22 September 2010
Changes to commercial catch limits for orange roughy and hoki announced today are proof that the quota management system is working, says Deepwater Group Ltd chief executive George Clement.
“These limits have been set by the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture using independent scientific information and include consideration of submissions from a wide range of interests including scientists, the Ministry of Fisheries, quota owners, iwi, environmental groups and the public,” said Mr Clement.
He said the announcements, which will see both increases and reductions in catch limits for deepwater fisheries, are an example of the quota management system at work.
“In the areas where there is good independent evidence of increasing numbers of fish, the Minister has taken a cautious approach to increasing catch limits. Equally, when the science suggests that a fishery needs lower catches, the catch limits have been reduced. That’s why New Zealand’s quota management system is the best in the world – it’s driven by science, not emotion or by politics.
“All New Zealanders want New Zealand’s fisheries to be fished sustainably. The fishing industry knows that having a sustainable business depends on having a sustainable resource, so we support intelligent management of fisheries. As resource sizes fluctuate naturally, catch limits will increase or decrease, and where stocks are low, these can be rebuilt.”
The Minister has announced that the orange roughy fishery on the west coast (called ORH7A) has been re-opened after being closed for 10 years to promote rebuilding. A total allowable commercial catch for this fishery has been set at 500 tonnes.
“We support the cautious re-opening of this fishery and are committed to ongoing scientific monitoring to ensure it’s sustainably managed. The evidence from this fishery is that orange roughy stocks can be rebuilt given time and appropriate management measures,” Mr Clement said.
Catch limits for the orange roughy fisheries covering most of New Zealand’s exclusive economic zone around the east and south of the South Island (called ORH3B) will decrease.
This is the third of a three-step catch reduction process.
“This brings the current annual catch down to 4.5% of the estimated stock size. The annual catch limit here was formerly set at around 7%. At 4.5%, this means that for every fish that is taken out of the water, 20 remain to maintain the stock size for the future. By any measure this is a conservative harvest strategy.
“The industry continues to support independent science to monitor this fishery and to ensure it is sustainable into the future.”
The Minister has increased the total allowable commercial catch for hoki by 10,000 tonnes.
This increases the western stock catch limit by 20%, to 60,000 tonnes.
“The western stock experiences a period of poor recruitment which lead to managed catch reductions from 140,000 tonnes down to 30,000 tonnes between 2002 and 2007. Since then, recruitment has improved and the western stock has been rebuilt to the management target. The catch limit was increased last year by 20,000 tonnes and by a further 10,000 tonnes next year. This is a conservative increase in the catch limit given the increases of stock size that have been estimated by NIWA scientific surveys and the scientific modelling that estimates stock size will continue to increase with 60,000 tonnes catch. The commercial fisheries for hoki have performed extremely well throughout the year with catch rates and fish sizes greatly improved over recent years.
“The ongoing sustainable management of the hoki fisheries has produced good results for the environment, for industry and for New Zealand.”
These changes to catch limits are part of a series of announcements made this week by the Ministry of Fisheries. They will come into force when the new fishing year begins on October 1.