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Twenty-Two Per Cent Increase in NZ Hoki Catch

NEW ZEALAND - The New Zealand Seafood Industry Council describes a 22 per cent increase in hoki catch as 'business as usual'. Two fisheries face small quota reductions this year: orange roughy on the eastern Chatham Rise and black cardinal on the east coast of the North Island.

'Business as usual' is how the New Zealand Seafood Industry describes the Minister of Fisheries' decision to increase the commercial catch limits for hoki this year by 20,000 tonnes, said the seafood industry's DeepWater Group chief executive, George Clement.

"We welcome the Minister of Fisheries' decision as sensible and one that reflects the long term management targets. Of course we're pleased the increased western stock size allows for an increase in catches – that's good for business. Equally, when recruitment of young hoki into the western stock was low and the stock size declined we supported catch reductions. This approach might cause short term economic pain, but we are here for the long term. Catching only what is sustainable is the best outcome for both business and the fisheries."

Recent international research (Worm et al) published in the journal Science this year included assessments of a number of New Zealand fisheries, including hoki fisheries. The research by 21 fisheries scientists and marine ecologists gave New Zealand's fisheries the highest possible rating for ecologically sustainably managed fisheries. One of the two lead authors, Dr Boris Worm, made the news four years ago with a study that concluded many of the major large fish species would be gone from the world's oceans by 2048 if management practices did not change. His latest follow-up study had a more positive conclusion and one that cast New Zealand's fisheries management practices in the spotlight with Alaska's fisheries as examples for the rest of the world.

Dr Worm said that he looked forward to celebrating his birthday in 2048 with a seafood party.

Two New Zealand fisheries face small quota reductions this year. These are orange roughy on the eastern Chatham Rise (ORH3B) and black cardinal on the east coast of the North Island (CDL2).

Mr Clement commented: "The eastern Chatham Rise orange roughy fishery remains the largest and longest standing orange roughy fishery in the world. The government and industry are committed to ensure its sustainability. New information indicates an annual harvest of 4.5 per cent of the stock, rather than around six per cent as previously, will enhance this outcome. This is the second of three agreed reductions and the industry supports the Minister's decision.

"This is evidence of care and responsibility being practised by the industry and government to manage fisheries realistically and to effectively balance the needs for sustainable use."

the Fish Site Editor

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