LONG TERM VIEW TAKEN ON HOKI SUSTAINABILITY
26 September 2003
A long term view has been taken in reducing the Total Allowable Commercial Catch for hoki, says Jim Cornelius, the Ministry of Fisheries Senior Management Advisor in charge of deep sea fisheries.
"Minister of Fisheries, Hon Pete Hodgson, has taken a precautionary approach in reducing the TACC for hoki," he said.
"This move is aimed at ensuring the sustainability of hoki. In particular, there is concern with the low number of juvenile (immature) fish in the western stock of the hoki fishery. While the adult hoki population is not at imminent risk, we consider that precautionary measures are appropriate to reduce harvest pressure on the western stock. The Minister's action is taken from the perspective of long term sustainability of this important species in light of current information on the status of the fishery."
Mr Hodgson has announced that the Total Allowable Commercial Catch (TACC) for hoki will be reduced from 200,000 tonnes to 180,000 tonnes.
Within this 180,000 tonne TACC, the industry has been asked to voluntarily agree to limit catch from the western stock to 110,000 tonnes (61.1%), with the remaining 70,000 tonnes (39.9%) to come from the eastern stock, resulting in a 20,000 tonne reduction in catch from the western population relative to the 2002-03 season, while maintaining harvest on the eastern population stock at the same level as in 2002-03.
The move follows a new 2003 stock assessment indicating that the western population of the hoki fishery was in decline, following several years of poor recruitment. Although there does not appear to be an imminent sustainability threat to the western stock, continued fishing at current catch levels was likely to deplete it further in the absence of improved stock recruitment to this population.
On balance, there had been above average recruitment in eastern stock in recent years, and it is considered unlikely that continued fishing at current catch levels will deplete this stock.
Mr Cornelius said submissions from stakeholders indicated widespread concern over the status of the western hoki stock, but the submissions differed in their perspectives on how the issue should be addressed. The Ministry of Fisheries had taken a long term, precautionary view in providing advice to the Minister of Fisheries on the best options for ensuring sustainability of the hoki fishery.
For further information please contact
Jim Cornelius, Senior Fisheries Management Advisor, Ministry of Fisheries
Telephone 027 245 5185