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Sea-change needed for NZ fishing industry

Sea-change needed for NZ fishing industry

A change in the way we fish will reap dividends for the fishing industry and boost the ‘New Zealand brand’ if we can reverse current practices and industry thinking says Progressive Wigram MP Jim Anderton.

Speaking at the petition presentation from The Service and Food Workers Union at today’s Primary Production Select Committee, Jim Anderton supported the SFWU’s endeavours to up skill Kiwi workers by addressing outmoded practices that have dumbed down New Zealand’s fishing industry.

As a former Fisheries minister, Anderton is urging a change in focus from treating seafood as a commodity to recognising our high quality wild fisheries as the ideal environment to produce a high premium product

“To much of the fishing industry has scaled back on quality in favour of quantity in order to reap higher short-term dividends by treating seafood as a commodity. By going for volume, quality is lost which has resulted in low prices, widespread job losses and the devaluation of the enormous potential of our fishing industry.

“There is no high value future in high-volume pulverised fishmeat caught in huge nets. The prices we are currently attracting for this product are no incentive to develop the high quality, high value fishing industry that New Zealand needs.

“New Zealand has one of the most valuable wild fisheries in the world and we should expect to earn a sizable export premium from it.

“Discerning chefs and restaurateurs will pay top dollar for day-old line-caught fish. We stand to gain significant market premiums for our fish exports if we can assure customers of high quality and sustainable practices that are the hallmarks of New Zealand food exports.

“The current focus on using cheap foreign labour and bulk fishing is to the detriment of our fishing industry and risks giving New Zealand a bad reputation if it continues”, says Jim Anderton.

ENDS

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