Hey Stuart Nash Maui’s Dolphins are approaching extinction

Written By: - Date published: 2:16 pm, February 15th, 2018 - 74 comments
Categories: Conservation, Environment, sustainability - Tags: , ,

Christine Rose posted in November 2017 her concerns about Minister of Fisheries Stuart Nash wanting to delay the roll out of cameras on fishing boats to monitor what they were catching. She described the background in the following terms:

Maui and Hector’s dolphins, found only here in New Zealand, have the dubious status of being among the world’s rarest. They’re the symbol of all the bad we’re doing to the oceans. But worst of all known threats to these tiny dolphins are fishing related impacts, when they get caught and drown.

The Department of Conservation has a long list of incidents with Maui and Hector’s dolphins killed in nets, right up to the present day. Historically both recreational and commercial nets did the damage, but these days it’s mostly trawling that’s killing the dolphins. Probably only a few of the actual dead dolphins are reported, but some have washed up, eviscerated, partially weighted, in failed illicit disposal attempts. Others would never be found.

Research from the University of Auckland Business School shows that at least 2.7 times more fish was caught in the New Zealand fishery from 1950-2010, than reported. News last week focussed on penguin populations off Southland being destroyed by trawling. New Zealand Sea Lions are hanging on for dear life because of entrapment in squid nets. Seabird by-catch is untold.

Under pressure from these sorts of facts the government has planned to implement electronic video monitoring systems on the NZ fishing fleet. The National Government also promised an increase in fisheries observer coverage up to 100% in ‘core’ Maui dolphin habitat by 2017. So far, to protect these critically endangered dolphins, observer coverage is at about 18%, at the cost of reduced observer coverage elsewhere.

Electronic monitoring has been supported to achieve ‘’100%” observer coverage. This has been defended by even National Party Ministers and MPs, who have seen it would ‘rebuild trust and confidence’ in the fishing industry, and have a deterrent effect on illegal practices. On the other hand, Glen Simmons from the University of Auckland said that if the true cost of overfishing and by-catch was considered, many in the fishing fleet would be out of business, so widespread are transgressions. The fishing industry itself hasn’t been so keen on full transparency, with fishing interests calling for a ‘pause’ on the camera implementation.

She concluded by saying this:

In the absence of a comprehensive observer coverage programme; but in light of unsustainable dumping and by-catch of non-target species including endangered dolphins, sea lions, and seabirds; a culture of obfuscation in MPI; and self-regulation and capture by the fishing industry, a resolute approach from the Minister is required.

In citing fishing sector privacy and cost concerns rather than addressing the issues that would make the video monitoring more robust, Minister Nash appears to have been quickly won over by vested interests in the fishing industry. His decision to ‘pause’ the programme, echoing the words of fishing representatives, puts the industry, the enforcement regime, the dolphins, and the Government’s reputation, at risk.

I had hoped that the November decision was just a pause for the Minister to catch his breath and then proceed with a scheme which is that conservative even National agreed to it. But there are worries that Nash is wanting to finish the scheme. As reported by Idiot Savant Nash is considering canning the roll out of cameras, not just delaying it.

From Radio New Zealand:

The government is considering scrapping the rollout of cameras on commercial fishing vessels altogether.

Fisheries Minister Stuart Nash said many in the fishing industry were unhappy with the camera proposal and all options were on the table – including dumping it entirely.

One of Mr Nash’s first moves when he became the Fisheries Minister was to put the brakes on the rollout of electronic monitoring of the commercial fishing fleet.

The former National government came up with the plan last year, saying it would protect the sustainability of fish stocks and act as a deterrent against illegal activity, like fish dumping.

But Mr Nash said National forced it upon the sector, and he was getting advice from officials on what should be done.

“There are certainly concerns in the industry that there hasn’t been a proper process followed and a complete and utter lack of consultation.

“That does seem to be the prevailing attitude but we haven’t made any final decision on that,” he said.

Mr Nash said ditching the programme entirely was one of the options being considered.

“We could continue the project as it is, we could delay it – at the extreme we could dump it.”

There are rational voices who are worried about how well the new system would work. But the problem is there are probably less than 55 Mauis dolphins left. And if nothing else the deterrence effect that cameras offer will hopefully delay further deaths. Doing nothing should not be an option. The status quo will mean a gradual slide to extinction.

