Hon Rachel Brooking

Minister for Oceans and Fisheries

Protecting New Zealand’s oceans and supporting innovation in the seafood sector are key priorities for the Fisheries Industry Transformation Plan, Oceans and Fisheries Minister Rachel Brooking says.

“We’re striking a balance between looking after our oceans and making sure we’ve got a sustainable seafood sector that can cope with the impacts of climate change,” Rachel Brooking said at the plan’s launch in Nelson today.

“New Zealand has the fourth largest ocean area in the world. Seafood is an important source of food, income and jobs. In the year to June, it earned us a record $2.1 billion in export revenue and employed nearly 12,500 people.

“This plan looks at ways we can earn more and create more jobs without catching more fish, by, for example, making more medical, cosmetic and nutraceutical products from seafoods.

“But our oceans are under pressure too, and there’s no doubt we’ve got to find ways of doing things differently. Protecting ocean ecosystems and all the species living in them is critical to not only the survival of the industry, but also to the survival of life on Earth, especially as climate change impacts like ocean acidification and warming start to bite.

“That’s why I’m so pleased that New Zealand’s Fisheries Industry Transformation Plan puts environmental protection, climate change and community development at its heart.

“Consumers here and overseas are increasingly demanding evidence that what they’re eating has been sustainably caught or grown. This plan will drive innovations like environmentally friendly fishing gear and finding ways of adding value.”

The transformation plan was developed collaboratively, with the fishing industry working with environmental groups, iwi representatives, scientists, unions and the food sector. It attracted more than 3000 submissions.

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“The plan’s vision is for New Zealand to be acknowledged as a world leader on innovative and sustainable premium seafoods and bioproducts. Its release is a major step on the road to achieving that,” Rachel Brooking said.

Key facts:

  • New Zealand has more than four million square kilometres of marine area – 15 times as much as its land area. It also has the 9th longest coastline in the world.
  • This year, wild-capture fish is expected to generate $1.53 billion in exports.
  • The Fisheries ITP is one of eight Government-led industry transformation plansthat seek to grow and transform sectors of the economy with significant potential to contribute to a high-productivity, high-wage, low-emissions economy.
  • The industry employs 12,490 people, of whom 89 per cent are New Zealanders.
  • Māori own at least 40 per cent of all seafood quota.
  • Last year, 840 commercial vessels fished New Zealand’s waters. Seafood was landed at 188 locations, and processed in facilities in 14 towns and cities.

More information, including the new Fisheries ITP, is available on MPI’s website:

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