Seafood New Zealand Friday Update 3 February 2017

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

Captain's Blog

February 3, 2017 

Future Of Our Fisheries

 The Quota Management System has served the country’s fisheries well but it does have gaps and can be improved.
   That is the central thrust of the industry’s response to the current review of the Fisheries Act.
   Submissions were sought in 2015, the Ministry for Primary Industries took a year to digest those and sought further responses to a discussion document, the Future Of Our Fisheries (FOOF).
   However, while the industry is approaching the review in a positive light, there is one area of major concern that is at the nub of fisheries management.
  When the review was announced, the rights associated with quota ownership that underpin the QMS and Treaty rights enshrined in the 1992 Maori Fisheries Settlement were ruled out of scope.
  It is disappointing, if not alarming, to see aspects of the review clearly breach this intent.
  That is embodied in a proposal to forcibly re-set management targets and reallocate catch shares.
   Value is eroded where rights are insecure.
  The motive for the proposed arbitrary catch reallocations in shared fisheries was presumably to provide for the increasing demands of the recreational sector centred on Auckland.
But anything that undermines hard fought rights enshrined in law, and indeed in the country’s fabric, are simply not tenable and will be resisted.
  This distraction needs to be removed so that we can make progress on a number of issues, ideally to the benefit all parties in a shared fishery.
  There is no dispute from the fishing industry that operational issues such as discarding need to be addressed. In this regard it is heartening that MPI has agreed to review policies and settings and incentives.
  The solutions should include development of inshore fisheries management plans. There is inadequate Crown funding of research to assess the status of these stocks; most have not been scientifically reviewed for a decade or more.
  Is it any wonder that the system struggles when fish stocks increase and catch limits are not adjusted accordingly? The situation is exacerbated when deemed values, the sum paid to the Crown where excess fish are landed, are so out of kilter in some cases, it is uneconomic for such fish to be landed.
  There is also a clear need to improve measurement and management of recreational fishing. The system is currently lopsided, with commercial and customary catch reported comprehensively, while surveying of recreational catch is infrequent and inadequate.
  Allocations for the recreational sector should be confirmed based on current catch and those limits should be actively managed in the same manner as the Total Allowable Commercial Catches. Any increases or decreases due to sustainability considerations should be proportional across the recreational and commercial sectors so that there is shared gain and shared restraint where necessary. 
  Restraint based on science is well established in the commercial sector and was evidenced again this week when Gisborne rock lobster fishers supported a 23-tonne reduction in the catch, equivalent to 9 percent of the quota, to maintain stocks.
   “The aim is to maintain a high abundance level, so when the procedure signals a cut, we are fine with that,” Tairawhiti Rock Lobster Industry Association chair Gordon Halley said.
   If there is to be any adjustment of allocations between the commercial and recreational sectors, a framework should be in place for this to occur through market mechanisms.
  The Fisheries Act has not undergone major review since 1996, a generation ago. That said, it is not broken and it remains world-leading. What is needed is policy to ensure the QMS operates more effectively, and enhancements that build upon, not erode, the core elements that have been the cornerstone of our success to date.
  The seafood sector wants to make the most of the review  opportunity and is fully supportive of some aspects of FOOF, such as enabling innovative harvest technologies.
  There is considerable potential to deliver on the Business Growth Agenda by delivering more value through industry management, reducing excessive regulation and enhancing regional economic growth, whilst securing long-term, sustainable fisheries.