As said by Christine Rose:

The electronic monitoring isn’t perfect. It can be turned off, obstructed or obscured. The recorded information is to be analysed by a consortium of fishing interests. There are fears that video evidence might not always be admissible in court. Refinements are needed to improve reliability, security and transparency. But it’s better than the alternative, mostly nothing. Either way, more observer coverage is essential for sustainability of fish stocks and associated ecosystems, not less.

The strange system where a Fishing Industry controlled organisation monitors the cameras needs to be reviewed. The head company includes amongst its shareholders one of the Tally brothers, well known for his largesse to various political campaigns. Allowing an industry to monitor itself is bound to fail.

So I think it important that the camera installation continues. No doubt there will be problems but it will at least deter fishing boats from engaging in illegal practices. And if this is insufficient then gill nets should be banned. Maui’s dolphins are facing extinction and we need to do whatever we can to ensure their survival.

Reprinted from gregpresland.com.

74 comments on “Hey Stuart Nash Maui’s Dolphins are approaching extinction”

  1. Puckish Rogue 1

    Wonder why this happening, its not like its anything to do with Winston telling Labour how high to jump

  2. Enough is Enough 2

    This has Winston written all over it.

    • alwyn 2.1

      “This has Winston written all over it”
      I’ll bet there isn’t anything about it that Winston has put in writing.
      That can end up as evidence against you and Winston is smart enough to stick to the nudge, nudge, wink, wink stratagem.

  3. DoublePlusGood 3

    Way too many people in parliament paid for by this industry.
    What really should be done is a total ban on commercial fishing in the range of Maui’s Dolphins.

  4. David Mac 4

    I like reading what regular commenter Stuart has to say on this subject. I can only imagine what it’s like to spend a week on a trawler and what actually goes on, he is the horse’s mouth.

    I lived on the Baltic Sea close to the Sweden’s Forsmark Nuclear Reactor for several years. They had big holding ponds where the water that had cooled the reactor got back to mean Baltic temps. They employed people to look after a colony of about a dozen seals, a PR exercise, schoolkids named the new pups, plant tours included a visit etc.

    A friend of a friend was a herring fisherman. As far as Hasse was concerned the climbing Baltic seal population was ruining his livelihood. So much time, money and effort invested in the Forsmark seals yet when netted, Hasse said he used to cut seals’ throats and push them overboard.

    I’m not sure I buy this ‘No cameras on fishing boats because it’s too expensive and complicated to do’ story. When I walk down Queen St, someone is watching me via CCTV the whole time. For a few hundred dollars, I can push a button and be having a face to face conversation with my 600kms away Dad.

    • Stuart Munro 4.1

      There are a lot of issues that have to be considered where fisheries meet conservation, and unfortunately the history is that many are not handled maturely. This rightly aggrieves the conservationists, who then become less than accommodating of industry aims.

      I’ll comment a little more further down, but the NZ fur seal population is thriving fisheries bycatch notwithstanding, and the Hooker’s sealion appears to be too. When I did my first hoki season in 1982 we never saw a seal, nowadays schools of them is the rule. This is also evident from the abundance of internal parasites in hoki, which once were rare also. If the populations head for pre-European levels there will be increasing numbers of encounters, not all friendly, and they will impact fisheries – though their preference in food is chiefly squid. Seal catches can be reduced but not eliminated, and on larger boats fishing in shallower waters they generally come aboard dead. It is other species that are more exposed to population risk from fishing, especially albatrosses and dolphins.

      • David Mac 4.1.1

        Thanks for taking the time Stu. Yes, when conservationists and fishing interests are at each other’s throats, nobody can speak.

    • I’m not sure I buy this ‘No cameras on fishing boats because it’s too expensive and complicated to do’ story.

      It’s not hard and it’s not complicated. It’s just that the people screwing over our environment don’t want it to be there because they don’t want to be held responsible for their actions.

      That would be the greed of capitalism coming to the fore again.

      • David Mac 4.2.1

        Greed is a sin we all wrestle with. Some want to hog money, I can’t have 2 chocolates and put the lid back on the box…I pig out.

    • savenz 4.3

      I thought the right wing mantra was, “nothing to hide, nothing to fear” . sarcasm.

      Not when it comes to conservation however it’s more “nothing to see, nothing to know about”.

