Talley’s Amaltal Explorer embarks from Nelson tomorrow with leading edge technology on board to assess orange roughy stocks off the West Coast and bottom of the South Island.

The two areas to be surveyed have been closed to orange roughy fishing since 1998 to encourage numbers to rebuild to a healthy and optimum level.

These surveys will investigate whether the two fish stocks have rebuilt in size or whether they require further resting.

The New Zealand seafood industry is committed to the sustainable use of New Zealand orange roughy, says Deepwater Group Chief Executive George Clement.

“To achieve this we use robust science, new technologies, and our long-standing relationship with Australia’s Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO).

“We have been working with CSIRO since 1998 to develop a world leading multi-frequency Acoustic Optical System (AOS), which allows scientists to use video and acoustics to better understand and to count the number of orange roughy in our waters.”

The New Zealand Seafood industry has invested in its own AOS with CSIRO contracted to provide services to support and further develop the technology, Mr Clement says.

“Seventy four percent of New Zealand’s deep water seafood production is certified sustainable by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC), the gold-star for sustainable seafood,” George Clement says.

The performance of our three largest orange roughy fisheries are being assessed against the MSC standard.

“Our science programme aims to progress the other orange roughy fisheries through MSC as well.

“Where orange roughy stock sizes have fallen below the management targets, measures have been introduced to maintain or rebuild stock sizes.”

Fisheries closures have proven successful in other orange roughy fisheries, such as the Challenger Plateau and Chatham Rise. These orange roughy stocks are now estimated to be at healthy and optimum levels.