Quota change means $13m boost to squid fishery
23 May, 2004 Press Release
A decision to allow an increase in the amount of squid caught in the mainland fishery this year highlights the effectiveness of New Zealand's quota system, says Fisheries Minister David Benson-Pope.
Mr Benson-Pope announced today that the total allowable catch of squid in the quota management area SQU1T* for the remainder of the 2003-2004 season would be increased by 30 per cent.
This followed Ministry of Fisheries analysis that showed significantly higher catch rates and an abundance of squid this season in key areas of the fishery along the Snares Shelf, off the southern end of the South Island.
Port prices are averaging around $1000 per tonne in recent years, so gross revenue to the industry has the potential to increase by up to $13million as a result of this action. Mr Benson-Pope says mid-season changes to quota amounts are rare:
"I am pleased that we have had the flexibility to react mid-season," says the minister. "This shows how sensitive an instrument the quota management system can be in working to ensure New Zealand fisheries are maintained through sustainable practices."
Recently the minister announced a National Plan of Action to reduce the incidental catch of seabirds, which gained the support of the industry to improve practices. In an unusual step, Mr Benson-Pope has written to the squid fishers affected by the change in quota and calls upon them to take action now:
"I encourage you to consider the in-season increase in allowable catch as an opportunity to test and develop fishing practices that will mitigate seabird mortalities," he wrote. "The undertaking of such initiatives on the part of industry would provide a proactive response to the protected species bycatch concerns."
* Please Note: SQU1T covers all New Zealand's fisheries waters except for two areas around the sub-Antartic Islands (SQU6T) and the Kermadec Islands (SQU10).
Contact: Pete Coleman (Press Secretary) (04) 471- 9685 or 021-811-003