“Our members are increasingly investing in new technology and changes to the design and operation of fishing gear to reduce unwanted catch.”
In most fisheries, the vast majority of catch is comprised of valued commercial species; this can vary among both fishing methods and fisheries. By-catch refers to catching fish that are unwanted and caught as a consequence of fishing for valuable commercial species. In this context, by-catch does not include the incidental capture of non-fish species such as seabirds or marine mammals.
In general, all species that are subject to the Quota Management System (QMS) must be landed and reported against the appropriate catch limits (including by-catch). Some exceptions apply to this general rule; for example, fishers are legally required to return some undersized fish to the sea and have the discretion to return some species in specified circumstances.
Our members are increasingly investing in new technology and changes to the design and operation of fishing gear to reduce unwanted catch; this may include species that are not desirable or selecting for specific fish sizes.
The most significant investment in new technology is a joint programme funded by three Fisheries Inshore New Zealand members, Moana NZ, Sanford, Sealord and the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) called Precision Seafood Harvesting.
Experiments in Hawke Bay to reduce catch of juvenile fish are being conducted in conjunction with NIWA and MPI.
Active use of “move-on” rules in the Northern snapper fishery when high numbers of juvenile snapper are encountered.
Use of larger mesh size in trawl nets around the South Island to reduce the catch of juvenile fish.
If the Minister considers that current management of a fish stock or species is
not sufficient to ensure its sustainability, it can be added to the QMS to ensure
more active management.