Boating NZ - - Boat World -

For­est & Bird is wel­com­ing a fish­ing in­dus­try com­mit­ment to re­duce the West Coast hoki quota by 22%, but is wor­ried it may have come too late.

“For years we’ve known that warmer sea tem­per­a­tures mean less suc­cess­ful breed­ing for hoki,” says For­est & Bird’s chief con­ser­va­tion ad­viser Kevin Hack­well.

Hack­well says that in the late 1990s and early 2000s, when sea tem­per­a­tures warmed over the main hoki breed­ing grounds off south West­land, sci­en­tists warned that hoki stocks were go­ing to col­lapse due to poor breed­ing.

“Back then, the in­dus­try fought tooth and nail to re­tain their quota lev­els rather than re­spond re­spon­si­bly to a chang­ing en­vi­ron­ment. What hap­pened? The hoki fish­ery plum­meted, as pre­dicted.”

Dur­ing the early 2000s, For­est & Bird fought against the Ma­rine Stew­ard­ship Coun­cil’s ‘green tick’ cer­ti­fi­ca­tion of hoki be­cause the fish­ery was col­laps­ing, and the in­dus­try was mak­ing things worse by op­pos­ing moves to re­duce its catch lev­els.

“We there­fore com­mend the in­dus­try for tak­ing a dif­fer­ent ap­proach this time. How­ever, the worry is that the vol­un­tary cuts may not be enough to main­tain the hoki stocks if the breed­ing has failed.”

Hack­well says this is a stark re­minder of the re­al­ity of cli­mate change as we con­tinue to have record warm years.

“Cli­mate change is hav­ing big im­pacts on our nat­u­ral en­vi­ron­ment, and there­fore our key pri­mary in­dus­tries and there­fore on peo­ple’s liveli­hoods. To pro­tect na­ture and peo­ple, it’s crit­i­cal we do all we can to keep warm­ing to no more than 1.5 de­grees, and this means mak­ing big emis­sions cuts, now.”

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