The Snapper 1 fishery (SNA1) is the largest and most important shared fishery in New Zealand; it is highly valued by the customary, recreational and commercial sectors.
Commercials fishers, quota owners and Licensed Fish Receivers formed a group in 2013 called SNA 1 Commercial, which represents 95% of the commercial fishers in SNA1, to work collectively with the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) on a joint work plan to safeguard and enhance snapper stocks.
The public raised concerns about aspects of commercial fishing activity during MPI’s review of the SNA1 fishery in 2013. To dispel and address those concerns, and recognise the need for better data and increased transparency to more effectively manage the fishery, SNA 1 Commercial sought MPI’s support to voluntarily put cameras on commercial vessels.
In 2014 the Snapper One Electronic Monitoring (EM) Programme was put in place as a 6-month trial representing a partnership between SNA 1 Commercial and MPI. Subsequently a three-year programme commenced in January 2016 at a cost of $3 million, the costs of which are covered by snapper quota owners.
There are now 18 trawl vessels being monitored in the Snapper 1 area around the Bay of Plenty, Hauraki Gulf and the east coast of Northland.
The second voluntary component of the SNA 1 EM programme is a GPS (Global Positioning Systems) based vessel tracking system called Snapper One Vessel Monitoring Programme which collects data from 70 vessels around the Bay of Plenty, Hauraki Gulf and the east coast of Northland.
At the end of 2016, fishers initiated a third voluntary programme called Snapper One and Bluenose One EM Camera Programme, also known as the “Black Petrel project”. This work uses cameras on 12 long line vessels to monitor any accidental captures of seabirds on commercial fishing hooks during the Black Petrel breeding season.
SNA 1 Commercial’s leadership in implementing at-sea technology solutions predates MPI’s decision to develop an Integrated Electronic Monitoring and Reporting System (IEMRS). These programmes have allowed for technical and practical issues associated with at-sea technology to be addressed.
The substantial increase in fishery monitoring has also provided more data which has enabled more informed decisions and greater fisheries management in the snapper 1 fishery as well as transparency for other sectors who share the fishery.
To learn more about SNA 1 Commercial and its voluntary programmes click here.
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