23 Sep 2010

Orange roughy fishery to re-open

4:21 pm on 23 September 2010

The fishing industry is welcoming an increase in this season's hoki quota, but environmentalists are upset at the re-opening of an orange roughy fishery.

The Ministry of Fisheries has added 10,000 tonnes to the hoki catch, which could be worth $15 million to the industry.

The total allowable catch for orange roughy has been reduced by 3500 tonnes due to decreasing fish numbers on the Chatham Rise.

However, the orange roughy fishery on the north west of the South Island, which closed a decade ago due to dwindling stocks, is to open again.

Ministry chief executive Wayne McNee says the increase is warranted because of stock rejuvenation, although the quota is nowhere near the levels of a decade or so ago. He says the increase in hoki quota is conservative.

The Royal Forest and Bird Protection Society of New Zealand says evidence supporting the re-opening is unsound.

Spokesperson Kirstie Knowles says it is based on an eight-fold increase in the fish stocks there, which is impossible.

The Deepwater Group of fisheries quota owners says the orange roughy quota is soundly based.

Chief executive George Clement says it is an emotional issue for some. He says the decisions on orange roughy and hoki again show New Zealand's fishery stocks are well managed.

The bigger hoki catch is also welcome news, he says, for an industry which has been battling tough times.