Deepwater Group responds to Sealord’s proposal to set aside 89% of seamounts for conservation

22 April 2022

Deepwater Group’s CEO George Clement says the industry has always supported a balanced approach to both marine conservation and sustainable seafood production. 

Clement’s comments are in response to Sealord’s proposal to set aside 89% of the seamounts in the EEZ for conservation.

“We promoted, and the Government agreed, to close 30% of New Zealand’s EEZ to bottom trawling in 2006 – these large areas were chosen to be broadly representative of pristine areas worthy of setting aside for the future,” Clement says. “In total, only 10% of the EEZ has ever been used for food production. Annually, around 1% of the EEZ is trawled, producing 700 million servings of natural seafood.

“Seafood is an essential part of New Zealand’s healthy food production. We suggest, that the most effective approach to fisheries management is to agree on where we should produce food from our oceans, what the rules are for fishing in these areas, and what ongoing research is needed to ensure these fishing activities remain sustainable.  

“Of the known 142 seamounts in the EEZ, trawling has only ever occurred on parts of 15 of them. So yes, the future might mean that when looking at seamounts, we only fish on these previously fished seamounts,” he says. “This proposition could be included in the conversation we are having with the Ministry of Primary Industries, the Department of Conservation, and eNGOs, as part of the Forum that is considering further controls on trawling within the EEZ.”

Deepwater Group infographic

Note to editors: The Deepwater Group represents the owners of fishing quota in New Zealand’s deep water fisheries.

Related article: Video vox pops signal Kiwis accept seamount fishing when sustainable