Stuart Nash Minister for Fisheries has asked for submissions on proposed Southern Blue fin tuna increases. The answer he MUST give is no – way.
The high demand for this endangered species has created a level of greed not known before in the Seafood Industry. This shows that the seafood industry has no interest in sustainable fishing, it’s all about increased profits.
In 1996 Bluefin Tuna because of its depleted status resulted in it being ranked by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) as critically endangered.
The ecological concerns regarding Southern bluefin stocks are that stocks are severely over-fished – the breeding population is severely depleted and there is a high level of unreported and illegal catch (up to 30% of the reported catch).
The management plan which the industry has created over a period of two years to increase the tuna catch is more of a financial adjustment which basically inflation proofs their business plan.
The bycatch of seabirds, NZ fur seals, a range of shark species and the huge non-target fish bycatch are also of major concern.
The economic value of Southern bluefin tuna is such that it is exported to Japan, the USA and Canada where it is highly prized for sashimi and sushi. Almost all large bluefin are shipped to Japan where they can fetch very high prices. An individual 444 pound bluefin sold for a record US $173,000 in Tokyo in 2001. The export value of southern blue fin tuna was $7 million in 2008. The export value of all tuna species combined was $38 million in 2010. Quota value of southern blue fin tuna in 2009 was $15.4 m.
You can see from the list of countries involved in the proposal that political pressure will come to bare on the new fishery minister Stuart Nash for this increase in quota.
In their own submission document the Fisheries ministry, ‘Setting the TAC 14,’ that Southern Bluefin Tuna is a highly migratory species, migrating over considerable distances and spending only part of its times in New Zealand waters.
The Ministry clearly states that it is not possible to calculate the maximum sustainable yield (MSY) for the portion of the stock found within New Zealand fisheries waters (STN 1).
How can the Minister agree to an increase to a fishery they have admitted it is impossible to get an accurate stock assessment from?
We can't see how the Minister can grant this quota increase and not break the law.
All persons exercising or performing functions, duties, or powers under this Act, in relation to the utilisation of fisheries resources or ensuring sustainability, shall take into account the following environmental principles:
(a) associated or dependent species should be maintained above a
level that ensures their long-term viability:
(b) biological diversity of the aquatic environment should be
The Minister or anybody else for that matter will not know how many Bluefin Tuna manage to run the South Pacific gauntlet of legal and illegal commercial fishers.
The Minister cannot possibly know what other species of fish in NZ or the lesser amount of Tuna left to breed in the Indian Ocean in the summer will have on the biological diversity of the Indian Ocean.
Every ocean the Bluefin visit on their migration run there are various types of fish and sea mammal waiting for the special hunting skills of the Bluefin to push bait fish into their reach, if there were less Tuna many of these species will starve to death.
This should be easy for the new Minister to say no to an increase in Bluefin Tuna quota, but I guess if he gives into this we will know he's given in to corporate and political pressure like other politicians who have destroyed their counties fisheries.
Bluefin Tuna (Thunnus maccoyi) have lots of admirers in this world, but unfortunately for them most people admire the taste, texture or large profit to be made from the fish rather than the spectacular aquatic hunting machine they are.
With all the technology in the world today man has not come close to designing any machine that performs as effortlessly or efficiently as those predators in the Tuna or Dolphin families.
What people have created with our technology is the ability to catch vast amounts of tuna with relative ease. Tuna are a migratory fish, which means it follows its favourite food or temperature through the seasonal changes in sea temperature.
The large offshore vessels that target Tuna can now use daily satellite temperature charts to track the tuna and forward reading sonar to catch the fish. The Bluefin Tuna fleet tends to be more content to put 100nm longlines out and in some cases even longer.
The human race has with many of its food products allowed the nutritional value of a product to be far exceeded by its monetary value. This is now the case of many of our wild seafood resources.
NZ has some home grown examples of this where wild harvested Cray, Paua and Bluefin are no longer used for sustenance but for a privileged few who get a few expensive grams on a shiny white plate.
As soon as seafood becomes a privilege and the price exceeds all rational thinking then that seafood is doomed to be fought over by corporate money makers until the last one is gone.
