New Zealand fish stocks performing well

Published: 19 August 2015

New Zealand’s fisheries are performing well overall, Dr Pamela Mace, the Principal Advisor Fisheries Science, with the Ministry for Primary Industries said today.

She was providing an update on the status of New Zealand’s marine fisheries at the New Zealand Seafood Industry conference.

“New Zealand’s fisheries are performing extremely well overall, at least as good as or beyond the standard of the best in the world,” she said.

Around 83 per cent of individual fish stocks of known status and 96 per cent of landings of known status are above or well above the level where sustainability issues might be a concern, she said.

“New Zealanders should be really proud of this result.”

Highlights from recent stock status assessments include both of New Zealand’s hoki stocks increasing in size for eight consecutive years, and stabilising in 2015 at a level above the upper end of the management target range.

In addition, three important orange roughy stocks have increased in size since about the late 1980s and are now near or within the management target range.

Other stocks that are performing well in most areas include southern blue whiting, rock lobster, paua, tarakihi, red gurnard, elephantfish and yellowfin tuna.

The overall status had become increasingly favourable since the adoption of the Harvest Strategy Standard (which provides for targets and limits for our fisheries and fish stocks) by Government in 2008 and the introduction of the Quota Management System in 1986, and now appears to be plateauing, she said.

There was a need to “keep up the effort and align public perceptions of our fisheries with reality”.

“We also need to acknowledge that things aren’t perfect, and to show that we are striving continually to grow and improve.

“One way to do this is to increase our research effort in order to gain knowledge about the status of more of our fish stocks, and to be able to demonstrate this to our markets and the rest of the world.”

Around 270 delegates are attending the one day conference at Wellington’s Shed 6 which has as its theme, New Zealand Sustainable Seafood – Adding Value.