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Regulatory approval for new innovative trawl technology

Fisheries New Zealand has approved the use of a new innovative trawl technology for commercial operations in some deep water fisheries – the Precision Seafood Harvesting Modular Harvest System (MHS).

Stuart Anderson, director of fisheries management at Fisheries New Zealand, says the MHS is the first innovative trawl technology to be approved under amendments to the commercial fishing regulations introduced last year. The regulations were amended to support innovations in trawl gear that provide opportunities to achieve better quality of catch, add value across the sector, and ensure the sustainable use of fisheries resources.

“In approving the MHS, Fisheries New Zealand is satisfied the MHS met the criteria of performing at least as well as a traditional mesh trawl net in the hoki, hake, and ling fisheries in providing for sustainable use of our fisheries resources. The performance of the MHS was tested in trials over the last 6 years in deep water and middle-depth fisheries,” Mr Anderson says.

The application also sought approval for alfonsino and silver warehou. Approval was not given for these species because there was insufficient information to conclude at this stage that the MHS performed at least as well as a traditional mesh trawl net.

Fisheries New Zealand will monitor the use of the MHS to ensure compliance with the terms and conditions, and to ensure environmental impacts from the MHS are no more than from traditional commercial trawling.

MPI is investing $24 million over the life of the programme, matched by the industry partners.

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