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NZ fish stocks in healthy state heading into 2015

5 January 2015

New Zealand’s fish stocks in healthy state heading into 2015

Consumers can look forward to plenty of tasty and nutritious seafood this year with New Zealand fish stocks in good shape.

“The status of our stocks over the 2014 year showed some marked improvements according to the Ministry for Primary Industries figures and point to the conclusion that ‘by far the majority of New Zealand’s fisheries are performing well [1],” says Tim Pankhurst, Chief Executive of Seafood New Zealand.

This included an increase in the number of known fish stocks at or above the target for well-managed fisheries (increasing from 69.2% in 2013 to 72.5% in 2014) and a marked increase in the percentage of stocks where overfishing is not occurring (increasing from 82.1% to 86.8%).

“As an example of healthy fisheries, you only need to look at hoki, one of our largest fisheries,” says Mr Pankhurst.

In 2014 the hoki catch was increased from 150,000 to 160,000 tonnes by the government. This increase was possible because the recent hoki assessments had shown stocks were at, or above, the level necessary to produce a maximum sustainable yield and highly likely to remain that abundant.

Today, hoki is recognised as one of the most sustainably managed in the world and is certified without conditions by the international Marine Stewardship Council, the gold standard for international sustainability.

Some inshore fisheries have shown good increases. For example, the abundance indices for bluenose were up sharply in 2012/13, indicating that catch reductions to rebuild stocks are beginning to take effect.

“New Zealand bases its fisheries management on science that has evolved over 30 years and this should give consumers confidence that their seafood comes from a sustainably managed source.

Mr Pankhurst said that to ensure transparency, the Ministry for Primary Industries has made all of this information available on its website for several years in both detailed and summary form.

Ends

1. Interim update of the status of New Zealand’s fish stocks, Pamela Mace, Principal Advisor, Fisheries Science, pp 55- 59, Fisheries Assessment Plenary, May 2014 “A Celebration of 30+ Years of Fisheries Science”http://fs.fish.govt.nz/Page.aspx?pk=113&dk=23649


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