The main New Zealand ling fisheries have been assessed as meeting the high sustainability standards set by the international Marine Stewardship Council (MSC).
Ten ling fisheries have been assessed and these are part of the 29 New Zealand fisheries that are either already certified as meeting the MSC standards or are in the processes of becoming certified under the MSC. The industry goal of industry, with government backing, is to have more than 80 per cent of New Zealand’s deepwater seafood production independently certified as being sustainably managed.
The Draft Assessment Report has just been released for public comment. It recommends that these ten New Zealand ling fisheries be certified as being sustainable by the MSC subject to three conditions, which require more information to be collected on the interactions between ling long line vessels and seabirds.
Deepwater Chief Executive, George Clement, says the industry welcomes the opportunity to provide further information.
“Our deepwater fleet’s current management measures are not just governed by legal requirements. We have a number of additional agreed measures, supported by MPI and the Minister for Primary Industries, to ensure that our fishing practices remain world-leading.”
“In particular, all vessels are required to manage their fishing operations to avoid seabird captures and dispose offal in ways the birds can’t get to it. Our vessels provide reports in real time that are additional to what the regulations require. Together the measures mean that all that should be done is being done to continue to reduce the numbers of seabird casualties”.
The independent assessment team from Intertek Fisheries Certification, who are contracted to assess fisheries performance against the MSC Standard, requires Deepwater Group to demonstrate that there is a strategy to manage and to further reduce seabird interactions with inshore long line vessels.
George Clement says that rather than a compliance issue, it’s an additional requirement to provide more information..
“MSC is the worldwide ‘gold standard’ of sustainable fisheries performance and so the assessments are extraordinarily thorough. Not only does achieving MSC Certification prove that we are managing a fishery in a sustainable manner, but the record keeping to provide that proof is very robust as well.”
Once certified, the ling fisheries will join hoki, southern blue whiting, hake and albacore tuna as MSC Certified fisheries within New Zealand.