Gone Fishin' to visit Kaikoura

Gone Fishin' will be airing two episodes on post-earthquake Kaikoura when the show kicks off for its 24th season later this month.
The episodes will be on TV3 at 4.30pm, February 24 and March 5.
Tune in to see the dramatic changes to a special part of New Zealand's coastline.
Send us your pics
Because we reckon we have some of the most interesting, if not photogenic, faces in any industry in the country, we are putting the call out to ask you to share your work day with us.
We want to show the human face of the industry on social media like Facebook and Twitter.
We want pics of the day-to-day activities across all parts of the industry. You are working in places that few people will ever have the chance to see.
Send us photographs of the crew eating lunch at 200 nautical miles, high seas, calm seas, or of the orca pod that followed you into port.
Send us pics of the line-up of white gumboots as the factory shift starts, or the workers sitting around at smoko.
And send us images of the vessels tied up, the cleaning down, and the unloading. We would love to see a bunch of you having a beer after work.
They don’t have to be flash. Cell phone photographs are fine.
We just want to show everyone that this is an industry of dads, mums, brothers and sisters doing awesome work out there.
Text or email the pics to Lesley telling us who it is (just first name ok) and where it is.
Just text Lesley on 027 490 1345 or email her at
Rotorua Summer Seafood Festival
The Rotorua Summer Seafood Festival took place on January 29, with Dave Dobbyn and Masterchef winners Kasey and Karena Bird the stars of the show. 
Organised by Te Arawa Fisheries, there was kina, paua, mussels and great weather all day to keep everyone who showed up happy.
Read more

In the Media

Illegal cray take a 'disaster'

The Gisborne Herald (1 February) Gisborne rock lobster fishers have said they are "fine" with a 23 tonne cut to the annual commercial catch for CRA3.
However, they are concerned about the 89 tonnes estimated to be caught illegally in the Gisborne fishery.
Chairman of Tairawhiti Rock Lobster Industry Association Gordon Halley said the illegal take had not changed since 2002.
“Why is MPI still estimating 89 tonnes of illegal catch? To me that should be embarrassing but to them it seems OK," Halley said.
The reduction in TACC is valued at $1.7 million. 
Read more

Massive haul of undersized paua seized on Wellington coastline

NZ Herald (31 January) Three fisheries officers seized nearly 300 illegal paua on the Wellington coast last weekend.
The officers saw two men shucking the paua at Green Pt, south of Titahi Bay, with all but one being undersized.
Ministry for Primary Industries area manager Mike Green said the catch showed people are still breaking the law despite MPI officers patrolling the coastline constantly.
"This sort of blatant illegal behaviour is really disappointing," Green said. 
Read more

Scientists hopeful about albatross numbers

NZ Herald (30 January) Scientists are back from the sub-antarctic Auckland Islands after completing the annual census of the white-capped albatross.
With an estimated 95 percent of the white-capped albatross population breeding on the Island chain, it is an important survey for the endemic bird.
Richard Wells, of Deepwater Group, said the results would be reported by DoC in the coming months, but that he expected the numbers to be similar to previous years.
"White-capped albatross are renowned for quite large changes in birds actually breeding in any one year and it is birds actually sitting on an egg that are counted to give an index of the population," Wells said. 
Read more
Read Seafood New Zealand's press release

Demand for New Zealand king salmon on the rise

TVNZ (2 February) Sea lice infestations are decimating king salmon farms in the northern hemisphere, creating a rise in demand for New Zealand's premium product and leaving industry bracing for an aquaculture boom.
Luckily king salmon in New Zealand have a natural defence against the parasite that has pushed up salmon prices worldwide.
New Zealand King Salmon chief executive Grant Rosewarne said with volume unable to keep up with demand, prices will continue to rise. 
Watch more


There are a variety of consultations occurring with MPI currently. These include:
  • Proposed changes for the sustainability measures for 3 rock lobster fisheries: CRA3 (Gisborne), CRA4 (Hawkes Bay/Wellington) and CRA7 (Otago).
  • Proposed changes for the sustainability measures for two southern blue whiting stocks (SBW1 and SBWBP)
  • Extension of the Kaikoura shellfish ban through to November 20, 2017.
  • Increasing the minimum commercial blue cod pot mesh size in the BCO5 area (Southland including Fiordland, and Stewart, Campbell and Antipodes islands).
  • Patuharakeke Te Iwi Trust Board have requested a two-year temporary closure at Mair Bank and Marsden Bank (Marsden Point) to the take of all shellfish.
  • Relocation of six salmon farms in the Marlborough Sounds.
To make a submission on these issues or to find out more information, click here.