You might think we go on a bit about science here at Seafood NZ but it's critical to what we do.

Science helps us to show the power and potential of our seafood, it enables us to manage fisheries effectively and to understand the true impact we have on the ocean and how to minimise it.  

Without science we are far more likely to lose it all.  

At Seafood NZ it is our firm view that accurate data and robust science are the right tools for decision making about our oceans and how we manage our fisheries.  

Science, as we all know, can be seen as both friend and foe. We often see science misinterpreted, or even weaponised, to tell a distorted story about the work we do. We spoke about this in an update back in November 2023 after NIWA released some science looking at how much carbon is stored in our ocean. 

In that same update we also made it clear that we know more science is needed. As an industry we want to keep having conversations about where we fish and how. We have already prohibited bottom contact fishing in 30% of New Zealand’s waters to protect the seabed. We are also investigating new fishing technology to reduce our impact. 

We’re not saying “nothing to see here.” Far from it. We welcome the extra transparency that good science can bring. And we know there is always room for improvement. But what we do want people to know is that science shows us that things are much better out there in our fisheries than they’re often made out to be. In fact, our industry has a lot to be proud of.  

So today we are sharing a new video that pulls together some of the key science about fishing in one place.  

It shows how fish is a big deal worldwide – it’s hugely popular (humans consume about 20 kilograms of fish per person every year), it’s a healthy source of protein and is filled with other goodies too and it’s important for economies worldwide.  

Our overall impact on the ocean is actually quite small. A 2019 study showed that the big problems for oceans are caused by climate change, which leads to rising water temperatures, ocean acidification and sea level rises. Run off from the land is also a serious problem. Where is commercial fishing placed in terms of impacts? Down the minor end. 

And our carbon footprint is good too. Study after study has shown that greenhouse gas emissions from fish production are much smaller than from red meat, cheese and several other types of protein.  

We also play a part in making sure the number of fish in our oceans is on the up. Abundance assessments from the United Nations show that from the 1970s till around the turn of the century, global fish stocks were declining, while fishing pressure was increasing. But since the early 2000s the situation has changed. Fishing pressure has been declining and fish populations are increasing. 

It is our duty to understand the science that is available to us, to communicate it well, and to use it to do a better job. We, those who work in the seafood industry, need to be champions of science. We encourage you to keep these simple but scientifically true facts in mind so you can drop them into conversation when and wherever possible.  

The video linked below was pulled together by the Global Seafood Communicators Group – it tells a powerful story – one that we can tell proudly, because there is science to support it: Fishing & Science: getting the facts, not the flap

To us, science is golden and Seafood New Zealand will continue to advocate for more of it.