New catch limits for southern blue whiting
25 March 2011
Fisheries and Aquaculture Minister Phil Heatley has announced new catch limits for two southern blue whiting stocks from 1 April 2011.
In Bounty Islands southern blue whiting (SBW6B) the total allowable catch (TAC) will be reduced by more than half (53 per cent) from 15,000 to 7,000 tonnes.
"This is the first year of a two-year phased reduction," says Mr Heatley. "It is necessary because stock biomass has declined.”
"I have asked the Ministry of Fisheries to continue to monitor this fishery closely. A further acoustic survey is planned for 2011, the results of which will be used to inform the second catch limit reduction for the 2012-13 fishing year," he said.
By contrast due to significant biomass improvements in the Campbell Islands southern blue whiting (SBW6I) the Minister has decided the TAC can be increased by 30 per cent to 30,000 tonnes.
"I approved this increase due to the large increase in available biomass found in this fishery," says Mr Heatley.
"This step will bring an estimated $4 million more in export earnings from this fishery. Scientific research here showed an even greater increase would be sustainable, but quota holders decided to take a measured approach," he said.
In 2010, southern blue whiting brought in approximately $26 million in export earnings.