30 May 2013

Seafood exports predicted to grow

9:59 am on 30 May 2013

The seafood sector is riding the crest of a wave according to new industry body Seafood New Zealand, which has had its official launch at Parliament.

The organisation was created last year as the representative body for the aquaculture, paua, rock lobster, and inshore and deepwater fishing branches of the industry.

Speaking at the launch on Wednesday, chairman Eric Barratt said seafood is now New Zealand's fifth largest export earner, bringing in $1.57 billion last year.

Mr Barrat said growth will continue as world seafood consumption increases.

He trumpeted the industry's environmental credentials, saying it worked within a sustainable fisheries managment system.

"We are the cleanest and greenest protein in terms of impacts on things like freshwater and climate."

An ambassador for Seafood New Zealand, Graeme Sinclair, said the fishing industry's quota management system is a key to its future.

Mr Sinclair, host of long-running TV programme Gone Fishin', said he used to regard the fishing industry as a culprit, exploiting what it could, but that stopped being the case years ago.