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Saturday 25 June 2022

NZ fisheries group hits back at “Netflix misinformation”

6th May 2021 By Bridget O'Connell | | @foodtickernz

A New Zealand fisheries group is trumpeting the sustainability of the nation’s deepwater fishing industry in the face of what it calls “Netflix misinformation”.

Netflix’s Seaspiracy documentary highlighted the impact of commercial fishing

Deepwater Group, a non-profit organisation formed in 2005 whose 45 shareholders own 91% of the deepwater quota in NZ, has released a new report setting out what it described as the environmental strides made by the country’s $1.8bn fisheries industry.

“With misinformation on seafood at an all-time high right now,” DWG said, “it is more important than ever to spread as widely as possible the truth about the sustainability of New Zealand fisheries and the environmental care that is going into protecting our marine space.”

“In this post-truth world, of course, there will still be some who reject facts and science in favour of Netflix misinformation, however finding facts and science to back up the success and responsible nature of the New Zealand seafood industry is easy for those with a desire to search for them.”

Netflix recently released a documentary called Seaspiracy about the impact of commercial fishing – painting a damning picture of the harm the industry does to ocean life.

The documentary has however come in for some criticism, including by non-governmental organisations and experts quoted in film who said it contains ‘misleading’ claims, erroneous statistics and out-of-context interviews.

In making its case, DWG said since it was established 31% or 1.2 million km2 of NZ’s Exclusive Economic Zone has been closed to trawling and the number of large vessels has halved, but harvesting efficiencies mean the annual take has not changed, at around 350,000 tonnes.

It added that since 2005, the number of albatross captures are down by 74%, sea lion captures have fallen 80%, fur seal captures have reduced 90% and common dolphin captures by deepwater vessels are down 99%.

The paper also sets out the amount of money that has been invested in science and research to improves processes and practices. It said that between quota owners and the government, $300m has been spent “to inform good decisions since 2005”.

The DWG alone has contracted 36 biomass surveys and other science projects, a direct investment of $20m, it said.

The report also contents that NZ’s ecosystem-based approach to fisheries management has put NZ’s deepwater fisheries in the top 5% of the world’s sustainable fisheries and, and along the way has seen 19 fisheries certified sustainable by the Marine Stewardship Council.



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