Precision Seafood Harvesting unveiled

October 2, 2013

New Zealand technology is set to revolutionise the international fishing industry.

Imagine if every fish landed on a trawler was alive, in perfect condition and small fish, sharks and other species could be safely released underwater before a catch was lifted on-board.

The first underwater images ever released of revolutionary New Zealand fishing technology show how a partnership between New Zealand scientists and three Kiwi fishing companies will radically change the global fishing industry and make that a reality for wildfish harvesting.

The technology known as ‘Precision Seafood Harvesting’ does away with traditional trawl nets and, instead, sees fish contained and swimming comfortably underwater inside a large flexible PVC liner where they can be sorted for the correct size and species before being brought on-board the fishing vessel.

The break-through design of the harvesting system allows fishing vessels to target specific species and fish size and greatly increases protection for small fish that can swim free through ‘escape portals’ and non-target fish (by-catch), which are released unharmed.

 New Zealand Snapper in PSH Technology

Once on the deck, the fish are still swimming inside the liner, in perfect condition, meaning fresher, more sustainable fish for consumers and higher value products for fishing companies using the technology.

Precision Seafood Harvesting is the commercialisation phase of nearly ten years of New Zealand research. Fishing companies Aotearoa Fisheries, Sanford and Sealord are investing $26 million into the project under a Primary Growth Partnership with the New Zealand Government, which is matching the industry investment. Scientists at Plant & Food Research are partnering with the fishing companies to develop and trial the technology on commercial fishing vessels.

Sanford CEO and Chairman of Seafood New Zealand, Eric Barratt, who unveiled the new technology for the first time to the New Zealand fishing industry at its annual conference in Auckland today, says the Precision Seafood Harvesting programme was set up in April 2012 and will run for six years to commercialise new technology in the New Zealand fishing industry.

“This is the biggest step forward for commercial fishing in 150 years. What we’ve developed in New Zealand has huge benefits for fish stocks, the environment, consumers and New Zealand’s seafood industry. In the process we’re set to change the global fishing industry for the better.”

Alistair Jerrett, from Plant and Food Research says the new way of harvesting wildfish is a close collaboration between his team and the New Zealand seafood industry ‘who want to do things better’. “This is New Zealand science in action and the industry partners deserve a pat on the back for bringing fishing into the 21st century.”

Jerrett’s team built their own underwater cameras to see into traditional trawl nets. He says the ‘aha moment’ was asking: “Why do we have to strain these fish out, why do we have to exhaust them, why do we have to damage them during harvest – the new system changes all of that.

“One of the objectives is to make sure that any animal that reaches the surface, if we can’t select it out underwater, is delivered back to the sea unharmed.” He says this is true for bigger animals as well, like rays, sharks or any animal that is inadvertently captured.

“In terms of selectivity we design everything to make sure unwanted animals are discharged as fast as possible at depth – we don’t want them to even see the light of day.”

“When you realise you can design a highly selective harvest, you are winning in many different ways. You’re winning in unexplored properties, values we haven’t realised, and you’re producing a humane harvesting system.”

The head of Aotearoa Fisheries, Carl Carrington says it’s good news for sustainability by improving New Zealand’s credentials and “enhances our access to sustainability-conscious consumers, improves product taste and quality, and is good for value growth”.

That’s echoed by Sealord CEO, Graham Stuart who believes Precision Harvesting is an opportunity for New Zealand to ‘lead the world with another great kiwi innovation’. “Seeing Hoki landed from a depth of 300 meters, alive and in fantastic condition is remarkable and will totally change how our fish are brought to market.”

Sanford, Sealord and Aotearoa have been actively trialing the new technology on their fishing vessels for the past six months. Vessel Manager at Aotearoa Fisheries, Nathan Reid says fisherman onboard their vessels are excited about the condition of the fish when they are landed. “Replacing old trawl technology is really important for the industry. We’re going to see better stock recruitment and better stock in the water – it’s better for everyone.”

Sealord too is seeing the positive impact of the technology on its crews. Bill Healey is the Vessel Manager for Sealord. He says crews were sceptical at first, but that’s all changed. “When we talk to them now, when we see their reactions to the fish coming up, we know we’re onto something. I know we’re doing something unique and great when I look at the crews”.

Greg Johansson from Sanford says the new harvesting technology is just the start. “This will lead on to changes in vessel designs and layouts, the way we handle fish and get it to consumers. The opportunities are endless.”

“The customers should really enjoy the story of how this fish was caught, the sustainability, the environmental impact of this technology versus other forms of harvesting.

