Fisheries research programme will give more information
26 May 2010
The Ministry of Fisheries has planning underway to implement the 10 year research programme for deepwater fisheries announced today by Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture Hon Phil Heatley with the aim of having the first research projects commencing in the next fishing year, starting on 1 October.
Minister Heatley’s announcement outlines a major boost to scientific research into New Zealand’s valuable deepwater fisheries and deep-sea environment with a ten year research programme and an increase in spending of $5million a year from current spending levels of $12million a year – the largest increase in government fisheries science spending since 2002.
Ministry of Fisheries Chief Executive Wayne McNee says the new programme will bring major benefits for everyone involved in deepwater fisheries. “This programme will give us better information we can use to manage our valuable deepwater fisheries and the deep sea environment.”
“New Zealand’s fisheries management has received praise around the world but we are constantly working to keep improving it” he said.
The cost of the extra research will be paid by deepwater fishing quota owners through cost recovery levies and Mr McNee has thanked the deepwater fishing industry for their support of the programme.
The increased research funding will go into three areas:
Fishstock assessment - giving population estimates for both valuable target species and less valuable species taken as accidental bycatch.
Environmental research - improving knowledge of the deep-sea environment and better understanding the extent of impacts fishing may be having.
Extensive observer coverage - significantly boosting observer coverage from current levels of 25-35% of all deepwater fishing trips.
The ten year programme means that major research projects can be contracted over multiple years and several different research and assessment projects can be covered in a single contract.
“Having a ten year focus will help in planning research and give better information for the Ministry’s fishery managers, the fishing industry and all the other stakeholders in our deepwater fisheries” Mr McNee said. “This will mean the Ministry can work closely with the scientists and other stakeholders on planning and carrying out research, stock assessment and monitoring to get the best possible results and greatest value for money.”
The Ministry has also recently completed a review of how all fisheries research is planned, purchased and assessed aiming to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of the substantial fisheries research spend. This review has identified a number of improvements to existing processes to ensure all fisheries research spending is as efficient as possible without compromising quality.
“The research process improvements combined with the 10 year programme means the government can get more research for its money, which means more information we can use to manage our fisheries for the future” Mr McNee said