Status of hoki stocks
Hoki makes up New Zealand's largest QMS stock. The hoki fishery has undergone large cuts in TACC from 250 000 t in the 2000/01 fishing year to 100 000 t in the current fishing year. Biomass in the western stock is now estimated to be about 20% of virgin biomass and in the eastern stock it is estimated to be about 40%. There is considerable uncertainty around these estimates, particularly for the eastern stock.
The western stock experienced an extended period of poor recruitment from 1995 to 2001. The cause of poor recruitment is not certain. It may be climate driven, but there may be other factors at play. There is some evidence of improvement in the last two years but it will be some time before these young fish are fully recruited into the fishery. Recent recruitment in the eastern stock is estimated to be close to the long-term average.
In 2001 the hoki fishery achieved Marine Stewardship Council certification for responsible fisheries management. The Marine Stewardship Council is an independent, global, non-profit organisation based in London. Despite the difficulties faced by the industry, they are currently undergoing the extensive process of Marine Stewardship Council reassessment. The fishery has to demonstrate its commitment not only to sustainable management, but also to addressing the environmental effects of fishing.