Update: Maersk clarifies position

Maersk on Friday released a statement clarifying that it still accepts all seafood shipments from New Zealand made in accordance with local legislation.

"Maersk is currently reviewing its policy with regard to the future acceptance of seafood shipments and will undertake this review in conjunction with all stakeholders," said the company. "In the meantime, the current acceptance policy remains in place."

On Thursday, Greenpeace-New Zealand and New Zealand's Green Party claimed in a press release that the Danish company, the world's largest container-shipping company, will no longer carry shark, orange roughy and Chilean sea bass (Patagonian toothfish) as part of its new sustainable seafood policy.

Sanford Ltd., the New Zealand Seafood Industry Council and New Zealand Ministry of Fisheries all applauded Maersk's refusal to deliver seafood species threatened by overfishing or illegal, unregulated and unreported (IUU) fishing. Sanford also called the decision "bizarre" and questioned how Maersk would determine what product is from an IUU fishery and what product is not, already a challenge for governments. "We will be looking with interest to see how Maersk intends to deal with this," said Sanford in a statement.

All three organizations pointed out that New Zealand's fisheries are among the world's best managed. The World Bank, a study published in the journal Science and report published in the journal Marine Policy all ranked New Zealand's fisheries management among the world's most effective, if not the most effective.

The country's orange roughy catch limits have been reduced by nearly 40 percent in the past five years to protect the species from overfishing, and the Ross Sea Antarctic toothfish fishery is among the world's "most effectively managed fisheries," according to the New Zealand Ministry of Fisheries.

What's more, New Zealand is pushing to get its fisheries certified by the Marine Stewardship Council as well managed and sustainable; the country's hoki fishery has carried the MSC eco-label since 2001.


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