is false. We invite them to correct the record. These unsubstantiated claims put at risk our $1.7 billion export industry and the 26,000 jobs it provides for New Zealanders." Read more




Sanford CEO Volker Kuntzsch


Sanford nearly doubles profit

Newshub (May 26) reported on Sanford, the country's largest listed fishing group, almost doubling its first-half profit as it focused on lifting values over volumes and benefited from lower fuel costs and a weaker New Zealand dollar.
Profit jumped to $18.8 million, or 20.1 cents per share, in the six months ended March 31, from $9.6 million, or 10.2 cents, a year earlier. Revenue from continuing operations edged up 1.3 percent to $215.6 million even as sales volumes sank about 20 per cent as the company extracted more value from its catch. Shares in Sanford rose 2.6 per cent to a month high of $5.85. Read more




Steve Geary, of Barnes Oysters, shucks oysters at the 2016 Bluff Oyster and Food Festival. Photo: Fairfax NZ


Celebrating Bluff oysters

Stuff (May 21) reported more than 5000 people from all over New Zealand made their way to the Bluff Oyster Festival, eating their way through about 20,000 oysters. Food stalls - with offerings of blue cod, stuffed mutton bird, curried rock lobster - and oyster opening and eating competitions kept festival goers entertained. Shane Wixon (Ngai Tahu) won the Men's (50 oysters) opening competition, finishing in 2 minutes 38 seconds, while Vic Pearsey (Barnes won the Ladies (50 oysters), finishing in 3 minutes 19 seconds. Read more



Queen's Counsel commissioned for independent review 

Ministry for Primary Industries (May 24) Martyn Dunne, Director-General, Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) announced that a Queen's Counsel, Michael Heron, had been commissioned to conduct the independent review into specific MPI operations and Terms of Reference informing the review had been approved. The review had been initiated on May 19. 
"The credibility of MPI is of utmost importance to its ability to successfully discharge its role as the regulator of fisheries in New Zealand," Mr Dunne said. 
Read MPI's full announcement
Read Terms of Reference



SeaCert changes - Have your say

Maritime NZ wants to hear from seafarers on proposed changes to the SeaCert framework to make it easier and cheaper for some seafarers with older certificates to continue working. One proposal is to “ring-fence” some older tickets to allow seafarers to continue using them. Other proposed rule changes include removing the need for seafarers with Able Seaman certificates to transition to SeaCert, and no longer requiring ratings to renew certificates every five years.  
Click here for consultation info
Public consultation meetings (all meetings start at 6pm unless stated):

  • Whangarei – Monday 30 May, Forum North, 7 Rust Avenue.
  • Tauranga – Tuesday 31 May, Tauranga Yacht & Power Boat Club, 90 Keith Allen Drive.
  • Gisborne – Wednesday June 1, The Whitehouse, 69 Peel Street.
  • Christchurch (Feds Conference) - Friday 3 June 2016, Rydges Latimer Hotel, 30 Latimer Square, 8.30am.




NZFCF Conference 2016

This year's New Zealand Federation of Commercial Fishermen Conference will be hosted by the Lyttelton Association and held at the Rydges Latimer, Christchurch. Check the conference programme by clicking button below. 
Thursday, June 2, 2016
30, Latimer Square, Christchurch 8011




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