Deepwater Discard Rate Less than 7 Per Cent

21 March 2016, at 12:00am

NEW ZEALAND - Reports produced by New Zealand's National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA) show that less than seven per cent of New Zealands total deepwater catch is discarded, Seafood New Zealands Chief Executive Tim Pankhurst said.

This figure, based on thorough analyses of independent Government observer records, discredits claims elsewhere that the annual total catches could be more than double what are being officially reported, he says.

“Some media reports on the draft results include input from Auckland Business School Research Fellow Dr Glenn Simmons. Their analysis assumed discard rates of 20-50 per cent in recent years.

“The observer-based estimates by New Zealand’s reputable science body, NIWA, shows that for every kilogram of reported deepwater target catch, 0.07 kg is estimated to be discarded. We note that New Zealand law requires all discarded catch to be reported.

“NIWA have analysed observer and vessel reported catch data spanning the 22 year period 1991-2013, for six of the main deepwater fisheries, and estimated a discard rate of 6.6 per cent, not 20-50 per cent,” he said.

In the last five years of data for key target fisheries analysed, the discard rate dropped to 4.1 per cent.

Discards are all fish (target and non-target) or invertebrates that are returned to the sea whole, for a variety of reasons, during fishing. Estimates of quantities of fish lost from the net at the surface or during retrieval are included as discards in NIWA's analyses, Mr Pankhurst said.

Deepwater fisheries comprise around 80 per cent of New Zealand’s total annual catch.

For more details, click this link to NIWA's data.