Seafood New Zealand Friday Update 5 February 2016



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

February 5, 2016


Captain's Blog


Proposed Marine Protected Areas legislation cause for concern

 We all support marine conservation.
 Fishers – commercial and recreational – are conservationists who want to see our precious marine resources protected.
 It is the ad hoc way the Government is going about enacting that protection that is causing concern.
 The proposed Marine Protected Areas legislation that has been gestating for nearly 18 months appears to have pleased no one.
 A major sticking point is that recreational fishing parks contained within the policy, announced without warning by Prime Minister John Key in the 2014 election campaign, are not marine protected areas.
 What they are is a sop to Auckland voters but even the recreational fishing lobby the policy is aimed at is not convinced.
 The two proposed parks are in the Hauraki Gulf and the Marlborough Sounds and would largely exclude commercial fishing.
 According to the Government’s own consultation document, the fishing parks are intended to enhance the enjoyment and value of recreational fishing, not to protect marine biodiversity. They are a clear statement that recreational fishing is seen as being of more value than commercial. As Minister for Primary Industries Nathan Guy said, the Government is promoting the two parks because “it’s hugely important that mum and dad and the kids are able to catch a fish”. 
 As Fisheries Inshore chief executive Dr Jeremy Helson responded, “it’s difficult to reconcile encouraging people to get out and catch more fish with better protection of marine biodiversity”. 
 What everyone needs is sustainably managed, abundant fisheries. And that is a fisheries management issue, not a marine protection issue.
 Forest & Bird, usually no fan of industrial fishing, agrees.
 “Recreational fishing parks are not a marine protection tool,” marine advocate Anton van Helden said. “They are a fisheries management tool and have no place in marine protected areas legislation.”
 The New Zealand Sport Fishing Council, the New Zealand Angling and Casting Association and LegaSea agree.
 “Recreational fishing parks push commercial effort into someone else’s front yard,” they said in their response to MPI’s current operational review of fisheries management. “This domino effect of serial depletion is ignored by those promoting measures for political gain.”
 Te Ohu Kaimoana chair Jamie Tuuta warned that favouring recreational over commercial fishing in  inshore areas was not a sustainability issue and “the removal of rights to satisfy political demands will face legitimate opposition from Maori”. 
 The Paua Industry Council said today that if the Government is serious about protecting marine biodiversity in the Sounds it should address the impacts of land-based activities such as deforestation and siltation on water quality and ecosystems. It also asked how the proposed park fitted in with a local cross-sector forum,  Marlborough Marine Futures. Surely a local group representing all local interests was the best way to develop a plan for the Sounds?
 The Environmental Defence Society, Pew Foundation, World Wildlife Fund and Forest & Bird are all critical that the proposed legislation extends only to the territorial sea 12-mile limit, rather than into the 200-mile EEZ.
 The Government explanation is that it wishes to protect petroleum and mining interests.
  Environment Minister Nick Smith has so far been dismissive of fishing industry concerns, while Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy, whose brief under the Fisheries Act which he administers is to maximise utilisation of fisheries resources while ensuring sustainability, seems content to let his colleague make the running.
 The Government has also failed to engage on a detailed submission from industry seeking a collaborative approach on the Kermadec Ocean Sanctuary announced in September last year.
 That proposal includes the removal of quota rights without consultation or compensation and is based on the spurious grounds the closure is to ensure “sustainability”, when no sustainability issues have been investigated or advanced.
 That is two king hits within a matter of several months.
 It is no wonder the seafood industry is feeling nervous about protection of its property rights and the potential undermining of the Quota Management System that is the foundation of fisheries management.
 It is instructive to review the parliamentary debate when the current Fisheries Act was introduced in 1996.
Labour’s Graham Kelly was concerned that fisheries legislation be used for political purposes. “Let me give an example,” he said.” It is getting close to an election and recreational fishers argue that there are not enough fish for them. The minister says he will close to commercial fishing part of an area next to a high population area. He will exclude all those other than recreationists, thereby altering the way in which the area is fished – the commercial people would be shut out. My view is that a Minister who thought he or she could get away with that would not last very long. That Minister would be caught out, even if it was after the election.”
 How prescient.

Tim Pankhurst


In the Media



New directors on Sealord's Board

Scoop (February 4) Aotearoa Fisheries Ltd (AFL) director Craig Ellison and chairman Whaimutu Dewes will be new directors on Sealord's Board, starting March 1. Dewes will also take up the role of Chairman of the Sealord Board. AFL's other appointed director, Sealord chairman, Matanuku Mahuika, will remain on the Sealord Board until November 30, 2016. Dewes and Ellison will replace current Sealord directors Keith Sutton and Bob Major. AFL is making changes to its appointed directors to Sealord Group Limited in order to have a complete alignment of its appointees with its own board. Read more



AFL chairman Whaimutu Dewes will also take up the role of chairman of the Sealord Board.



TOKM casts net for new CEO

Radio Waatea (February 3) reported on Te Ohu Kaimoana looking for a new chief executive. The report said chief executive Peter Douglas will leave the organisation in March to take up a role with government. Te Ohu Kaimoana chairman Jamie Tuuta said Douglas developed a process that brought iwi quickly through what was needed to become mandated iwi organisations and receive their share of settlement assets. Read more




Seaweek 2016 Ocean Champion 

Scoop (February 1) New Zealand Association for Environmental Education Seaweek has opened voting for the Seaweek “Ocean Champion” for 2016. Voting will run until February 26. The seven nominations received this year represent a mixture of individuals and organisations, from children to senior scientists, community organisations, activists and volunteers. The winner will be announced during Seaweek and will receive a prize of $500 donated by the New Zealand Coastal Society. Read more
Vote now!





Siupeli Tongotongo of the Auckland Fish Market won the Primary ITO Golden Knife Fish Filleting competition for the second year running.


Auckland Seafood Festival

(January 29 - February 1) Seafood lovers in their thousands celebrated the local seafood industry at the ASB Auckland Seafood Festival over the Auckland Anniversary Weekend.
As well as fresh fish, the festival showcased New Zealand’s aquaculture industry with a wide range of shellfish including oysters, mussels, scallops, prawns and for the first time, farmed abalone from Oceanz Blue Abalone.
The Primary ITO Golden Knife Fish Filleting completion was won again by last year’s title holder Siupeli Tongotongo from Sanford, Sitiveni Kakala, also from Sanford was second and Lani Vatuvei third.

Media coverage for the festival
Stuff - Treat for oyster lovers
TVNZ - Max Bania at the festival
TVNZ - Auckland Seafood School's Jo Cooper talks all about cooking and storing seafood



First Rotorua seafood fest a hit

Maori TV (January 31) reported that last week's inaugural Rotorua Summer Seafood Festival was a hit with over 1000 tickets sold. The festival's main backers were Te Arawa Fisheries Group and local Rotorua businesses. Read more