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New Zealand seafood rated as the ‘green protein’

13 February 2012

Report sets record straight: New Zealand seafood rated as the ‘green protein’

New Zealand seafood is rated as the ‘green protein’ a report on the environmental cost of New Zealand food production has found.

The Environmental Cost of New Zealand Food Production measures the environmental impacts of harvesting wild fisheries with results showing fewer impacts than the production of alternative forms of animal protein.

Report author, Professor Ray Hilborn, says that when considering the environmental impacts of harvesting New Zealand seafood an obvious comparison is the New Zealand dairy and meat industries.

“This report looks at all the studies we could find on the environmental impacts of New Zealand fish, dairy and meat production to either the farm gate or the dock and the results are readily apparent; wild fisheries simply do not impact the environment in many ways.”

The report finds that all New Zealand dairy, meat and wild fisheries production have lower environmental impacts than overseas protein production methods.

Chief Executive of the New Zealand Seafood Industry Council, Peter Bodeker says the report’s findings set the environmental record straight.

“New Zealand seafood is an excellent protein choice not only for its obvious health attributes but also for its low environmental impact. And as we’ve always maintained - and which has been scientifically-proven many times over - New Zealand harvests from a sustainable fishery.”

Professor Hilborn also reports that although all animal protein production has environmental impacts any changes from harvesting the marine environment are significantly less than those on land, and the changes are not permanent.

“Marine ecosystems have not been modified anywhere near the same extent as those on land. The potential recovery time of marine ecosystems to their pre-harvested state is far less than the recovery time for forest ecosystems converted to agriculture. The introduction of terrestrial species means the recovery of a native species-based ecosystem is probably unachievable,” he says.

Further, the nutrients produced in the production of protein on land have significant adverse environmental effects, particularly on waterways in comparison to the effects from nutrients on oceans produced in the harvest of seafood.

“In harvesting seafood there is no significant use of fresh water, fertiliser, pesticides or antibiotics,” says Professor Hilborn.

Download the report at http://www.seafoodindustry.co.nz/publications

ENDS

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