Another orange roughy success story

Published: 22 September 2017

An orange roughy fishery south of Stewart Island has been given the green light to reopen after 19 years.

In 1998, the seafood industry agreed to cease fishing in the ORH3B Puysegur area to rest the fishery to allow stocks to rebuild. Over the past 19 years the industry has contracted a number of research surveys from NIWA and CSIRO to monitor the rebuild and to inform a new stock assessment in 2017.

Deepwater Group chief executive, George Clement, says this stock has now rebuilt to almost 50 percent of the original biomass. The Minister of Primary Industries has approved an increase in the catch limit from 1 October.

“The commercial catch limit here has been increased to 347 tonnes, allowing a very conservative harvest rate of only four orange roughy out of every 100 in the population,” said Clement.

“This is yet another example of world class fisheries management. Where industry, government and scientists collaborate in the best long term interests of the fishery.

“It follows the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certification of three other orange roughy stocks as sustainable late last year,” said Clement.

In another example of good fisheries management, Deepwater Group has supported the Ministry for Primary Industries proposal to reduce the catch from the hake fishery HAK7 for the next two years while uncertainties in the 2017 stock assessments are addressed. The Minister has approved this approach and has reduced the commercial quota from 7,700 to 5,064 tonnes.

“This is the Quota Management System (QMS) working at its best. It is a science-based tool to objectively assess stocks and to adjust catches to ensure the harvest levels are sustainable. It is not surprising that New Zealand’s QMS is held up as an example to the rest of the world,” said Clement.