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Hoki fishery in good shape

Monday 20 July 2015

Contributing $205m in exports last year, the rise can be partially attributed to the government's decision to increase hoki catch from 150,000 to 160,000 tonnes. The increase was made possible by promising stock assessments showing stock were at, or above, the level necessary to produce a maximum sustainable yield.

And the industry is taking notice, with Sealord purchasing the Ocean Dawn, a Sealord's Ocean Dawn, a 63-metre freezer factory ship. 63-metre freezer factory ship in April 2014 following the increased quota.

Sealord Fishing General Manager Doug Paulin said the decision was a reflection of Sealord's confidence in the sustainability of hoki.

"The investment is substantial at close to $20m and underlines Sealord's confidence that hoki is one of the world's most sustainable white fish species with considerable upside in the future in both value and catch," he said.

The confidence goes further, with plans to improve the on-board factory, upgrade crew quarters and even the addition of a gym for crew. Hoki already makes up around half of Sealord's revenue. Hoki is recognised as one of the most sustainably managed in the world and was the first white fish species to be certified through the global Marine Stewardship Council in 2001. The programme, which constitutes the gold standard for international sustainability, has now certified the fish three times, with the last recertification being objection free.

Seafood New Zealand chief executive Tim Pankhurst is equally confident.

"As an example of healthy fisheries, you only need to look at hoki, one of our largest fisheries," he said. Internationally accepted as a prime white fish with white flaky flesh, hoki has the added advantage of being quick growing, reaching up to 27cm within one year. Hoki begin breeding at around five years of age and can live for between 20 and 25 years. Each year across New Zealand only around 10 per cent of the adult population are caught.

Ged Cann 

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