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Boat to change face of commercial fishing in NZ launched

1 September 2016

Boat to change face of commercial fishing in NZ launched in Nelson

A ceremony steeped in tradition was held in Nelson today to celebrate the launch of a boat that will change the face of commercial fishing in New Zealand.

The state-of-the-art vessel has been built for Tauranga-based fisherman Roger Rawlinson, of Ngati Awa descent. It has been named Santy Maria after his mother, who started the business with his father Bill more than 25 years ago.

The Santy Maria is the first vessel in Moana New Zealand’s $25-30 million fleet renewal project. It has been designed by Australian company OceanTech, with the technical expertise and vast fishing experience of Westfleet CEO Craig Boote, and constructed to the highest specifications by Aimex Service Group in Nelson.

Moana is supporting fishers and the sustainable future of the commercial fishing industry initially through transitional funding, and in the long term through quota parcels, in the biggest fleet renewal of its kind since the 1970s.

Designed specifically to suit New Zealand’s conditions, the new vessel is more fuel efficient, powerful and stable, and will improve productivity as well as minimise the environmental impact of trawling.

The new vessel will use cutting edge Precision Seafood Harvesting (PSH) technology. The modular net system corrals the fish in the water, meaning they are in a more rested state when they are landed on the vessel, resulting in them being landed in pristine condition.

In addition, the Santy Maria has been specifically designed with the most advanced bird protection measures on any vessel to date. It stores offal on board to be released when it is not trawling, and discharges it below rather than above the water so there is no ‘free lunch’ for sea birds.

It will also use fully synthetic, environmentally-friendly hydraulic fluid which breaks down in seawater in case of any spills over the side, and a biodegradable lubricant on the wire ropes that pull the nets from the water.

Moana New Zealand Chief Executive Carl Carrington said the Iwi-owned company is proud to be leading the fishing industry in New Zealand, with boats that fit with its ethos of being kaitiaki, or guardians, of the sea for future generations.

He was also delighted that after looking around the world for design and build options the best one was to build the vessels locally, which is contributing to the economy and providing additional training and job opportunities, particularly for young Māori.

Aimex recently launched a Māori Youth Development Programme designed to provide the opportunity to gain hands-on experience of the marine engineering industry, and the Moana fleet renewal project is a key part of that.

Managing Director Steve Sullivan says building the boats in Nelson and investment in training will provide a sustainable foundation for the business itself and the local economy as a whole in the long term, as well as the commercial fishing industry.

“The Santy Maria is a testimony not only to the skills and engineering experience of the Aimex team but also to the strong partnerships and collaborative working spirit with all the supporting businesses that have brought the Santy Maria to life,” he says.

At the launch Roger Rawlinson said the Santy Maria created exciting prospects for his own whanau, and would help bring young Māori and his own tamariki into the fishing business for the long term.


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