“This will increase the value of all New Zealand seafood products when the global markets see that we’re taking a big step forward by using a more environmentally-friendly way of harvesting fish.”

Recreational fisher and host of the popular “Gone Fishin” television show, Graeme Sinclair has seen the technology in action and says it’s ‘the future of commercial fishing.’ Sinclair says there’s a tendency with recreational anglers to assume that the commercial industry is not doing anything about problems such as dumping and mortality.

“I’ve seen some innovations and some clever buggers in my time, and I think this is revolutionary: it’s Kiwi, it’s clearly innovative, and what it does for mortality and for targeting specific species is incredibly exciting. It alleviates a whole lot of issues all in one hit.”

Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy has welcomed the technology, which was developed through the Government’s Primary Growth Partnership (PGP) scheme.

“The Precision Seafood Harvesting project is developing new net technology which is world-leading. It has the potential for huge economic and environmental benefits. . . .

“New high-tech equipment is being developed, with the aim of allowing fish to be sorted by size and species before even leaving the water.

“This will allow smaller and non-targeted fish to escape, reducing wastage and by-catch. At the same time it allows fish to be landed healthier and in better condition, which will improve their value.

“Being able to target specific fish has the potential to revolutionise commercial fishing,” says Mr Guy.

This is an amazing development which will change the seafood industry internationally, make commercial fishing much more sustainable and provide a significant economic boost for New Zealand.


Rural round-up

April 6, 2013

Gore couple take home Sharemilker of Year title – Terri Russell:

More than 500 people attended the 2013 Southland Dairy Industry Awards in Invercargill last night to celebrate the achievements of standout individuals in Southland’s dairy industry.

Gore sharemilkers Don and Jess Moore, who are in their second season 50 per cent sharemilking 950 cows, were named the Sharemilker-Equity Farmers of the Year.

The couple said that entering into the awards made them look at their business closely – from the day-to-day running to goals for the future.

“We also enjoy the opportunity to network with some of the standout leaders within the dairy industry, as that is what makes this industry so strong,” they said. . .

Government’s irrigation promises offer hope to farmers:

The comments from Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy re-confirming the government’s commitment to supporting large scale irrigation projects are exactly what drought-stricken farmers needed to hear, Federated Farmers national president Bruce Wills says.

“It is great to see Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy publically reiterating the Government’s commitment to investing up to $400 million to encourage third-party capital investment in regional water storage projects to better insure farmers against droughts such as the one currently ravaging the North Island,” Wills says.

“We need these schemes because no matter how many on-farm water dams farmers build, they will never have enough capacity to see us through droughts like this one.

“It is not just farmers who will feel the effects of the prolonged dry season. The entire New Zealand economy is set to take a $2 billion hit, which will affect everyone, from all walks of life, everywhere in the country. . .

Shear speed triumph for Fagan:

Veteran shearer David Fagan threw down the gauntlet to his rivals on the first night of the 29th New Zealand Shearing Championships when he won the competition’s annual Speedshear in Te Kuiti last night.

The 51-year-old Fagan blasted the wool off his final sheep in 22.52 seconds to win the $1000 first prize in front of his home crowd in the Waitomo Cultural and Arts Centre, where he’s been the star of the show since the Championships were first held in Te Kuiti in 1985.

Hastings shearer Dion King, who had headed the 10 qualifiers after the heats, finished second in 23.1sec, while Digger Balme, originally from Tuakau but based in Te Kuiti for many years, was third, in 24.26sec. . .

SFF firms stance against co-op:

Silver Fern Farms chief executive Keith Cooper has further distanced the company from calls to centralise the red meat industry.

A Meat Industry Excellence Group meeting in Gore last month attracted about 1000 farmers wanting changes to the meat industry and many supported reordering the country’s meat companies into one co-operative controlling a majority of product.

The Southland Times reported Silver Fern Farms did not support the idea because it felt it did not necessarily reflect the best interests of its shareholders. . .

Sealord’s results marred by Argentinian impairment as other units prosper – Jonathan Underhill

(BusinessDesk) – Sealord, New Zealand’s second-largest fishing company, reported a full-year profit that was dented by a charge against its Argentinian business, where a soaring peso and rampant inflation are driving up costs.

Profit was $5.2 million in the 12 months ended Sept. 30, from $13.4 million in the corresponding 15 month period, according to the Nelson-based company’s annual report. Sealord’s holding company, Kura, changed its balance sheet in the interim. Sales were $487 million in the latest year.

