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Fisheries Quota Increase to Generate Millions in Profit

01 October 2013

NEW ZEALAND - An increase in commercial fish stock quotas may help New Zealand boost its export earning by NZ $40 million.

New Zealand's earnings from seafood exports already stands at NZ$1.5 billion a year.

Hoki was the industry's trophy fish this year, netting a 20,000 tonne increase in catch limits ahead of the new fishing season which begins on October 1, reports DominionPost.

Ministry for Primary Industries analysis said this increase could land hoki exports a further NZ$33.8 million in export earnings, which would see it become New Zealand's most valuable seafood export.

Currently, rock lobster is the most valuable export at NZ$223 million a year, ahead of hoki which was worth NZ$195 million in 2012.

The new Total Allowable Commercial Catch (TACC) limit for hoki was increased to 150,000 tonnes overall.

Hoki stocks had shown six years of growth and 77.33 per cent of DeepWater Fisheries stakeholders, which own 92.4 per cent of the hoki quota, had supported a 20,000 tonne increase.

Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy said in a letter to stakeholders that the decisions had been made to reflect a desire to increase the benefits obtained from fisheries while ensuring sustainability.

"These decisions reflect the success of the Quota Management System, which is recognised as world leading.

"It is driven by science and responsive to change, which means that as stocks improve we can increase our sustainable take."

In his note to stakeholders Mr Guy said the 150,000 tonne TACC would continue to be split among the Western and Eastern stock sub sets, 90,000 tonnes of which would come from the Western.

Forest & Bird's Best Fish Guide for 2013 and 2014, which measures a fishery's impact on the environment, rated hoki as a "worst choice" for consumers.

Forest & Bird said hoki fishing's impact on its surrounding environment, including a bycatch of hundreds of fur seals, meant "the fishery has significant impacts on the seafloor, altering seabed communities".

New Zealand's hoki fisheries have Marine Stewardship Council certification, however, and it was one of the first in the world to receive recertification for the stock in 2007. This was renewed in August last year.

Increases in quota limits to some orange roughy and ling stocks were also implemented, which could potentially increase export earnings by NZ$3.7 million and NZ$3.55 million respectively.

Mr Guy said there had also been small increases in recreational allowances. The fishing industry generated about NZ$1.5 billion a year in export revenue and created many jobs, he said.

TheFishSite News Desk

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