Kiwi technology safeguarding fish stocks offers global opportunity

A Kiwi trawling innovation that enables most undersized fish to escape unharmed is going global with the help of government funding.

“We’re supporting the further improvement of a fishing system that enables fish to swim freely and thereby allowing juveniles and non-targeted species to escape,” Oceans and Fisheries Minister David Parker announced today.

“Compared to traditional fishing methods, this system enables more of the juvenile and non-targeted fish to survive and be released prior to being landed,” he said at the Seafood New Zealand conference in Nelson.

The three-year $9.48 million programme is a partnership between Government, through the Ministry for Primary Industries’ Sustainable Food and Fibre Futures fund (contributing $4.6 million), Sealord Group, Moana New Zealand, Sanford and Plant & Food Research.

It aims to commercialise the harvesting system developed through a previous Primary Growth Partnership programme called Precision Seafood Harvesting.

“Precision Seafood Harvesting proved that the technology works. The next step is to complete research to prove the benefits of the technology, especially its ability to maintain the quality of the fish that are caught.”

The programme also seeks to develop and commercialise ‘Datalink’, which is a prototype developed through Precision Seafood Harvesting, which provides real-time “net-to-vessel” data on catch composition and size.

David Parker said the aims was also to establish more efficient and less costly manufacturing for the modular harvesting system, and find the best way to commercialise the technology in New Zealand and abroad.

“This programme fits well with the Government’s aim to lift environmental performance and make our fishing industry more resilient and productive,” David Parker said.