  5. One Anonymous Bloke 5

    The only excuse for cancelling the roll-out is if there’s a better roll-out that can be implemented in the same time-frame.

    Criminal penalties in regard to tampering with or obscuring cameras, up to and including forfeiture of business assets, and jail-time for the skippers and crucially, owners and board members of companies involved. That sort of thing.

    Also, strip him of his knighthood.

    Not going to happen under this government. Those blaming Peters should consider that Nash is further right than he is.

    • Puckish Rogue 5.1

      Well I fully expect the Greens will be on top of this as usual

      Just kidding they’ll do what Winston tells them to do…as usual

    • David Mac 5.2

      I think it’s safe to assume that ex businessman Stuart Nash, minister for fisheries, revenue and small business has a glass of blue with his plate of red.

      I agree re: Talley’s knighthood worthiness. With most knights of the realm we occasionally read of a generous humanitarian gesture, even nasty old bastard Bob Jones. With this dude, every time I read his name he’s associated with shafting people.

      There is an ad on TV at the moment that features NZ’s oldest surf lifesaver. As a young guy he saw a man drown and could do nothing. He learned to swim, still trains hard and for no monetary gain has spent his whole adult life saving lives. That guy is knighthood material.

      • patricia bremner 5.2.1

        David Mac you are so right.

        Many moons ago, a young policeman husband of a teacher friend told me he was considering leaving the police. I voiced my surprise. He explained they were going to form a separate body to “police” their work. “Couldn’t live with that” he said.
        For the first time I realised some thought they were above the law. Well later events proved that was absolutely so.

        The Talley situation is similar. They have the power, and police themselves. Too easy to take advantage. The system has to change.

      • greywarshark 5.2.2

        Yes indeed give that man a gong. Talley follows in the 19th century line of harpooners, but now he multi-tasks and shafts the fish plus ultimately, we citizens.

  6. Bill 6

    It might have been two years ago I went along to an inaugural lecture at Otago Uni. I can’t remember the name of the professor, but I do remember the lecture was on Maui dolphins, fisheries and conservation.

    As I recall the take-home message…

    the Maui dolphin population is not sustainable. They are extinct*, but no-one wants to say so.

    * ie, there is now nothing that will prevent their extinction.

    • Bill 6.1

      Sorry. That statement isn’t quite right. What I should have written is that unless there is radical action taken (the banning of gillnets and trawling around NZ’s entire coastline), then NZ Dolphins (Maui and Hector) are done for.

      There was only 14 “mother” Maui in 2015. The dolphins are actively attracted to gill nets. So on-board cameras will do nothing to save the dolphins. And if you want the full story, well I found the lecture on line. It’s pretty poor sound quality.

      Professor Liz Slooten’s lecture begins at 7min 05sec.

      http://www.otago.ac.nz/news/itunesu/podcasts/otago017510.html?keywords=slooten&dept=&year=&submit=Search

      • mickysavage 6.1.1

        It might be too late. The genetic quality of the remaining dolphins may mean they are unsustainable. But we have to try. Or change the practice so the next species also does not become extinct.

        • weka 6.1.1.1

          +1. It’s not just this dolphin, it’s what it’s doing to the whole ecosystems.

          On the brighter side, not sure how relevant this is given the different species (and mammal vs bird, habitat etc), but the story goes that the Don Merton and the conversation team brought the Chatham Island robin back from extinction with only one known female remaining. Incredible.

        • Bill 6.1.1.2

          Like much else, it’s basically kinda simple Micky. Take the $ signs out of the deliberations and the gillnets go and the trawling goes. Not a step any liberal or social democratic government is going to take though, is it? That simple shift in thinking is unthinkable or plain insanity. So the dolphins will die out because allowing them to live isn’t cost effective.

      • greywarshark 6.1.2

        This type of lecture and the person giving it can end up with them in tears. They know the subject, the vulnerability and pure innocence of the animal, and the dark plotting, greedy hearts of human behaviour determined on continuing on to their own advantage.

    • Bill 6.2

      Some people might be interested in this link

      http://whaledolphintrust.org.nz/projects/hectors-dolphins/

      Scroll to about 2/3rds of the way down the page in the link and you’ll come to a map showing protected areas (green) and dolphin range (red).

      If the government is serious, then the red area must turn green (no trawling or gillnets)

      • One Anonymous Bloke 6.2.1

        A ban on trawling and gillnets would presumably have a far more significant impact on Maui’s dolphin numbers than cameras then.

