Seafood New Zealand Friday Update 6 November 2015

 

 


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

Tim Pankhurst's Captain's Blog
Friday, November 6, 2015

 

 

Good news for New Zealand's seafood sustainability

It's official - New Zealand fish stocks are in good heart. That is confirmed by an independent environmental stocktake released last month by the Ministry for the Environment and Statistics New Zealand.
The report, Environment Aotearoa 2015, finds that commercial fisheries are sustainably managed and overfishing has markedly decreased.
Between 2009 and 2014, the proportion of fish stocks subject to overfishing decreased from 25 percent to 14 percent. The great bulk of fish – 95 percent – was caught from stocks that are not overfished.
“The proportion of assessed New Zealand stocks subject to overfishing is half that of the estimated percentage worldwide – 14 percent for New Zealand, compared with 28.8 percent worldwide (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, 2014).”
Bottom trawling impacting on the seafloor habitat has also been decreasing.
From 1997 to 2014 the number of trawl tows reported each year decreased more than 50 percent. The number of dredge tows fell by 83 percent in the same period.
“In 2010/11 deepwater fishing operators trawled 1.3 percent (53,031 square kilometres) of the territorial sea and EEZ. Trawling mainly occurs in the same areas each year, which limits the extent of newly affected habitat and species (Black & Tilney, 2015).
“The extent of seabed trawled for the first time , where the potential for damage is greatest, has been decreasing each year since 2007. Similarly, the overall area trawled each year has been decreasing since 2002/03, except in 2010/11 when a larger area was trawled than in the previous year (Black & Tilney, 2015).”
This is good news for anyone concerned about the environment and sustainability and has been accordingly widely celebrated.
Well, actually, no. 
The limited media reporting centred on dirty dairying, poor water quality and threatened species.
Green MP Eugenie Sage, interviewed by Paul Henry, called it “a biodiversity crisis” and could not bring herself to agree with the proposition that fishing was a bright spot, as noted by Environment Minister Nick Smith at the report’s launch at Parliament.
Instead she centred on “the tens of thousands of albatrosses dying each year”, attributed to the impacts of fishing.
This is simply untrue and is not borne out by the report.
What it does say is that in the 12 years to 2013/14 the estimated number of seabirds caught each year in fishing gear fell from 7280 to 4380.
“This decrease may be partly due to the fishing industry using bird scaring devices and other measures to prevent bycatch.”
That is quite right.
The fishing industry through Seafood New Zealand co-funds and participates in the Southern Seabirds Solutions Trust, an alliance with Government, World Wildlife Fund, Te Ohu Kaimoana and recreational fishers.
The estimated seabird mortality is still too high but it is a tiny fraction of the vast numbers of seabirds in our waters.
Anyone who has ever seen a deepwater trawl come up knows it is seabird central out there.
The bycatch is demonstrably less than “tens of thousands” and of the actual figure, albatrosses make up a small percentage. It is petrels and shearwaters, present in their hundreds of thousands, that are the main bycatch.
In comparison, the  number of sooty shearwaters (muttonbirds) harvested every year under customary rights sees as many as 360,000 birds  taken from offshore islands, nearly 100 times the estimated fishing mortality total.
The report does not mention that and neither do the Greens.
The report does say the bycatch of protected species including sea lions, fur seals and dolphins is decreasing but remains a threat.
Maui's dolphins have extensive protections in place, including set netting bans in more than 6000 square kilometres of coastal waters and observers on board.
There have been no verified deaths of Maui dolphins in set or trawl nets since 2002.
That did not stop no doubt well meaning but misguided protesters last weekend calling for a boycott of fish ‘n’ chips on the spurious grounds the fish was caught in gillnets that endangered dolphins.
Raglan fisherman Matt Holl responded the campaign was based on ignorance and prejudice. Not to mention bullying.
Which once again confirms there are none so blind as those who will not see.
Or as The Bible’s Old Testament put it: Hear now this, O foolish people, and without understanding; which have eyes, and see not; which have ears and hear not. (Jeremiah 5:21)
Amen to that.

 

 

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In the Media

 

 

 

Mussel farm game-changer for
Bay of Plenty says Minister Joyce

Radio New Zealand (October 30) reported on Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce saying a large mussel farm off the eastern Bay of Plenty could be a game-changer for the region by creating a few hundred jobs and bringing millions of dollars into the local economy. 
The report said plans to build the 3800ha farm 6km off Opotiki were well under way.
Click here for full story

 

 

China seafood expo showcases Maori-owned seafood companies 

Xinhua News (November 4) reported on New Zealand's Maori-owned seafood companies looking for more collaboration with Chinese partners to enter the Chinese market. A delegation of Maori-owned seafood companies, led by Maori Development Minister Te Ururoa Flavell are currently in Qingdao to exhibit at the China Fisheries and Seafood Expo. Minister Flavell said the represented companies manage 40
per cent of New Zealand's commercial fish quota.
Click here for full report
Link to Minister Flavell's media release

 

 

Cawthron Foundation launched 

Radio New Zealand (November 3) reported on the launch of the Cawthron Foundation to address environmental challenges in New Zealand. The foundation sets out to raise donations, bequests, and endowments towards public-good science, as well as scholarships to support talented emerging scientists. It will be overseen by an independent trust board chaired by Dr Morgan Williams – current chair of World Wide Fund for Nature in New Zealand and former Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment. 
Click here to listen to the story

 

 

 

Thomas Hildebrand first marine biologist at Ngai Tahu Seafood 

Stuff (October 31) reported on Thomas Hildebrand becoming the first marine biologist to work for Ngai Tahu Seafood. The 25-year-old University of Canterbury graduate started working for Ngai Tahu Seafood in March this year after completing his master's thesis in marine biology in 2014. Born and bred in Bluff, Hildebrand grew up around the seafood industry as his father was a commercial paua diver.
Click here for full report

 

 

 

Marathon effort by Minister Guy

Our fleet-footed Minister for Primary Industries, Nathan Guy, who completed the New York Marathon at the weekend along with ACC Minister Nikki Kaye, was featured in The Dominion Post this week. Minister Guy said he was pleased to see and cross the finish line at 3 hours and 56 minutes. “What an amazing event with an estimated 3 million people cheering the New York marathon runners on. It is the biggest marathon in the world with 137 countries represented and many people running for different charities. 
“We were part of the New Zealand CatWalk Team raising money for
spinal cord research, which is a very important cause,” he said.

 

 

Southland Seafood Industry Dinner  

This year's dinner will have two guest speakers from across the ditch, who will speak about the boom, bust and rebuild of the West Australia rock lobster fishery and industry. John McMath, CEO, West Australia Rock Lobster Industry Council and Wayne Hosking, CEO, Geraldton Fishermen’s Co-op.
Friday, November 27, 6.30pm onwards at the Ascot Park Hotel, Invercargill.
Tickets $65 each (drinks extra). Contact Malcolm Lawson on 0272090762 (cra8@xtra.co.nz) or Graeme Wright on 0272219320 (graeme.wright@barnesoysters.co.nz).