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New species entering fishing quota management

New species entering fishing quota management system

Ministry of Fisheries Chief Executive Wayne McNee today announced catch limits and other management controls for two new species – bladder kelp and Patagonian toothfish – that will become part of New Zealand’s internationally-recognised Quota Management System (QMS) on 1 October 2010. These decisions were made by Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture Phil Heatley.

Mr McNee said the QMS is an important driver of economic growth that not only promotes sustainable commercial fishing, but also incorporates environmental considerations and the needs of other users – recreational and customary fishers. It can also offer significant scientific benefits.

Two “attached” bladder kelp (attached to substrate - usually the sea floor) fisheries enter the QMS on 1 October, one on the east coast of the South Island and one on the Chatham Islands. The Minister has decided to set catch limits of 1,238 tonnes for the South Island east coast and 274 tonnes for the Chatham Islands.

Seaweeds like bladder kelp play an important role in the aquatic ecosystem, providing food, habitat and shelter for fish and other marine animals, including species that support valuable commercial fisheries.

“The Minister was very mindful of the important role bladder kelp plays in the ecosystem and has imposed conservative controls on harvest to make sure this role is not compromised,” Mr McNee said.

For Patagonian toothfish, the Minister has decided to set a low catch limit of 50 tonnes.

The Patagonian toothfish fishery in New Zealand waters is at a very early stage, with limited commercial catches in recent years.

Patagonian toothfish are only caught in deep water in the far southern reaches of the Exclusive Economic Zone. Recent advances in knowledge and fishing techniques mean it may now be economically viable to fish successfully for Patagonian toothfish in New Zealand waters.

“Managing Patagonian toothfish under the QMS means any future development of a fishery will happen in a closely controlled and well managed way,” Mr McNee said.

“Having this species in the QMS provides an incentive to the fishing industry to work with the Ministry of Fisheries to obtain scientific information that will help ensure the potential economic benefits are environmentally sustainable. We are also working with the Australian Government to manage Patagonian toothfish, as they are not confined exclusively to New Zealand waters.

“The Minister carefully considered the best scientific and management information available as well as submissions from customary, recreational and commercial fishers, environmental groups and the public before making these decisions,” Mr McNee said.

The catch limits take effect when the species officially enter the QMS on 1 October 2010. Further information will be made available on the Ministry of Fisheries website, www.fish.govt.nz.

ENDS

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