Seafood New Zealand Friday Update - 9 December 2016

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

Captain's Blog

December 9, 2016
New Zealand Orange roughy certified as sustainable
  The deepwater fishery has landed one of its biggest catches – the international sustainability tick for orange roughy.
  The Marine Stewardship Council announced overnight in London it had accorded certification for three key New Zealand orange roughy fisheries.
  That means those fisheries, two on the Chatham Rise and a third to the west on the Challenger Plateau, now carry the MSC ecolabel, the international gold standard of sustainable fishing.
  It has been an exhaustive process that began in mid-2014, undertaken by an independent team of experts that considered input from all stakeholders, including environmental NGOs opposed to the certification.
  “Our management approach has been substantially revised from the early years and is now very precautionary,” Deepwater Group chief executive George Clement said.
  “To ensure the long-term productivity of this fishery, for every 100 adult orange roughy in New Zealand waters, we harvest less than five each year, leaving at least 95 to ensure that these stocks remain healthy for the future.”
  Mr Clement has been involved with the fishery since its inception in the early 1980s and oversaw the development of sophisticated new scientific techniques to measure and assess stock sizes.
  That included an Acoustic Optical System developed by Australia’s Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research that allows roughy to be studied in their habitat a kilometre deep to accurately assess populations sizes and set appropriate catch levels.
  Catches peaked at around 54,000 tonnes in the 1980s but are now a fraction of that, at around 8000 tonnes.
  The three fisheries awarded the MSC tick represent about two thirds of the total orange roughy catch.
  The species is prized as fillets in the US market and as a whole fish in China, which has become the premium market.
  Orange roughy provides the country with $60 million in export earnings annually, of a total seafood export market that has recently risen to $1.8 billion.
  Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy said the long awaited  third party verification was an exciting announcement.
  “This is our fifth fishing stock now (after hoki, ling, southern blue whiting and hake) that has been certified. What it means is for all our international consumers, and domestic as well, that they now know that our fishing stocks here in New Zealand are well managed. It’s about sustainability, traceability and making sure that consumers know that we are doing a huge amount in terms of looking after our fishing species and stock sustainability.
  “We can put our hand on heart and prove to the world that we are managing our fishing stocks sustainably and this is really exciting news.
  “Orange roughy is worth a huge amount to the New Zealand economy and that money flows through to New Zealand jobs. It’s about regional development as well, all the people that do the hard work on these fishing vessels getting the premium product to markets around the world.
  “They’ll be delighted in this news today.”
  The MSC Fishery Standard is founded on three principles – healthy fish stocks, minimising impact on the wider marine environment, and effective fishery management.
  MSC Asia Pacific director Patrick Caleo said “this certification signals to the world that collaboration among industry, Maori iwi leaders, government, scientists and other interest groups has the power to improve the health of fish stocks and ensure their sustainability.
  “We believe that rewarding positive change through our certification programme and ecolabels is essential if we are to ensure healthy oceans.”
  The NGOs that have invested so much in opposing orange roughy fishing have predictably attacked the MSC and the process that they were happy to support when it suited them.
  “Now, as we understand more about the impacts of fishing, along with increasing demand for sustainable seafood, more fishing operations are changing for the better,” Mr Caleo said in response.
  “They’re recovering their fish stocks, reducing their impacts and putting better management in place. That means that some fisheries with bad reputations are becoming sustainable.
  “There are some people who will say that certain fisheries can never be sustainable whatever they do. They’re wrong.
  “With orange roughy, the certified fishery has undergone two years of scrutiny by independent scientists to validate their sustainability.
  “We should not get stuck in the past. We want fisheries to improve and we should recognise them when they do. Positive change means productive, healthy oceans.”
  In other words, we all accept the orange roughy fishery was not well managed 30-35 years ago when it was first developed. That is demonstrably not the case now.
  It is time to accept that.

- Tim Pankhurst
Commercial fishermen from Westport and Greymouth visited the Westland petrel colony last month. Image: B Stuart-Menteath
Fishing industry continues to support seabird protection
Commercial fisherman Carl Fry and Adam Duff have visited the breeding colony for one of the West Coast's unique seabirds, the Westland Petrel.
Westfleet commercial fisherman Adam Duff said he already had an interest in the birds but seeing them in their breeding environment was very different to seeing them at sea.
Tour guide Bruce Stuart-Menteath said it was great to see interest in the Westland petrel from people involved in the fishing industry.
Read more

In the Media

Forest and Bird’s fish list not credible

Scoop (December 1) published a press release from Seafood New Zealand who said Forest & Bird’s so-called fish guide is doing consumers a disservice.
It is not science-based, it is ideologically driven, and it is not subject to robust peer review, Seafood NZ chief executive Tim Pankhurst said.
“Most seafood would be off the menu if you followed this list – no snapper, no Bluff oysters, no bottom trawled hoki, no whitebait, no groper, no flounder, no rig. We can’t all eat tofu.”
Read more
Revealed: The bold plan to save Hauraki Gulf
NZ Herald (December 6) reported on a new plan for the management of the Hauraki Gulf.
The plan, named Sea Change-Tai Timu Tai Pari, took four years to create and will introduce a host of new initiatives.
The plan - the first of its kind in New Zealand - sought to help stem the flow of sediment and other pollutants into the Hauraki Gulf, ease pressures on wildlife, fish stocks and kaimoana and restore the health of crucial ecosystems.
Read more
Fishing giant rallies against Hauraki Gulf plan
Radio NZ (December 7)
reports on Sanford "slamming" the new Hauraki Gulf plan.
Sanford CEO Volker Kuntzsch said the plan was based on emotion, not science.
"People believe that all we do is scrape across the bottom of the sea, which consists of coral and reefs and in the end you destroy it all. That's not quite the case all over."
The plan also failed to differentiate between the areas at risk of environmental damage and those at low risk, he said.
Read more
To read the plan in full, click here
13,000 salmon dead
NZ Herald (December 6) reported on the death of over 13,000 salmon along the West Coast.
The incident occurred overnight on December 3, when important machinery was tampered with, shutting off the salmon's water supply, causing them to die from a lack of oxygen.
South Island police are investigating the incident that occurred at the Paringa Salmon Farm Café, South Westland.
Read more
Click below to browse December's Seafood New Zealand magazine
Future of our Fisheries

The document is broken into three parts:
- Fisheries Management System Review.
- Integrated Electronic Monitoring and Reporting System regulations (IEMRS).
- Enabling Innovative Trawl Technology (EITT) regulations.
To read the consultation document, send through a submission or find out if there is a public meeting near you click here.
Consultation on the document will close on the December 23.
CFOOD's new fishing awards
CFOOD have announced a new series of awards called the Bull-itzer Prizes for the most outrageous factual errors in fisheries reporting.
The awards will cover errors in articles or pronouncements on fisheries in:
- Major media – either print or websites
- Scientific papers
- Social media and blogs
- Organizational reports or pronouncements
- Individual Journalists
Click here to make a nomination.


The Kaikoura crayfish fleet has 70 tonnes of catch left to land for the season.