Seafood consumers can have confidence that New Zealand fisheries are well managed and sustainable.
7 August 2009
The Ministry of Fisheries has moved to assure seafood consumers that they can have confidence in the management of New Zealand fisheries.
Our fisheries are carefully managed to ensure sustainability using the world leading quota management system and 1.2 million square kilometres of the seafloor, almost a third of New Zealand’s huge exclusive economic zone, is completely closed to bottom trawling and 90% of the EEZ has never been trawled.
“Consumers can have confidence that when they buy New Zealand seafood it comes from a sustainable, well managed resource” said Ministry of Fisheries Chief Executive Wayne McNee.
New Zealand’s fisheries management received an overwhelmingly positive assessment from an independent international panel of respected fisheries scientists in the high-profile scientific research paper, “Rebuilding Global Fisheries” published in the international journal, Science.
New Zealand and Alaska were the only two marine areas around the world to receive a “Green” rating, the highest allocated.
“New Zealand has led the world in terms of management success by our efforts to put management interventions in place before drastic measures are needed to conserve, restore and rebuild our marine resources’ said Mr McNee.
The Ministry of Fisheries has not hesitated to take decisive management action including catch reductions and if necessary fishery closures if the science shows that is needed to protect sustainability. Rather than being an indicator of a poorly managed fishery, this is evidence of responsible and responsive management.
Catch limits move up and down to take into account changes in the abundance of a fish stock and make sure fishing is kept to sustainable levels.
The hoki fishery is a good example of this approach working. The western hoki stock has experienced a period of low numbers of young fish entering the fishery. This has required significant reductions in catch limits over the past seven years to allow the stock to rebuild.
The Ministry of Fisheries recently announced the findings of the latest scientific research and the western hoki stock is recovering well and is now back within the target range for the fishery. The eastern hoki stock remains very strong and has never been below the target range.
In April 2007, the Government accepted a fishing industry proposal to close 17 areas to bottom trawling, providing protection to an area of seafloor equal to 1.2 million square kilometres, or an area four times the landmass of New Zealand.
These are the largest closures of their type anywhere in the world.
“1.2 million square kilometres of pristine, un-fished seafloor is protected to ensure that the natural bio-diversity is preserved, in the same way that National Parks are used on land” said Mr McNee.
New Zealand has also put in place a number of measures to manage the environmental impact of bottom trawling by New Zealand fishers on the high seas including banning bottom trawling of any un-fished area and closing 112,000 square kilometres of previously fished high seas area.