Fishing hopes to lift industry image
A fishing code developed by major fishing companies is being rolled out across 14 ports as the industry looks to lift its image when it comes to protecting the marine environment.
Seafood New Zealand chief executive Tim Pankhurst said the code represented simple rules about how it expected the industry to behave.
‘‘Most skippers are already complying with them. In 2017 we conceded that the industry had not always got it right, but it was determined to do better. The industry, over past few years, has made huge strides in environmental care, protection of endangered species, and transparency.
‘‘The code of conduct is not just a document to gather dust. We want it in every wheelhouse and boardroom in the country and that is why we are travelling the country to reinforce the importance of the code to skippers everywhere.
The commercial fishing industry has come under heat from environmental campaigners concerned about sea life, including thousands of birds, being killed in commercial fishing nets every year.
Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) figures show a dozen whales, two orca, six hectors dolphins and thousands of seals have been caught by commercial fishing vessels in New Zealand waters since 2013 as well as nearly 10,500 seabirds.
Pankhurst said the fishing industry had made much progress since a few years ago.
‘‘The strides in innovation are significant. Initiatives such as precision seafood harvesting, which delivers exceptional quality fish through a world-class handling process, and the acoustic optical system, which targets particular species up to a kilometre down, are world-leading,’’ said Pankhurst.
‘‘Bird mitigation methods are mandatory and we work closely with government agencies to minimise endangered species captures. In many cases the industry has voluntarily removed itself from areas of con- cern. Further, despite what some believe, the advent of cameras on vessels is not something the industry oppose.’’
The code was endorsed at a meeting in Lyttleton. The industry would report annually.
A fishing code has the support of major fishing companies.