        I suspect that isn’t what Nash has in mind as an alternative, though.

    • the Maui dolphin population is not sustainable. They are extinct*, but no-one wants to say so.

      I’ve heard the same thing elsewhere, and it certainly seems likely. It’s also not that big a deal, in that there’s nothing inherently worse about a species going extinct than there is about a species coming into existence. However, that doesn’t make monitoring of fishing vessels any less of a priority (not saying that was your point, just wouldn’t want anyone thinking that was a safe conclusion to draw).

      • greywarshark 6.3.1

        I do think that the anthropomorphic attitude we take to the world, stinks.
        there’s nothing inherently worse about a species going extinct than there is about a species coming into existence.

        Trouble is that species coming into existence are likely to be viruses. I was listening to a radio piece which referred to the Great Flu epidemic in NZ. There were two waves, and it had changed within a month I think so that it was more intense and affected more people. You could go off to work feeling okay and keel over sometime during the day and snuff it.

        Let’s try to keep the dolphins shall we and see if we can limit our number of children. When the two oldies die in their 90s, how many will they leave behind to carry on the bloodline? Half a hamlet?

  7. Exkiwiforces 7

    That’s F***ed!

  8. David Mac 8

    I read somewhere…so I’m treating the recollection with a grain of salt…The Maui dolphin is such a close relative to the Hector Dolphin, near as dammit the same species, that the only way to tell them apart is by way of autopsy. Does anyone know if that’s so?

    It’s so hard to sort the propaganda from the truth with matters like this.

    • Bill 8.1

      If you click into the linked lecture at comment no.6 above, you’ll hear Professor Slooten say that the terminology is shifting to refer to “NZ dolphin” instead of Hector and Maui.

      • David Mac 8.1.1

        Thanks Bill, I will.

      • David Mac 8.1.2

        What a fabulous creature, I fear I’m a bit of a specieist? bioist? I find it easier to get passionate about dolphins than I do an endangered insect. They’re like us with beaks and fins.

        The eye-opening fact for me was their reproduction rate. 100 dolphins will increase their numbers by 2 births a year. I fear, as you pointed out, that almost makes their extinction inevitable.

        Hector or Maui, the future is not bright.

  9. Stuart Munro 9

    Cameras on vessels were perhaps not the best response to the kinds of problems they were supposedly to control. Regular or frequent presence of observers or fisheries officers is better because they can advise on practices to minimize the catch of endangered species. With environmental groups obtaining footage of accidental kills via the OIA the industry is losing their enthusiasm for cameras.

    I said above that fur seals are thriving, and that sealions seem to be doing okay too – not so long ago they recolonized the South Island, breeding at Akatore. Existing controls seem to be working for seals, and sealion capture is substantially confined to the Snares and Auckland Islands squid fisheries. It needs real attention there as killing nursing mothers (breeding coincides with the squid fishery) will kill two or three at once. Good practice – not discharging offal while shooting or hauling nets, and paying attention to whether the vessel is followed by sealions will usually limit kills. But some boats are unlucky – they become the preferred vessel for sealions to follow, and may need to leave the area to avoid catching them. Of course, poorly paid foreign charter fishermen struggle to find much sympathy for conservation.

    Albatross and mollymawks are endangered by some fisheries. Albatross were chiefly killed by tuna longlining, with birds diving on hooks as the line was set. Good cooperation between the then MAF and operators came up with a setting system that did not catch albatrosses – the fishermen having noticed that a hook with a bird on it is one that won’t have a fish. They need monitoring however as it’s a lot of trouble to set a line in that way, so that sometimes good habits fall away. Sandy Bartle cited an Indian Ocean study that showed a bycatch of 0.5% of an albatross population was enough to cause population collapse. That’s because pairs may need to be 16 years old to breed, and when they do it will be biannually, with the loss of either parent dooming the chick. Some of Sandy’s work here: https://files.dragonfly.co.nz/publications/pdf/Abraham_2012_iapc.pdf

    The smaller albatrosses were often caught in the netsonde cables of pelagic trawls on the southern squid fishery. Because of the shallow net and wave height the cables rapidly scissor between the sea surface and 5 metres up, where birds may be flying. It was not uncommon to catch half a dozen within a shot. Again, a mitigation measure submersing the cable at the boats stern was designed but not always used in practice.

