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New Technology to Boost Sustainable Fisheries Research

New Technology to Boost Sustainable Fisheries Research

Wellington, NZ - Deep sea technology that will provide some of the world’s most accurate and useful marine sustainability research is being launched today.

In a world-first, New Zealand fishing company Sealord has invested more than $750,000 in a new multi-frequency Acoustic Optical System (AOS).

At an event on-board Thomas Harrison, prior to the vessel taking the new equipment on its first sea-trial, Minister of Primary Industries Nathan Guy launched the new AOS which will provide a boost to the science that contributes to New Zealand’s world recognised Quota Management System.

The equipment allows scientist to use acoustics (sound) at different frequencies; and optics (visual) to understand what is happening with the fish in the ocean, and the marine environment.  

Sealord CEO Graham Stuart said that New Zealand fisheries are recognised as some of the most sustainable in the world, and advanced technology like this will help maintain and improve the science that ensures fish resources are well managed.

He acknowledged the partnership with CSIRO (Commonwealth Science and Industrial Research Organisation) to bring the break-through technology to New Zealand.

“Sealord invests millions of dollars each year to ensure the resource that is our livelihood is well understood. We hope that providing access to additional technology will help us get even better at looking after the oceans,” said Stuart.

The multi-frequency system with advanced broadband technology can see the difference between fish with gas filled swim bladders (e.g. alfonsino and cardinal fish), and those without (e.g. orange roughy). This makes data far more accurate than simply measuring biomass from hull mounted echo-sounders.

It combines advanced broadband technology and integrated habitat monitoring camera systems which will aid development of new tools to help protect ocean habitats and vulnerable species.

Sealord considers its investment to be a good way to recognise and support using the best available science to understand more about fish stocks and the marine environment.

“Recent research has shown orange roughy, which have been carefully managed for the last decade due to what was thought to be low stocks, are now in very good health. The AOS system will allow us to be certain about this due to the accuracy of the information it can provide,” said Stuart.

Dr Rudy Kloser from CSIRO said the partnership with Sealord would have benefits for New Zealand and Australia.

“The development of this state of the art research equipment has been the culmination of a long history of working together on fisheries research projects on both sides of the Tasman,” said  Dr Kloser.

The first research projects Sealord’s AOS system will be used for is the Mid-East Coast Orange Roughy survey. The equipment will also be made available at a nominal fee so research providers and industry can use it to improve the overall scientific knowledge of our fisheries.


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