Research shows New Zealand fisheries are in good shape
3 June 2004
Research shows New Zealand fisheries are in good shape, according to the Ministry of Fisheries.
"The Ministry spends between $15 million and $20 million a year on researching fish stocks and we have more information than ever before," says National Fisheries Manager, Mike Arbuckle. This includes sufficient information to advise on the sustainability of 60 to 70 percent of New Zealand's commercial fisheries.
"While it is inevitable that some fish stocks will decline in any given year due to environmental factors or the effects of fishing, we are able to respond by cutting quotas at the start of each fishing year in October. This is why New Zealand's fisheries management system is regarded as among the best in the world.
"The Ministry is finalising an advice paper for the Minister on the annual stock assessment programme and decisions on any changes to the total allowable catch for the 2004/05 fishing year are expected to be announced in the next few months.
"Our research shows that New Zealand's fisheries are in good shape," said Mr Arbuckle. "Eighty percent of fish stocks for which we have information are above, at or near target levels and we have rebuilding strategies in place for the remaining 20 percent.
"Most remaining fish stocks are small and of relatively low value. These fisheries are monitored on an on-going basis. In most cases catch rates have remained stable or increased, indicating they are sustainable.
"One reason for the success of the Quota Management System (QMS) is that we do regular reviews and are able to take action as required. Most years this action involves increases in total allowable catch for a few fish stocks in specific areas and decreases for others while for the majority of stocks there is no change."
The implementation of the QMS in 1986 was integral to New Zealand avoiding the massive over-investment in fishing vessels and gross over-fishing that has destroyed commercial fisheries in many parts of the world during the last three decades. By the end of 2004 most commercially fished species will be included in the QMS.
For further information please contact
Ministry of Fisheries
Tel 04 494 2369/021 822 588