Forest & Bird concerned at gaps in seafood industry report

Give Nature a Voice

Forest & Bird has serious concerns about the quality and integrity of the Seafood Industry Council’s latest report on the environmental standards of fishing, which blatantly ignores the deaths of thousands of animals caught as by-catch every year by the fishing industry

The council’s report follows hot on the heels of the launch of Forest & Bird’s latest Best Fish Guide last week. Forest & Bird’s guide ranks the ecological sustainability of 78 seafood species commercially fished in New Zealand waters. It is formulated from a 196-page scientific report that applies the latest published research on New Zealand’s fishing industry and includes data from MAF and NIWA.

Marine Conservation Advocate Katrina Subedar is surprised a national industry group like the Seafood Industry Council would produce such a highly selective report and ignore the wider ecological effects of commercial fishing.

“This report is extremely weak and very thin on key New Zealand references. The most obvious omission in the council’s report is by-catch in the New Zealand fishing industry.”

“It’s nonsense to produce a report that claims commercial fisheries are environmentally sustainable, and yet fail to mention the thousands of seabirds, hundreds of New Zealand sea lions and dolphins that are killed every year by fishing,” she says.

The council’s report The Environmental Cost of New Zealand Food Production states New Zealand fisheries should be the preferred choice for consumers based on environmental impacts, and commercial fishing has lower environmental impacts than industries such as dairy and meat.

“The Hilborn report hasn’t even used New Zealand information, which is freely available from Statistics New Zealand about energy use by primary production sectors,” Katrina Subedar says.

The council’s report claims commercial fishing is less energy intensive than agriculture, but Statistics New Zealand’s report shows fishing uses eight times more energy than any other industry sector, and the fishery sector’s energy use has increased by 42 per cent in the last 10 years.

“The release of this report is thin on science and omits basic New Zealand references. Forest & Bird’s Best Fish Guide is a comprehensive report based on all the available science,” Katrina Subedar says.

For more information contact Forest & Bird Marine Conservation Advocate Katrina Subedar,, 021 426 984

For more information on Forest & Bird’s Best Fish Guide, including complete methodology and ecological assessment reports please visit