    It is uncommon to catch dolphins in trawl nets – they can outswim them. Large especially pelagic trawls, fishing in shallow water, especially if pilchards are present, are risk factors. Set nets of any kind are much more likely to kill dolphins, especially the smaller Hectors variants which generally live inshore.

    Cameras don’t really seem to be the answer to any of these issues – though they may serve a stopgap role on unobserved vessels. Really industry and MPI & DOC should be collaborating on reducing endangered species impact – as well as the thorny transition from the QMS to a system that actively favours and promotes sustainable practices. That would mean taking quota off less sustainably fishing companies and offering it to those prepared to adapt.

    • David Mac 9.1

      Great comment.

      International cowboys aside for now, do you think there are incentives that could be applied that would steer decision-makers towards the best practices you speak of without pushing retail pricing up too much?

      You’re not saying “Nah’ to cameras because your pocket will be hurt. You’re saying ‘nah’ because you question how effective they will be. You lean towards onboard observers…but cripes, the fresh fish at Pak n Save is already so pricey.

      Is there a way to make a difference without pushing prices up?

      • Stuart Munro 9.1.1

        The short answer is to dump the QMS and go to a licensed fishery with a character requirement. The role of MPI and DOC becomes tutelary rather than prosecutorial – and they help drive development towards sustainability because they have access to international best practice. Non-cooperation means no license.

        They encourage a refocusing of the industry away from the traditional often overfished premium species and toward the more sustainable shorter lifecycle species, as well as developing fisheries that, though they may be traditional elsewhere, have not been developed here. This should also include the development of the local market – even Paknsave, which is not the worst, rarely offers the full spectrum of local varieties – this is symptomatic of poor management practice. Less favoured species are being dumped.

        One result of losing the QMS is that all fish become landable and usable – and it becomes possible once more to exploit cyclic population peaks. The traditional preQMS crayfishing model was essentially bread and butter most years – but every 8 or 10 years there would be a run, meaning it became easy to catch large volumes. This allowed the fisherman to pay off their boat or house. It is better (for populations) to allow large catches is when the population is high, than to set a barely sustainable yield to be taken in bad years or good.

        • David Mac 9.1.1.1

          Yes, matching allowable catches to species populations makes logical sense.

          With something like a Birds Eye fish finger or McDonalds Filet o Fish burger, couldn’t the content be almost any species and I wouldn’t know the difference? If I could, perhaps a blend of pulped flesh could work.

          Maybe we’re just too picky with our acceptable table species. I recall an English TV show with small boat, one man operations. Dockside the host prepared fish species that normally get tossed back, the Joe Public taste consensus was ‘Gee that tastes good!’

          • Stuart Munro 9.1.1.1.1

            Yes – we’ve got a lot of great fish locals barely know – frostfish is the super expensive galchi in Korea. We really don’t know what to do with some of our incursive species like the T. Murphyii jack mackerel (wonderful smoked) and we’ve never even fished for pilchards or shrimp in any systematic fashion.

            But the other feature of the QMS is that it brought in another layer of capital cost for no benefit. A new entrant fisher needed suddenly to pay for a boat and quota as well as there housing and family. The upshot rapidly concentrated all the quota in very few hands, closing the industry to new entrants. But even the big players suffered as quota ate away at their ROI. The Treasury guys who came up with it (and it was the Treasury guys, not the populations experts) should have been horsewhipped.

            • Antoine 9.1.1.1.1.1

              I am not a fan of the QMS

              I would rather see restrictions on the size of the fishing fleet, where you can fish, when you can fish, what equipment you can use, and what protective devices you have to use

              But you can’t tell MPI people any of this stuff. The QMS is the way and the life as far as they’re concerned

              A.

              • Stuart Munro

                The administrative costs of the QMS are very high, if nothing else. Prior to the QMS the effort restriction regime worked fairly well, but of course an irresponsible National government created a license blowout. It’s hard to design a healthy management regime that protects the environment when it must cope with corrupt politics and gibbering incompetence.

                • Antoine

                  I think if you can get the number of vessels down, that must be a bit hard to reverse in a hurry?

                  A.

                  • Stuart Munro

                    Charters can reverse that effect overnight. And you deskill your local industry. It needs a stable model, and to diversify away from the more destructive/less selective approaches. It needs to come from government because that’s not even on industry radar.