Bluefin is now a consumer’s fish of privilege and this makes it worth Commercial Fishers and Fishing Companies taking a risk on, to get a piece of the high rewards associated with it.
According to their website Solander and its associated companies are New Zealand’s largest single quota owner and fisher for Southern Bluefin Tuna, catching approximately 300 tons per year.
The website says Solander Southern Bluefin Tuna is carefully caught by long line on the East and West Coast of New Zealand. It is all wild and running free in the ocean enhancing its flavour and taste. Southern Bluefin Tuna makes beautiful sashimi and is rich in fat and melts in your mouth. The flesh of a Southern Bluefin Tuna has a wonderful red/pink colour. The highly prized belly section of the fish can have a very high fat content providing a taste sensation equal to nothing else in seafood. As far as tuna goes Southern Bluefin Tuna is rated number one for sashimi.
Southern bluefin tuna breed in the Indian Ocean off Western Australia, arriving in New Zealand in prime condition at around the age of 5 years old, where they are caught off the east coast by longlining and trolling. Jointly with mako shark, snapper and oreo/deepwater dory, southern bluefin tuna has the second worst ecological ranking on the Best Fish Guide of any commercial fishery in New Zealand.
A Chinese company took a risk with two large vessels in January 2017 and got caught fishing without a licence and miss reporting 100 ton of Bluefin tuna. The company lost both boats and was fined $825.000. The company took a gamble because of the value of the bluefin tuna in its hold and we have to wonder how many boats got away with misreported or under-reported Bluefin in there holds. Make no mistake if the illegal fishers get away with a full fish hold of unreported tuna they will be back for more.
The high price has also seen corporate money men willing to go to extraordinary lengths to get a piece of the profit from Blue-Fin Tuna.
The 23rd annual meeting of the Commission for the Conservation of Southern Bluefin Tuna (CCSBT) met from 10 to 13 October 2016 in Kachsiung, Chinese Taipeh.
The Commission for the Conservation of Southern Bluefin Tuna (CCSBT) is an intergovernmental organisation responsible for the management of southern bluefin tuna throughout its distribution. Members of the Extended Commission comprise: Australia, the European Union, the Fishing Entity of Taiwan, Indonesia, Japan, Republic of Korea, New Zealand and South Africa. The Philippines are a Cooperating Non-Member.In line with the CCSBT Management Procedure and as recommended by its scientists, the total allowable catch (TAC) for southern bluefin tuna was rolled over at 17 341 tonnes to 2017 and increased by 3000 tonnes for the period 2018-2020.Unfortunately, a proposal for seabird mitigation measures once again did not find consensus.
What this means is that corporate money men from lots of countries have got together and formed a group that put the word conservation in the tittle to manage public reaction to a group that wants to make money from fishing an endangered fish species. The CCSBT then hired its own scientist to tell the group they could have a quota increase.
No group in the world with any sort of conservation intent would allow any commercial vessel to fish without bird mitigation devices. This means that the CCSBT is nothing but a very nasty Bluefin catching joke.
Because of the high dollar value of Bluefin Tuna the species could well be extinct by 2050 anyway, but it still does not mean that NZ should contribute to the extinction of any species for 30 pieces of silver.
Did you know?
Bluefin tuna have very effective lateral heat exchangers, which allow bluefin tuna to conserve metabolic heat, invade cooler waters, tolerate a wide temperature range, and swim faster. The Bluefin tuna’s heat exchange system works so well that it can elevate the bluefin’s body temperatures to more than 20°C above ambient water temperatures.
Essentially, the heat exchange system means that the outgoing veins carrying warm, carbon dioxide-laden blood toward the gills pass the heat over to incoming arteries carrying cold oxygenatedblood from the gills. More specifically, tunas possess organs near their muscles called retia mirabilia that consist of a series of minute parallel veins and arteries that supply and drain the muscles. As the warmer blood in
Sales Manager: Graham Carter P: 07 8551833 M: 021 02600437 E:
W: www.fishingoutdoors.org P.O. Box 10580, Te Rapa, Hamilton 3240 Facebook