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Celebrating 30 years of sound science and prudent fisheries management

Wednesday 12 October 2016

George Clement, Chairman Seafood New Zealand

Prudent stewardship of our fisheries, underpinned by sound science are the cornerstones of the QMS. As John Connelly, President of the National Fisheries Institute, United States of America, says good fisheries decisions start with good science.

The Ministry for Primary Industries has decades of peer-reviewed science that show steady and increasing levels of abundance in each of our main fish stocks. Of the 157 stocks of known status in New Zealand, 83 per cent are above the sustainable limits set by Government.

This is 97 per cent of our annual catch of more than 420,000 tonnes. As someone who has been involved with the QMS since its inception, I have personally observed great progress in New Zealand’s fisheries management and innovations in science to support this.

Hoki as a good example of how fisheries stocks fluctuate, how science can be used to monitor and model these changes and, in combination with responsive management, how this results in a productive and sustainable fishery. The hoki fisheries were the first in New Zealand, and the first whitefish fishery in the world, to achieve the prestigious Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certification for sustainability in 2001 and has remained certified for 15 years.

Over the following pages you will read more about the science and fisheries management measures that sit behind the success of the QMS. But this isn’t about resting on our laurels, while celebrating our success, we are very focused on the future and constantly bringing in new improvements.

Industry and the Ministry for Primary Industries are developing improved trawl harvesting techniques, improved scientific assessments, improved monitoring methods and improved assurances for our customers, so that they can continue to buy our sustainable seafood with confidence.

In 2015 Industry accepted the Government’s aspirational goal of doubling export revenues by 2025 and we are on the growth path to achieve this. 

Footnote: George Clement played a key role in the development and implementation of New Zealand’s Quota Management System (QMS) between 1983 and 1987 while working in the Fisheries Management Division for the former Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries (MAF).

He had a direct involvement with the development of the original concepts, the policies and legislation, was the lead person in consultation with industry and with the implementation and early operation of the QMS, both within government and subsequently in his various roles within industry.

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