Working ‘smarter rather than harder’

Mark Ngata

A REPORT on the country’s seafood industry says there has been a shift to more value-added products, a finding backed up by Gisborne commercial fishermen.

The report on the economic contribution of commercial fishing to the New Zealand economy says the seafood processing industry contributes $84 million to the Gisborne/Hawke’s Bay region, of the $4.18 billion across the country.

The industry provides 238 full-time jobs here, with more jobs coming from those working on the fishing vessels, which are not included in the data.

The report says rock lobster and paua are the country’s highest value shellfish species.

Ngati Porou Seafoods Ltd CEO Mark Ngata said while the report was based on 2015 data and there had been a lot of changes since then, it still very much reflected the situation here.

“The Gisborne region is a key commercial fishing area within New Zealand for crayfish and inshore finfish, primarily.”

Processing work here included producing live, fresh, frozen and smoked seafood. These processes were adding value, especially in the rock lobster sector.

“Live product is the ultimate in quality, and the Chinese and Japanese like the species we have because it looks like a dragon when it is disturbed and reacts,” Mr Ngata said.

Of the $84m industry here, about $40-50m came from rock lobster.

“It is a very important and iconic species to this region.”

NPS had 30 full-time employees and five others on casual contracts, which increased to 45-50 when taking into account related jobs.

While jobs nationally had declined in the past 15 years there was a recent shift to more value-added products, which were more labour-intensive.

“More added-value products are being sought after, so one should see a corresponding lift in employment in larger plants.

“I would like to see more opportunities open up here for our kina, paua and seaweed industries to grow commercially also.”

There was a lot of other work to make sure fisheries were not only managed well but the industry continued with initiatives to improve the image, behaviour and trust of the sector with the public and consumers.

A code of practice released by Seafood NZ was a good starting point to indicate the seriousness with which the industry took its responsibilities.

“NPS will look to play its part in that,” Mr Ngata said.

“I think it is a good start but there is a long way to go and, as we know, the public will soon let us know if they are not happy.

“The commercial sector is the most diverse of all the primary sectors and produces the most outstanding products, so it is in our interests to manage these resources as effectively as we can.

“Maori have a significant role to play in this sector and we are keen to actively participate in that.”

CEO of Gisborne Fisheries Ltd Salvatore Zame agreed the report findings reflected the situation here.

His company had 20 full-time employees, a number which had remained stable.

Seafood abundance levels within the region were increasing as a result of New Zealand’s world-renowned quota management system (QMS).

“All stakeholders — customary, recreational and commercial — in recent years have been receiving the benefits of the QMS.

“Although quotas were heavily cut at the inception of QMS and have remained stable since, we have all had to learn how to work smarter rather than harder.”

The report, which measured a five-year average, showed 13,468 people were directly employed in fishing and seafood processing across the country.

The seafood processing industry (excluding aquaculture) had 9356 full-time employees.

A REPORT on the country’s seafood industry says there has been a shift to more value-added products, a finding backed up by Gisborne commercial fishermen.

The report on the economic contribution of commercial fishing to the New Zealand economy says the seafood processing industry contributes $84 million to the Gisborne/Hawke’s Bay region, of the $4.18 billion across the country.

The industry provides 238 full-time jobs here, with more jobs coming from those working on the fishing vessels, which are not included in the data.

The report says rock lobster and paua are the country’s highest value shellfish species.

Ngati Porou Seafoods Ltd CEO Mark Ngata said while the report was based on 2015 data and there had been a lot of changes since then, it still very much reflected the situation here.

“The Gisborne region is a key commercial fishing area within New Zealand for crayfish and inshore finfish, primarily.”

Processing work here included producing live, fresh, frozen and smoked seafood. These processes were adding value, especially in the rock lobster sector.

“Live product is the ultimate in quality, and the Chinese and Japanese like the species we have because it looks like a dragon when it is disturbed and reacts,” Mr Ngata said.

Of the $84m industry here, about $40-50m came from rock lobster.

“It is a very important and iconic species to this region.”

NPS had 30 full-time employees and five others on casual contracts, which increased to 45-50 when taking into account related jobs.

While jobs nationally had declined in the past 15 years there was a recent shift to more value-added products, which were more labour-intensive.

“More added-value products are being sought after, so one should see a corresponding lift in employment in larger plants.

“I would like to see more opportunities open up here for our kina, paua and seaweed industries to grow commercially also.”

There was a lot of other work to make sure fisheries were not only managed well but the industry continued with initiatives to improve the image, behaviour and trust of the sector with the public and consumers.

A code of practice released by Seafood NZ was a good starting point to indicate the seriousness with which the industry took its responsibilities.

“NPS will look to play its part in that,” Mr Ngata said.

“I think it is a good start but there is a long way to go and, as we know, the public will soon let us know if they are not happy.

“The commercial sector is the most diverse of all the primary sectors and produces the most outstanding products, so it is in our interests to manage these resources as effectively as we can.

“Maori have a significant role to play in this sector and we are keen to actively participate in that.”

CEO of Gisborne Fisheries Ltd Salvatore Zame agreed the report findings reflected the situation here.

His company had 20 full-time employees, a number which had remained stable.

Seafood abundance levels within the region were increasing as a result of New Zealand’s world-renowned quota management system (QMS).

“All stakeholders — customary, recreational and commercial — in recent years have been receiving the benefits of the QMS.

“Although quotas were heavily cut at the inception of QMS and have remained stable since, we have all had to learn how to work smarter rather than harder.”

The report, which measured a five-year average, showed 13,468 people were directly employed in fishing and seafood processing across the country.

The seafood processing industry (excluding aquaculture) had 9356 full-time employees.

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