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North Sea Fishing Quota To Affect Southern Oceans

North Sea Fishing Quota Cuts Are Likely To Effect Southern Oceans Says WWF

WWF-New Zealand's Conservation Director Eric Pyle says the European Union's (EU) announcement that it will cut quotas of North Sea cod is likely to have some effect on New Zealand and the Southern Oceans. North Sea cod stocks are now at their lowest level ever.

WWF-New Zealand Conservation Director Eric Pyle says, “This cut in quota is a salutary lesson for fisheries all over the world. Such cuts are going to happen more frequently in the next few years as fisheries around the world collapse.” WWF estimates that the global harvest of fish is one third more than fisheries can sustain.

Mr Pyle says as fisheries in the north decline and quotas are reduced, fishing boats will increasingly turn to the Southern Oceans in the hunt for fish. This move will create pressures on international fisheries and increase an already serious fisheries by-catch issue in the Southern Ocean. Numbers at some albatross colonies have declined by 90% in the last 60 years, he says, and many of the birds are caught in international waters where there are few regulations and little or no effective controls.

“Crashing northern fisheries are bad news for albatross in the Southern Ocean. This is of real concern to New Zealand because so many albatross species nest in New Zealand and are native to New Zealand,” Mr Pyle says. Nearly 40% of albatross species are native to New Zealand.

If New Zealand manages its fisheries well, they will become much more valuable in the next five to ten years as fish stocks around the world collapse. “It would be stupid to allow our other fisheries to go the way of Orange Roughy,” Mr Pyle says.

New Zealand fisheries managers consider that New Zealand fisheries are well managed by international comparison. Hoki, New Zealand’s largest fishery, is currently being assessed under Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) guidelines by an independent certification agency. MSC is a partnership between WWF and Unilever, the world’s largest processor of fish.

“We say our fisheries are well managed, but this is the first truly independent assessment of how well we are managing our largest fishery,” Mr Pyle says. The assessment report will be released towards the end of January.

“WWF hopes that the New Zealand Government and fishing industry will learn from overseas mistakes and manage New Zealand's fisheries well for future generations. The UK cod situation provides a salutary lesson for fisheries management around the world”.


For more information, please contact Eric Pyle, Conservation Director on tel: (04) 2, fax: (04) 499 2954, mobile: 025 285 2602 or email: anna.thomson@wwf.org.nz.


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