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Accountability and sustainability - the seafood industry keeps its promise


The New Zealand seafood industry tonight launches the second year of a campaign that will reinforce the Promise made to the people of New Zealand in 2017.

Last year, the industry admitted not always getting it right but promised to continue to raise the bar around innovation, sustainability, transparency and environmental responsibility.

Seafood New Zealand chief executive, Tim Pankhurst, said the industry has a great story to tell and has made significant and genuine advances in all areas.

“We will continue to evolve and improve and, most importantly, we are prepared to be judged on our progress.

“This year, we have been going port to port highlighting the industry code of conduct that backed up the Promise made last year and in every port we have received unequivocal support for an industry with zero tolerance for bad behaviour or bad practises,” said Pankhurst.

The ports visited include Nelson, Greymouth, New Plymouth, Tauranga, Whitianga, Auckland Leigh, Gisborne, Timaru and Lyttleton, with Mangonui, Whangarei, Hawke’s Bay, Port Chalmers and Bluff scheduled in the next month.

“This is a different industry than even 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.

“Our people are genuinely committed to good environmental practise. 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 concern.

“Further, despite what some believe, the advent of cameras on vessels is not something the industry oppose. We certainly want them to be fit for purpose and welcome the delay while that is worked on, but we are committed to full transparency.

“Everywhere we go around New Zealand there are good people doing a good job. They are our people keeping our promise and we are happy to be judged on their actions,” said Pankhurst.

The Seafood New Zealand television and social media campaign begins this evening and once again features the men and women of the New Zealand seafood industry.

The campaign has two themes – sustainability and guardianship. “Some 97 percent of all the fish landed from New Zealand waters is from fish stocks certified as sustainable by the Ministry for Primary Industries’ scientists and the Quota Management System is held up as an international example of good practise.

“We are also very proud to be guardians of the resource. Maori are major players in the New Zealand seafood industry and have been guardians of the resource since well before European settlement.

“Their concept of kaitiakitanga is valued by non-Maori commercial fishers as well. In order for our business to prosper, the environment must too,” said Pankhurst.

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