  10. Fisheries Minister Stuart Nash said many in the fishing industry were unhappy with the camera proposal and all options were on the table – including dumping it entirely.

    Can’t say that I’m surprised to find that Nash/Labour are owned by the fishing industry and thus supports their ongoing destruction of our environment and food supplies.

    • Stuart Munro 10.1

      Remember this camera initiative came from the industry (when they trusted MPI to suppress any distressing images). It’s a little too soon to conclude Nash has sold out. He’s reviewing the practice – which any minister aspiring to competence should.

      Rose’s assertions may need a little salt too – trawls don’t kill penguins with any frequency – I saw none killed in ten years of trawling. The experts are uncertain of causes, though sea temperature rises may play a part. https://www.pressreader.com/new-zealand/otago-daily-times/20171125/281659665350477

      It may be a good time to fund a bit of research – birds like penguins should be viewed as canaries in the coal mine – surely the cause of decline can be determined and remedies found.

      • David Mac 10.1.1

        Carving a freshly caught kahawai up for bait on my fishing dinghy could be viewed by some as a harrowing sordid affair, my kid turns away. I can see how timely footage from a trawler deck could spin the stomachs and sensibilities of some.

        • Stuart Munro 10.1.1.1

          There’s a cultural shift I’d like to see a bit more of too.

          Filleting is extremely wasteful – and it costs labour too. If people are used to eating whole fish they get a bit less squeamish – and waste less.

          It’s a sad reflection on the NZ industry that they chose to chase the fillet block market – filet-o-fish & birdseye style – when the rest of the world chases the premium market. Mind, a premium market is primarily local for seafood.

          • veutoviper 10.1.1.1.1

            I have really learnt a lot from reading your and others’ comments on this post. So thank you.

            i know that you will think this pretty lightweight but Clarke Gayford, Ardern’s partner, has been writing a series of about six articles for the travel section of the NZ Herald over the summer period on various recreational fishing related subjects.

            Two in particular focus on lack of interest in many of our diverse fish species and wastage.

            http://www.nzherald.co.nz/travel/news/article.cfm?c_id=7&objectid=11967802 – entitled “Hey you, put down that snapper”

            http://www.nzherald.co.nz/travel/news/article.cfm?c_id=7&objectid=11987696 – entitled “More to fish than fillets” Subtitle “Nose-to-tail eating should not apply only to land animals.”

            The second one also mentions several interesting grassroot initiatives in Auckland to share unwanted catches and offcuts etc. It would be really great to see these initiatives expand and supported – with similar movement in the commercial fisheries. Big dream perhaps ..

            Although Gayford’s fishing activities are likely to be extremely curtailed soon if all goes to plan, for the future I can see Gayford moving more into the marine sustainability and protection areas and he has expressed interest in doing so. He has apparently supported the Sustainable Coastlines movement for years, and is also anti-plastic etc. His business partner in their “Fish of the Day” TV series, Mike Bhana is well-known for his superb photography (particularly underwater) and for being one of the creators in 2009 of the largest shark exhibition in the world – Planet Shark http://www.planetshark.com – an educational installation to promote awareness, conservation and understanding of sharks and our oceans. Gayford and Bhana were also involved in the filming for the recent proposed Niue Marine Sanctuary. But enough – I seem to be on a Gayford promotion this week here on TS. Also, maybe a case of me “teaching grandmother to suck eggs'” – if so my apologies.

            Again thanks.

            • Stuart Munro 10.1.1.1.1.1

              Actually I’m quietly impressed by Gayford – he’s certainly on the right track, he just came from a different direction. We’ve got fish in NZ Japanese sushi chefs would die for – but our pakeha tradition is pretty seafood oblivious. Not all of us of course – my grandfather taught me to catch and eat fish long before I got involved professionally 🙂 .

              & thanks for the links – good stuff there.

              • veutoviper

                I am pleased to hear that I am not the only one that does not just think of him as a lite TV, radio host, DJ etc. . I suspect that Gayford is a ‘late maturer’ in terms of his lifestyle in his earlier adult years, and even he admits it. While he obviously will be putting a lot on hold, JA said the other day that he would not be giving up his work etc totally so perhaps he can/will focus on expanding his involvement in sustainability/protection issues through writing and other land based activities. He had a very soft interview by Toni Street on his boat just a few days before she and Hosking resigned from Seven Sharp in which he said he would really like to get much more involved in this area but now had to be a little careful what he got involved in vis a vis being the PM’s partner. But he seemed very genuine in his wish/interest.

