Ngāti Kahungunu's new fishing net reduces undersized fish catch

updated By Aroha Treacher
  • North Island: East Coast

Ngāti Kahungunu has committed to using a new fishing net design that will drastically reduce the number of undersize fish that get trapped in the nets.

It's technology that will aid in repopulating our oceans.

The New Zealand fisheries is a multi-billion dollar industry, but it needs to be sustainable if it's to get the thumbs up for the future.

Mike Terry says, “They are improving.  Over the last three years I've seen a gradual increase but the fish that we're catching now traditionally we've caught them in closer, but we're starting to catch them in deeper water.”

So helping to make it sustainable, Ngāti Kahungunu, in partnership with Hawke's Bay Seafoods, will use these new net design on all their trawlers.

Dave Wakefield says, “This is called a turned mesh lengthening or T90.  It's changed from a diamond mesh which only opens a small amount to a square mesh and it's turned sideways which allows the water flow and the fish to escape.”

What that means is all the little fish can escape and carry on breeding.

Research shows that this type of net can release around 80% more juvenile fish compared to the traditional diamond design nets.

Ngāti Kahungunu Chairman Ngahiwi Tomoana says, “We are taking responsibility now and we know that with this new net, we can achieve our goal of preserving our fisheries industry.”

Ngāti Kahungunu has set a new criteria around the lease of its inshore fishing quota, stipulating the new nets must be used.  It hopes that other iwi around the country will follow in its footsteps.

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