Welcome to the FryUp – a regular look back at the week of fishing in the news.
Double the primary exports
It’s Fieldays time again and so the Ministry for Primary Industries is talking up the future of all things edible. The goal – to double primary exports to $64 billion a year by 2025.
Currently we’re a way off that (expectations are we’ll hit $44 billion by June 2020) but the pressure is on to do more with our export earnings.
In the release, put out by MPI and picked up by a few business publications, there’s hardly a word about fisheries, so here at FryUp HQ we thought we’d have a crack at some ideas.
- Review the way the Quota Management System (QMS) operates and why commercial catch levels seem to be off-limits when it is obvious they need to be reset downwards. After all, a fishery that has been reduced from 100% to 10% of its original size has to be deemed depleted. But no, instead we hear it’s under a “management plan” so all is well, go back to your day jobs! Long term sustainability should be a key requirement but currently “long term” seems to be “this quarter”.
- Consider the role recreational fishing plays in tourism, after all, tourism is the fastest growing sector in New Zealand. Why do we allow a fish that can be worth thousands to a tourist to be sold off for one or two dollars per kilo! Is this a good use of our resource?
- Why don’t we try moving up the economic food chain and stop treating this resource as a commodity and start being a bit more value add?
They’re just suggestions of course, from a humble fisherman, but you don’t have to take our word for it – the New Zealand Initiative, an economic think tank, says much the same.
East Coast anger grows
Meanwhile, on the East Coast, locals are up in arms about the health and ongoing depletion of the Hawke’s Bay fisheries with the Council receiving a report from Dr Tim Haggitt, from marine and freshwater consultancy providing expert technical and advisory services ECoast, that maps out the current situation for the region’s coastal resources, and hopefully identifies a process to fill the gaps over time.
The Ministry for Primary Industries, the Department of Conservation, Ngāti Kahungunu Iwi Incorporated, commercial fishing interests and recreational fishing lobby group LegaSea Hawke’s Bay have been working together on the best ways to support the future management of the region’s coastal resources, according to the council.
Things have reached the point where former Hawke’s Bay councillor Neil Kirton has taken out full-page ads condemning the health of the Hawke’s Bay fisheries.
Labour MP Stuart Nash says fishing stocks are at “critical levels” and is calling for an urgent review of the situation.
HawkesBay.co.nz – Hawke’s Bay fish stocks back under the spotlight