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Sanford recommends Hoki TACC be left at current level

Sanford recommends you leave the Hoki TACC at the current level. (We support Option 1)

Officials are currently considering options for a final advice paper for you on revising the Hoki Total Allowable Commercial Catch (TACC). Two options have been put forward for stakeholder consultation;

Option 1 is status quo;

Option 2 is to lift the TACC by 10,000mt in the western stock.

Sanford supports Option 1.

We note your recent public comments (Press Release 22 June 2011) about the positive state of the resource and its recovery. We think the resource is more positive than it has been in recent years but we ask you to take a precautionary approach until there is an opportunity for further scientific data and information to be collected and analysed.

In the early 2000’s and in subsequent years Sanford were in the minority calling for HOK TACC reductions but were ignored because the ‘best available science’ said the fishery could sustain taking over 200,000mt. In 2003-04 again the ‘best available science’ said we could take 180,000mt yet despite more than sufficient capacity and massive effort, industry could only manage to harvest 135,000mt. The reductions came too late and were too small; Industry paid a heavy price for that with the TACC eventually being lowered to 90,000mt. As a result the industry needed to restructure; companies downsized their fleets and a lot of onwater and shore-based capital went under-utilised and jobs were lost.

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In the period July to September 2009 the industry took the permitted 25,000mt from the Western Stock. Since then with transfers from the East and two TACC increases the take from the Western Stock is now 60,000mt.

This means that since 2009 we will have taken an additional 105,000mt of hoki all from the Western stock without having seriously measured the impact of this additional extraction. In Sanford’s opinion it is time to pause and take stock. A further increase this year is too much, too fast.

Sanford commissioned a report by Dr Kevin Stokes (copy attached) and shared this with others active in the hoki fishery. Response has been positive and a number of quota owners are now supportive of maintaining the status quo.

There is no doubt that hoki is a valuable year round fishery that New Zealand can take pride in. The fishery has been certified by the Marine Stewardship Council since 2001 and despite a diminishing biomass in the early 2000s the fishery has pulled back and is now rebuilding. In time, the hoki fishery will again be robust enough to support a higher TACC.

Sanford asks that you hold back announcing TACC increases until the working group and your fishery managers have had time to consider the survey results timetabled to occur over the next 12 months. The 2011-12 Sub Antarctic trawl survey is due to begin in December 2011; the West Coast trawl survey is scheduled for August 2012. Both surveys will assist in determining how quickly the hoki stock is rebuilding.

An incremental (and considered) upward TACC climb is preferential for managing both capital decisions and re-gaining the public’s confidence in hoki management.

ENDS

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