21 February 2013
By Nathan Guy
I want to acknowledge and celebrate the achievements of the New Zealand fishing industry in gaining Marine Stewardship Council certification of these three important fisheries.
These certification processes are very thorough. They have to be, if they are going to be meaningful.
This achievement represents a major joint effort by the fishing industry, the Ministry, and other supporting organisations. I congratulate you all on this milestone, and particularly the Deepwater Group – its Chair, Chris Horton, and Chief Executive George Clement, as well as Doug Saunders-Loader of the Tuna Management Association, for their industry leadership.
Congratulations to you and thank you for your efforts.
The key partner with the industry in meeting the standard of management practice is the government, through the Ministry for Primary Industries.
MPI’s partnership with the Deepwater Group was first formalised in 2006. Since then improvements to deepwater fisheries have been made and we celebrate the latest milestone of that work tonight. MSC certification is just as much an endorsement of MPI’s effectiveness in its role as it is of industry good practice. So, well done.
I would also like to acknowledge the efforts of the other supporting organisations here tonight. WWF-New Zealand has also engaged with MPI to improve New Zealand’s environmental performance over many years. Thank you.
As a government we’re committed to sustainable fisheries and we fully support the public review and endorsement of our management practices offered by MSC certification.
We now have three fisheries with MSC certification for the first time. It was 2001 when hoki was first assessed by the Council, and now we have the addition of southern blue whiting and albacore tuna to the list of MSC certified sustainable fisheries.
This is strong confirmation of the success of the quota management system. The QMS has been in place for more than quarter of a century and is widely recognised as world-leading.
Certification underlines this leadership, and also reminds us of the need to keep improving the system to keep us at the forefront of sustainable management and production.
Sustainability goes hand in hand with efficiency and productivity in the use of natural resources such as our fisheries. We cannot afford to waste the resource itself, or be wasteful in how we harvest, process and market our products.
The scrutiny provided by certification processes can really help us to focus on these issues.
The seafood sector is a major contributor to the New Zealand economy, worth $1.6b and employing 3,700 people.
We know the global demand for sustainably produced, high-quality protein will continue to increase. The certification of our deepwater fisheries will help to maintain the strong reputation New Zealand products have on the world stage, and to further increase the value in what we produce.
Certification is an important link in the value chain, because it speaks with authority for a range of actions in management and fishing practice.
Once again congratulations on this achievement. I wish you well for further work in this area and look forward to the results.