New Zealand fisheries are well managed
27 May 2010
The Ministry of Fisheries has moved to assure seafood consumers that they can have confidence in the management of New Zealand’s fisheries.
New Zealand’s fisheries, including southern bluefin tuna and orange roughy are carefully managed to ensure sustainability using the world leading quota management system. New Zealand works closely with other countries as part of the CCAMLR international conservation convention to manage the Ross Sea and its fisheries.
Southern bluefin tuna
There is cause for concern about the state of southern bluefin stocks internationally with fish numbers falling to low levels.
“New Zealand has been a leading voice on putting in place effective global measures to manage southern bluefin tuna and encouraging all nations to take action” said Ministry of Fisheries Deputy Chief Executive Fisheries Management Gavin Lockwood.
New Zealand has worked hard with the other countries involved in the Southern Bluefin Tuna fishery and a package of measures has been put in place to address the problem. The package includes a 20% reduction in catches, increased monitoring and surveillance of fishing and a catch certification scheme requiring all southern bluefin caught to be certified and reported.
This package also includes improvements in the scientific research and information. If the improvements in science are not ready by 2012 there is already agreement to reduce catches by at least a further 37%.
The Ministry of Fisheries has not hesitated to take decisive management action in our orange roughy fisheries. For example in New Zealand’s main orange roughy fishery catch limits have been reduced by almost 40% over the past five years. Fisheries in other areas have been closed if the science shows that is needed to protect sustainability.
“Reducing catches and closing fisheries if we need to is evidence of responsible and responsive management” said Mr Lockwood.
“Bottom trawling is the main fishing method for catching orange roughy. It takes place within New Zealand’s comprehensive fisheries management system” he said.
“New Zealand bottom trawling is very closely managed, we know which fishing vessels are bottom trawling, we use satellite monitoring so we know exactly where they are fishing and we require detailed catch reports so we know how much is being caught.”
17 areas have been closed 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 among 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 and eco-systems are preserved” said Mr Lockwood.
Ross Sea Antarctic Toothfish
The Ross Sea Antarctic toothfish fishery is one of the most effectively managed fisheries in the world. Conservative limits on the number of fishing vessels and the amount of fish that can be caught are set every year by CCAMLR. All fishing vessels have to meet strict requirements on fishing and bycatch mitigation as well as carry two independent observers.
The New Zealand Government, including the Ministry of Fisheries supports the effective management of the fishery and New Zealand fishers through monitoring, vessel inspections and patrolling as well as a substantial programme of scientific research and stock assessment.
Quota Management System
New Zealand’s Quota Management System is internationally regarded as one of the world’s best fisheries management systems. The World Bank has praised New Zealand’s QMS and absence of subsidies as an example of how other countries should manage their fisheries. A major study published in the prestigious journal, Science, rated New Zealand’s fisheries management as first equal out of all marine regions around the world. Most recently, a report published in the Marine Policy journal ranked New Zealand’s fisheries management as the best of the world’s 53 major fishing nations.