Hoki fishery recovering well
8 June 2009
The Ministry of Fisheries has published the latest results of its scientific research programme and things are looking good for the hoki fishery.
The research has found that the western hoki stock (which includes the important fishery off the South Island’s west coast) is recovering well after several years where low numbers of young fish entered the fishery. The western stock is now within sustainable target levels.
The eastern hoki stock remains very strong, and the latest stock assessment shows that it has never been below the target range.
The number of young fish surviving to adulthood and entering a fishery, known as recruitment, is a critical factor in managing a fishery and setting sustainable catch limits.
“Our research programme has found that both the eastern and western hoki stocks are within target levels and the western stock is recovering well after a period of low recruitment” said Ministry of Fisheries Chief Executive Wayne McNee.
The Ministry of Fisheries and the fishing industry developed a rebuilding strategy to help the western hoki stock’s recovery. Catch limits were progressively reduced from 250,000 tonnes in 2001 to 90,000 tonnes in 2007 to ensure that fishing was sustainable. Alongside these catch reductions the Ministry of Fisheries and the fishing industry have undertaken a comprehensive scientific monitoring programme with up to three separate research surveys completed every year.
“The latest research is very promising, it shows that the rebuilding strategy is working and the western hoki stock is recovering well” said Mr McNee
“Things are looking good for the hoki fishery, both the eastern and western stocks are now within target levels and we will work to make sure they stay that way” Mr McNee said.
“We will continue to monitor our hoki fisheries closely with two separate research surveys planned for the coming year.”
It is not known what caused the low levels of recruitment in the western hoki stock but it is believed to be caused by higher than average water temperatures impacting the survival of hoki larvae.
The hoki fishery was certified as sustainable by the Marine Stewardship Council in 2001 and re-certified in 2007 on condition that a rebuilding strategy for the western stock was in place and operating effectively.