Seafood New Zealand Friday Update 7 August 2015



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

Friday, August 7, 2015


Snapper loss - Telling it like it is

Late last week a number of dead snapper were found floating on the sea near the Hen and Chicken Islands off the North Auckland coast.
Such a sight is upsetting, particularly when it’s highly prized snapper.
Not surprisingly, the finger was pointed at the commercial sector and opponents were quick to condemn.
The Ministry for Primary Industries was alerted and was quick to respond.
Compliance director Dean Baigent chartered a plane from Ardmore, which flew out to the scene and recorded six commercial boats in the area and their positions.
Fisheries staff also went out by boat from Gulf Harbour and boarded and inspected one of the boats, including checking its GPS plotter to track its movements.
But the explanation was at hand.
A Danish seiner contracted to Aotearoa Fisheries Limited had an accident with its fishing gear.
A log had become entangled in the net, it was too big and awkward to be brought on board and the only option was to cut a hole in the net.
In the process some fish were lost.
The crew scooped up as many as possible in the dark.
An estimate of those that could not be gathered was made, allowed for in the catch effort return and reported to MPI.
Those lost fish come off the boat’s quota – they are not additional catch.
Dean Baigent told Friday Update this morning the loss appeared to be from a genuine accident and the veracity of that was being tested.
He said he was really encouraged by the self reporting of industry on this matter.
His approach epitomises MPI’s dual role – to prosecute infringements but also to protect the rights of fishermen where they are acting legally.
It is a case of hats off all round – to the divers and recreational fishers who reported the dead fish, to MPI for quickly investigating, to the boat concerned for self-reporting the lost fish, to Carl Carrington and Aotearoa Fisheries Limited for their strong stance against fish dumping or high grading and to the media, for not beating up a non-story.
On Facebook a Joe Healey said: Correct me if I’m wrong on how this works. The boat that caught those fish didn’t have quota for them so rather than pay the deemed value on them, which is higher than the company he fishes for pays him, he dumps the fish, rather than basically pay a fine?
Yep, happy to correct you Joe. That was clearly not the case.
Neither was it the case in February this year when gurnard were found floating off Raglan.
That incident did draw a lot of publicity but the boat concerned had reported some lost catch and, again, this was recorded against its quota and MPI was satisfied.
Industry reputation and building public trust are recognised by the commercial sector as critical.
There is undeniable tension between the commercial and recreational sectors but significant advances are being made around monitoring of vessels, catch recording and fishing practices that will help demonstrate the industry has nothing to hide.




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In the Media



Respecting each other in a
shared fishery

The Northern Advocate (August 6) published an editorial about the need for commercial and recreational fishers to get along in a shared fishery. Editor Craig Cooper's article was written in response to a letter from a reader after last week's snapper loss accident off the Whangarei Harbour. "Recreational and commercial fishers need to get along. As a recreational fisher, I sincerely hope our fishery is big enough for both parties to share," Cooper wrote. 
Click here for the full report.




Opotiki mussel farming potential

Bay of Plenty Times (August 5) reported on Eastern Sea Farms, an offshore mussel farm development in Opotiki and its potential for the region. Eastern Sea Farms, owned by the Whakatohea Maori Trust Board, is the only offshore mussel farm in New Zealand. The report quoted Board Chief Executive Dickie Farrar saying the farm had the potential to be the country's largest. "It has the potential to be the biggest mussel farm in New Zealand. The mussels are very clear, with exceptional colour and the taste is just unbelievable. But what we're focused on at the moment is ensuring we catch spat," Farrar said.
Click here for the full report.




Industry gets ready to mark
World Maritime Day

Scoop (July 31) reported on the New Zealand maritime industry focusing on education and training for “NZ Careers at Sea” to celebrate World Maritime Day on September 24. A cross sector maritime industry group is organising a week of activities from September 21-27. This includes ship and port visits and updated career information for careers advisors to encourage secondary students into a maritime career. World Maritime Day is promoted by the International Maritime Organisation and this year’s theme is Maritime Education and Training.
Click here for more information.



SPATnz wins MFA's research and development award 

Shellfish Production and Technology Ltd New Zealand (SPATnz) scooped the Marine Farmers' Association (MFA) Research & Development award at its annual dinner last Friday. SPATnz's hatchery technician Ellie Kerrisk won the MFA's New Entrant award. The research and development award was in recognition of SPATnz's work to develop methods to consistently produce mussel spat at large scale and aiming to breed good performing mussels that can be grown and harvested year round. The organisation recently built a pilot scale mussel hatchery at the Cawthron Aquaculture Park at The Glen, near Nelson. (Photo: Cawthron Institute)


Hatchery technician Ellie Kerrisk at work for SPATnz at the Cawthron Aquaculture Park near Nelson.