                His other NZ Herald articles are quite interesting and easy reading

                http://www.nzherald.co.nz/travel/news/article.cfm?c_id=7&objectid=11974553 – aka “Land then from land”

                http://www.nzherald.co.nz/travel/news/article.cfm?c_id=7&objectid=11978921 – aka “Hold your breath”

                I particularly liked these two as the advice etc can easily apply to many things in life other than fishing:

                http://www.nzherald.co.nz/travel/news/article.cfm?c_id=7&objectid=11970724
                – aka “That fomo-fishing feeling”

                http://www.nzherald.co.nz/travel/news/article.cfm?c_id=7&objectid=11982700 – aka “Trying something new”

              • veutoviper

                Meant to mention that apparently the new third series of Fish of the Day is apparently going to include an episode, or maybe more, on catching fish etc to meet Japanese sushi grade standards. CG tweeted several times about this in the last few months. The third series is, or was due, to show soon on Prime TV in NZ (previously was on Choice) and in 38 other countries via National Geographics network. Haven’t seen any update lately on this. Maybe they will delay it a little while to give some space while Gayford is ‘prime caregiver’.

                Am I right in thinking that you are living overseas these days?

                • Stuart Munro

                  For the present I’m in Dunedin – but I’ll probably have to leave – just not looking forward to another round of work permit roulette. It’s expensive and never repaid by anyone.

          • David Mac 10.1.1.1.2

            Yes, hats off to Matt Watson. I regularly use the site he started and it’s worked very well. I’ve met many grateful locals and I don’t have to dig a hole. I used to feel a twinge of guilt as I disposed of snapper heads/frames.

            https://www.freefishheads.co.nz/

      • greywarshark 10.1.2

        Well let’s put the cameras in. It is going to cost they say, too much. Well perhaps there should be a buyout of fishermen who can’t afford it and their licences sold to others who can, but not to the biggest firms. We have bought out business people before when they have been hit by some difficult to cope with event.

        Do that at the same time as research. Train more observers. I am sick of the lying companies who will circumvent everything that they can.

        The cod virtually disappeared from the northern hemisphere after researchers, who must have been affected by moral hazard and subversion, announced that they had recovered from a downturn which enabled fishing to start again, after a break, at a level that was deadly and cut the numbers and genetic variance to the edge before it was stopped. (This is what I remember hearing and reading about this. No source to offer.)

      • Christine Rose 10.1.3

        Info about risk to penguins here, but there was also something recently about South Coast penguins being wiped out this season in trawlers. I’ll post it if I can find it. I wasn’t just speculating but reporting on credible evidence
        http://www.newshub.co.nz/home/new-zealand/2017/11/study-finds-set-nets-a-major-danger-to-rare-new-zealand-penguins.html

  11. BIGDOG 11

    As an ex commercial fisherman,I can say that in my experience that the average fisherman couldn’t give a stuff about anything but the money and if you choose to believe anything else,the only person your kidding is yourself.

    • Stuart Munro 11.1

      I think that’s the effect of poor regulation that has made fishing pretty marginal at the low end. More established (financially secure) fishermen do care about more, just as more established farmers care about the environment.

      There are some big players with pretty negative attitudes, and they’ll have to be dragged to any change kicking and screaming. Once we get the NZ industry a bit closer to Japanese levels of productivity (currently we’re less than 1% of that from an equivalent littoral area) even those dinosaurs won’t want to go back.

      • greywarshark 11.1.1

        I just have to ask – how does productivity go up and fish stocks stay at manageable levels?

        • Stuart Munro 11.1.1.1

          If you’re ever in Asia you’ll see everything you could eat in the markets. You can buy live seasquirts (for soup) in the smallest supermarkets and live clams in retort pouches in every corner dairy. Fish offal becomes the fish sauce that forms the base of the better kinds of kimchi, and fish scales and skins and swim bladders make the glue used for authentic composite bowmaking and najeon chilgi https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dT8yXhCtfRM .

          The range of shellfish eaten covers numerous snails, from turban shells to top shells and ostrich feet, as well as the cheombeok, which we call paua. You can buy dried anchovies of every size, and dried squid is the go to snack to accompany beer. Almost none of these are freely available in NZ.

