International research highlights New Zealand’s fisheries as exceptional

Press Release by the New Zealand Seafood Industry Council, 31 July 2009.

New Zealand's status as a world-leader in ecologically sustainable fisheries has been endorsed by the independent, international research launched today, says New Zealand Seafood Industry Council CEO Owen Symmans.

New Zealand is singled out in the research (‘Rebuilding Global Fisheries' published in the international journal Science) as an area where eco-systems have never been overfished and are effectively managed.

"The research clearly shows that New Zealand has successfully managed its fisheries for ecological sustainability - and this is exceptional," Mr Symmans said.

According to the authors' media release New Zealand and Alaska have led the world in terms of management success by not waiting until drastic measures are needed to conserve, restore and re-build resources.

"I think all New Zealanders can be very proud of the international recognition for the state of our fisheries and ecosystems and the way we responsibly manage them.  It has been an effective collaboration between industry, government and the nation." 

By implementing a very effective regime that manages exploitation [taking fish out of the water], the Quota Management System, we have avoided over-fishing eco-systems in the first place, Mr Symmans said. 

"That is why we are one of only two areas that this research gave the highest ‘green' rating in the research paper. This reflects responsible and collaborative management of exploitation rates."

The research, a collaboration between scientists internationally, but led by Dr Boris Worm and Professor Ray Hilborn is itself a keen example of ecologists and fisheries scientist coming together from opposite sides of the issue to work towards a shared purpose, Mr Symmans said.

"When we all recognise the importance of balancing the need for seafood for our health and economic well-being alongside the need for ecological sustainability, the results can be powerful.  The New Zealand model is a world-leading example of that."

Mr Symmans said that this was not a ‘finish line'. 

"This is an ongoing commitment and there is no room for resting on our laurels."

Source: http://www.seafoodindustry.co.nz/310709

The below 3-part video essay by Ray Hilborn highlights a lot of the history behind New Zealand's fisheries.

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3