More than half of New Zealand’s seafood catch now MSC-certified

New Zealand’s seafood industry celebrated the country’s inaugural Sustainable Seafood Day with the announcement that more than half of the country’s total seafood production is now certified to the Marine Stewardship Council’s (MSC) sustainability standard.

Leaders from New Zealand’s seafood industry, including New Zealand Fisheries Minister Stuart Nash, Deepwater Group CEO George Clement, Sanford CEO Volker Kuntzsch, MSC Oceania Program Director Anne Gabriel, and NIWA Principal Scientist Matt Dunn, offered their insights on the sustainable seafood movement at a celebratory event to mark the occasion.

“MSC certification provides a tangible and credible way for consumers to purchase sustainable seafood,” Clement said.

Around 70 percent of New Zealand’s deepwater catch is certified, compared to a global rate of 12 percent, Clement said.

“The government and quota owners have demonstrated international leadership and commitment to ensure the performance of our deepwater fisheries meet the world’s highest standards for sustainability,” he said.

New Zealand has 18 fisheries comprised of eight species, which annually harvest around 230,000 metric tons certified to MSC’s standard, according to Gabriel. New Zealand MSC certified species include hoki, hake, ling, southern blue whiting, albacore tuna, orange roughy, skipjack tuna, and Ross Sea toothfish.

“MSC facilitates a conversation among the different stakeholders, providing transparency and disclosure” Gabriel said.

Nash celebrated New Zealand’s commitment to sustainable fisheries and MSC's approach to certifying sustainable practices. He praised MSC’s ecosystem-based approach of assessing the performance of each fishery against their internationally recognized standard

“MSC's vision of the world’s oceans teeming with life, and seafood supplies safeguarded for this and future generations’ is relevant to and aligns with expectations of New Zealanders and is what we aim to deliver as Fisheries New Zealand,” Nash said.

Kuntzsch, who was a member of the Unilever team that, along with WWF, helped develop MSC 20 years ago, applauded "the long and successful journey of sustainable fisheries in New Zealand.” 

Kuntzsch said he was involved in 2001 when hoki first received MSC certification and that New Zealand’s reputation for sustainable practices attracted him to work in the country’s seafood industry.

In conjunction with the event, the MSC announced that draft reports on the reassessments of New Zealand’s hake, hoki, ling, and southern blue whiting fisheries have been released for public comment. MSC said the assessors of all three fisheries concluded that each should be recertified without remedial conditions.


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