Major commercial fish stocks bouncing back in NZ

By

Sean Murphy, SeafoodSource online editor

Published on
August 19, 2015

Stocks of many commercial species, including orange roughy, are on the rise and doing well in New Zealand waters, according to one government advisor.

Pamela Mace, principal advisor fisheries science with the New Zealand Ministry for Primary Industries, gave an update on the status of New Zealand’s marine fisheries at the New Zealand Seafood Industry Conference this week.

“New Zealand’s fisheries are performing extremely well overall, at least as good as or beyond the standard of the best in the world,” she said.

Around 83 percent of individual fish stocks of known status and 96 percent of landings of known status are “above or well above” sustainable levels, she said. “New Zealanders should be really proud of this result.”

Among other species, Mace cited both major New Zealand hoki stocks, which have been growing for eight years straight. They have risen so high, she said, that in 2015 stocks hit a level beyond the management target range.

Mace also had good news on three orange roughy stocks, which have been increasing in size since the 1980s and are near or within target ranges.

Mace credited the government’s quota management system, established in 1986, and harvest energy standard of 2008 for the stock increases. She also acknowledged that more work still needs to be done.

“We also need to acknowledge that things aren’t perfect, and to show that we are striving continually to grow and improve,” she said. “One way to do this is to increase our research effort in order to gain knowledge about the status of more of our fish stocks, and to be able to demonstrate this to our markets and the rest of the world.”

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