Fishing for southern blue whiting at the Bounty Platform has been given a significant boost.
The Total Allowable Commercial Catch (TACC) for SBW 6B has been raised from 2,377 tonnes to 3,145 tonnes – an increase of 32 percent.
Two options were presented by the Ministry for Primary Industries during a public consultation period in January and early-February; Option 1 to keep the TACC at the status quo and Option 2 the increase.
After considering the available information and the submissions received, MPI recommended Option 2 as this “best utilises the increase in biomass while ensuring sustainability.”
Option 1 was supported by the Environment and Conservation Organisations of NZ.
Deepwater Group Ltd, Sealord Group Limited and the Iwi Collective Partnership supported Option 2.
Deepwater Group chief executive George Clement said the increase was the result of an acoustic survey in September last year.
“The survey indicated biomass had increased since 2016 on the back of a strong year class recruiting into the fishery,” Clement said.
Sealord general manager Doug Paulin said the company had considered both options.
“As a long-term quota holder Sealord understands the variable nature of the fishery where fluctuations in biomass occur,” Paulin said.
“For this reason, Sealord supports Option 2 to move the TACC from 2,355 t to 3,145 t to take advantage of a period of higher recruitment noting this increase will still allow the stock to sit around the management target level.”
Southern blue whiting has been Marine Stewardship Council certified sustainable since 2012.