15 November, 2011
New Zealand’s largest commercial fishery on Tuesday announced that it is pursuing re-certification under the Marine Stewardship Council program.
Hoki was the world’s first major whitefish fishery, and the third fishery ever, to earn MSC certification in 2001; it was re-certified in 2006.
But there’s been some opposition from the environmental camp to the certification. In the past decade, the fishery has experienced numerous catch reductions, falling from a high of 250,000 metric tons in 2001 to just 89,000 metric tons in 2008. But proponents contended that the reductions represented responsible fisheries management at work, and now hoki stocks are on the rebound.
Last season’s fishery, which ended in September, produced close to 120,000 metric tons of hoki, and the quota for the 2011-12 season has been increased to 130,000 metric tons.
“New Zealand’s hoki fishery is recognized as one of the best sustainably managed trawl fisheries in the world. Independent verification of this through the MSC program is an integral part of our quality verification,” said George Clement, CEO of Deepwater Group. “The New Zealand hoki fishery was the third fishery ever to gain MSC certification back in 2001, and this has allowed us to benchmark our improvements and remain confident that our management practices continue to be world leading.”
“The news that the New Zealand hoki fishery is seeking re-assessment shows the MSC program is delivering solid benefits to the fishery and their decision to seek recertification is a great vote of confidence in what the MSC aims to achieve,” said Patrick Caleo, MSC manager ANZ. “Thanks largely to the effective management of the fishery by the New Zealand Ministry of Fisheries and the New Zealand fishing industry itself, this fishery has clearly demonstrated significant levels of stok recovery in recent years. Its stocks are now seen as being above the required levels for the fishery to be sustainable into the future, whih is a great result.