Orange roughy above the northern Chatham Rise. (Photo: NIWA)
Encouraging findings for orange roughy and southern blue whiting
Monday, June 25, 2012, 05:50 (GMT + 9)
The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) has discovered a new group of orange roughy and a southern blue whiting population that has reached a historic high, according to the latest Fisheries Assessment Plenary report.
Pamela Mace, MPI’s principal fisheries science advisor, said the report shows a new and robust group of orange roughy on the Chatham Rise which has led to an upward revision of the stock’s status.
Southern blue whiting is a factory fish that can be filleted easily and cooked in various ways. Generating products worth around NZD 22 million (USD 17.5 million) a year, it makes fish cakes, balls and a high-quality ground fish meal, Fairfax NZ News reports.
“The reports are publicly available, so anyone can see what the science is showing about New Zealand’s fish stocks,” said Mace.
All stocks in New Zealand’s Quota Management System are managed for long-term sustainability and lower catch limits are proposed if a fish stock is found to be declining.
The information is based on science work commissioned by MPI.
“We have been striving to continually improve the information content and utility of the reports. For example, this year a system ranking the quality of scientific information has been included for the first time,” Mace stated.
However, the snapper stock on the northeast coast of the North Island is now estimated to be doing worse than expected.
“There appears to have been a general increase over the past 10–20 years, but preliminary results this year indicate that further rebuilding is still needed,” explained Mace. “MPI is commissioning some further scientific investigation of this.”
Moreover, the paua stock on the north coast of the South Island seems to be in need of rebuilding, she added.
Other key findings in the May Report include:
- Both stocks of hoki (eastern and western) have continued to grow in size over the past six straight years and both are now within their target range.
- Southern blue whiting on the Campbell Island Rise is estimated to be well above its management target and is currently at a historic high.
- Gurnard around the east and south coasts of the South Island was assessed to be very likely to be above its management target, and on the west coast of the South Island the trawl survey estimate for 2011 has been the highest recorded since 1992.
- The trawl survey estimate for John dory off the west coast of the South Island has also been the highest recorded since 1992.
- Elephantfish populations around the east coast of the South Island appear to have fully rebuilt, and around the south coast of the South Island they have been continually rising since the mid-1990s.
MPI fisheries managers are now looking at the status assessments and determining if management changes should be proposed.
- Blue whiting fishery obtains MSC certification
By Natalia Real