New Zealand hoki fishery enters re-assessment for MSC certification

Date: November 15, 2011

The Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) has welcomed a decision by the NZ hoki fishery to seek re-assessment under the MSC’s program for well-managed and sustainable fisheries.

New Zealand’s largest commercial fishery, the NZ hoki fishery was first certified to the MSC’s rigorous environmental standard in March 2001. It was then reassessed and recertified again in 2006, and will now undergo another in-depth assessment before the current five-year certificate expires.

This reassessment – to be conducted by independent certification body Intertek Moody Marine – will re-examine the sustainability of the target fish stock at the fishery, the environmental impact of its fishing operations and the management and governance systems that are in place, to ensure they continue to meet the MSC requirements for certification.

About the NZ hoki fishery

NZ hoki are caught using pelagic trawls (mid-water) during the winter spawning season, and bottom trawls at other times of year. The main fishing grounds for NZ hoki are on the Chatham Rise (east of the South Island) and in the Sub-Antarctic and seasonally off the West Coast of the South Island, in Cook Strait,.

The volume of hoki taken from this fishery varies depending on the allowable catch set by the NZ Ministry of Fisheries each year. Last fishing year ended September 2011the fishery produced nearly 120,000mt, and this figure has been upgraded to 130,000mt this coming year as a result of the rebuilding of stocks in recent times.

NZ hoki is mainly processed on board factory vessels and is exported to markets in the EU, Asia and Australasia.

What the fishers say:

Deepwater Group CEO, George Clement, says: “New Zealand’s hoki fishery is recognised as one of the best sustainably managed trawl fisheries in the world.  Independent verification of this through the MSC program is an integral part of our quality verification. The NZ hoki fishery was the third fishery ever to gain MSC certification back in 2001, and this has allowed us to benchmark our improvements and remain confident that our management practices continue to be world leading.”

What the MSC says:

Patrick Caleo, MSC Manager ANZ says: “The news that the New Zealand hoki fishery is seeking re-assessment shows the MSC program is delivering solid benefits to the fishery and their decision to seek recertification is a great vote of confidence in what the MSC aims to achieve.”

“Thanks largely to the effective management of the fishery by the NZ Ministry of Fisheries and the NZ fishing industry itself, this fishery has clearly demonstrated significant levels of stock recovery in recent years. Its stocks are now seen as being above the required levels for the fishery to be sustainable into the future, which is a great result.”

“In addition, since its original certification the fishery has actively sought out and applied methods and strategies to reduce by-catch; minimise its impact on seabirds and fur seals and has established benthic protection areas to protect a broad range of seabed habitats and ecosystems.”

“We wish the fishery well in its endeavours to gain re-certification, and hope products from the fishery will be able to bear the blue MSC ecolabel well into the future,” Caleo concludes.

About the certifier

Independent certifier Intertek Moody Marine Ltd will conduct the reassessment of this fishery against the MSC standard. Julian Crooke, who can be reached at or on             +44 (0) 1332 544663      , is leading the reassessment team.

Stakeholders with an interest in the fishery are encouraged to provide comments and information for this process. The MSC guide for stakeholder input is available online at:



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