He was commenting on an announcement that fishing companies Aotearoa Fisheries, Sanford and Leigh Fish are stepping up their efforts to bring greater transparency into the inshore fleet.
The companies are some of the first to commit to fitting vessel monitoring systems (VMS) on all vessels within their fleets that are part of the snapper fishery operating on the east coast of the North Island from the far north to the bottom of the Bay of Plenty.
Vessels catching more than five tonnes of snapper annually are having VMS fitted before October this year.
The technology allows for increased understanding of the fishery to enable prompt industry responses to fisheries management needs, including fluctuations in numbers of fish.
“The New Zealand fishing industry is committed to having the world’s best managed fisheries. We’ve been recognised as fisheries management leaders internationally, and we’re committed to remaining at the front.
"Industry is making significant investments in the latest science and technologies to ensure that is has the right fisheries data and the latest technologies to ensure our fisheries are well managed and sustainable for generations to come.
“This VMS system for the snapper fleet is a very good example of industry taking the lead and investing in a tool that can be used to better manage the fishery,” Tim Pankhurst says.
In addition to this use of VMS in the snapper fishery, the paua industry is planning to add VMS capability to its vessels and divers, building on its existing programme to capture fisheries data electronically.
“VMS is just another example of New Zealand’s science-based fisheries management that has evolved over 30 years, providing consumers with confidence that their seafood comes from a sustainably managed source,” Tim Pankhurst says.