          Gim or Nori – the ubiquitous seaweed paper that wraps sushi (a very popular product in NZ) is all imported, though the sea lettuce from which it is made grows so prolifically in the Christchurch estuary that rotting masses of it are a hazard. None of the five or six essential varieties of Asian seaweed are harvested here, in spite of their arrival in ballast water decades ago, and local seaweed harvesting is not organized sustainably, nor does it supply local markets.

          Squid is expensive in NZ shops, though our companies get rock bottom prices for the low grade bulk trawl caught product they sell in Singapore. The only ‘added value’ product from squid for the local market is rubbery battered squid rings – Clark Gayford’s squid vermicelli would be cheaper to process and both more palatable and healthier for customers.

          The NZ jack mackerals scarcely sell, they’re too small for our traditional markets and are often sold as bait. In Japan, small fresh jack mackeral known as aji (meaning tasty) are a premium sashimi fish only just below tuna and yellowtail kingfish. The larger invasive South American jack mackeral commands bottom dollar in NZ as it is less sushi suitable but makes excellent godunga jorim https://www.maangchi.com/recipe/godeungeo-jorim though like most oily fish it is brilliant smoked, as apparently is the least valued major catch species in NZ, the spiny dogfish. https://www.pri.org/stories/2016-03-08/would-you-eat-dogfish-how-about-smoked-dogfish-beignets-red-pepper-aioli

          These species have often been unpopular because, being oily, frying does them no favours. But they’ve never been promoted locally the way the pork producers marketed their ghastly trim pork.

          In my time fishing, frostfish was always dumped or mealed, sometimes forty or fifty tonnes a day – I’ve bought it for $50 a kilo in Gangnam – and that’s in the market, not the restaurants.

          Mantis shrimps? We’re crawling with them, but no-one catches them. Blueshell mussels? They’re routinely dumped during greenshell mussel harvesting. Our twice-cooked frozen halfshell mussels are everywhere, but they don’t taste much better than cardboard. A friend of mine got presented with 5kg of live local mussels for Chuseok (the autumn festival) – a third the size of NZ mussels and costing about $300 – if our companies can’t enter such markets they’re not really trying.

          I could go on all day 😉

          • David Mac 11.1.1.1.1

            Sounds like some glaring under utilised opportunities there Stuart. It’s like running a sheep station and pushing the wool clip into landfill.

            • Stuart Munro 11.1.1.1.1.1

              It certainly raises the question of how long it’s been since public interest played a role in industry regulation. Much of our farming expertise as a nation grew out of agricultural institutes like Invermay and Telford, and the agricultural universities. If government is serious about the fishing and aquaculture industries (and the jobs and income that flow from them) an equally professional development approach is called for. Not seeing it myself.

              • David Mac

                Yes it’s difficult to expand on opportunities when there are systemic failings.

                Grinding up a species for catfood when it fetches $50 a kg in Korea is absurd.

    • David Mac 11.2

      Yes bigdog, the system instills that attitude right through the smaller crews/boats up my way. Nobody wants to go home and report ‘We might struggle to pay the rent this month love, we didn’t catch much this trip.’ I don’t think it’s greed so much as a desire to appease the wolf at the door.

      • BIGDOG 11.2.1

        Yes David,there is that.Back in the day I was paying for the boat,then a new engine and so on.The crazy thing being that when the fish were there(school season)the price you received went way down,and it always seemed to be like a farmer culling his ewes just before they bred.I sold my quota to the government and it would never be fished again.At the time I got $7000 a ton,and within a year the big companys were paying $64000 for it.Needless to say it pains me to think about it.LOL.

  12. A big, fat, well-funded investigation into the fishing industry ‘s interactions with politicians would possibly be even more useful than cameras on the boats, because it’s pretty clear there’s undue influence.

  13. cleangreen 13

    Interesting observation here today;

    This string had an angry raft of right wing National trolls all heading for a kangaroo court decision on this then somewhere we saw a bit of rationale appearing.

    The idea was that perhaps we need to alter the plan to ‘accommodate all parties’ well that is fine if we all can contribute to the issue and until we are all part of the “inclusive” input this bill will go no-where because if one side has the majority of input while others are excluded “then we have a problem Huston”

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