Sealord, which is jointly owned by Maori tribal interests through Aotearoa Fisheries and Japan’s Nippon Suisan Kaisha, took a $10 million charge against its Yuken business in Argentina in 2012, notes to its accounts show. That business also had an operating loss of $7 million in the period, so effectively $17 million was shaved off Sealord’s results in the latest period. . .

Seize the day – Valerie Davies:

Today was not one of those days, but One of Those Days.  Yesterday, as I watched the tiny, greenery- yallery birds we call silver- eyes in the trees, hunting for insects and the like, I thought how I hadn’t seen the cock pheasant for months. He must have found another home, I thought.

When I awoke this morning I jumped out of bed and looked out of the open window to the sea as usual. There, right below my window, was the pheasant, in the garden bed with the bromeliads. He slowly pecked and ambled his way down through the vegetable beds to the petanque court, and then sauntereded off down the path into the wild patch. A moment earlier or later, and I would have missed him. Do I believe in coincidences, or did the pheasant pick up my wave-length? . . . (you’ll have to click the link above to get to the rural theme and a good read).

Sheep etiquette in New Zealand:

Follow the journey of Luca an Italian tourist exploring Lake Tekapo. In this beautiful alpine village in the heart of the South Island, Luca enjoys the stunning scenery, wonderful attractions and the hospitality of the locals. What he wasn’t prepared for was the uninvited but special friendship he would establish with Lulu…….. confirming for Luca, South Canterbury is a great place to make friends! . . .

And from Facebook:

DV6<


Rural round-up

January 31, 2013

Central Hawkes Bay shearing record bid cancelled -

A World sheep shearing record attempt which was to have taken place today in Central Hawke’s Bay has had to be cancelled because the lambs selected for the event would not have met the requirements of the World Sheep Shearing Records Society.

Secretary Hugh McCarroll, of Tauranga, said the judges, including one from Australia, inspected sheep and deliberated for more than six hours in the woolshed at Moa Stone Farm, east of Ormondville, before making the decision after 9pm.

The judges, who had gone to the shed for the traditional day-before wool-weigh, where a sample of lams is shorn to ensure they meet an average minim of 0.9kg of wool per lamb, found many were “bald”about the head.

“There was just not enough top-knot,” he said. “All of the judges commented as they arrived driving past the sheep in the paddocks, there’s not a lot of top-knot on these sheep.”

“It was very disappointing,” he said. “They hadn’t done enough homework. It’ll be a bit of a wake-up call for everybody.” . . .

Fewer horses sold at Karaka but clearance rate up:

New Zealand Bloodstock’s 2013 premier sale wrapped up at Karaka on Tuesday with 323 of the 441 lots sold.

The total raised of $51.05 million was $3.085 million less than in 2012, with 27 fewer horses sold.

The sale average of $158,054 is a 2 percent increase on last year’s figure, while the median was unchanged at $120,000. . .

Meat Sector PGP Could Halt ‘Race To The Bottom’:

Federated Farmers Meat & Fibre is excited by Beef+Lamb New Zealand and its partners winning Primary Growth Partnership (PGP) funding that could supercharge New Zealand’s red meat exports.

“We should not be in any doubt that the international demand for red meat is there but the problem is articulating that into the returns our farmers and our country need,” says Jeanette Maxwell, Federated Farmers Meat & Fibre Chairperson.

“In the year to December 2007, red meat exports represented around 58 percent of dairying’s export value. But in the year to December 2012, that figure has fallen to 45 percent. . .

PGP project suggests meat industry ready to cooperate – Allan Barber:

Yesterday’s announcement of the Red Meat PGP Collaboration Programme for Greater Farmer Profitability at a total investment of $65 million is fantastic news for the whole industry. The key words are ‘collaboration’ and ‘farmer profitability’. The first of these has usually been notable by its absence, while the second combination of words has only been evident at irregular intervals.

 Half the funding will be made available from the Ministry for Primary Industries’ Primary Growth partnership fund, while 30% will come from farmers through Beef & Lamb New Zealand and Meat Board reserves and the balance from six meat companies, two banks and Deloitte. . .

Achieving virtual scale for our largest industry – Pasture Harmonies:

Scale matters in exporting according to the World Bank…..so here’s a way to get virtual scale for our biggest industry.

The World Bank’s recent report ‘Export Superstars’, shows that company size matters when it comes to countries’ exporting. Little SME’s don’t cut much mustard.

Business NZ chief executive Phil O’Reilly , in commenting on Rob O’Neil’s Stuff story that the World Bank wants us to think big, says

“New Zealand has some unique challenges to overcome in its incredibly small scale and being the most isolated developed economy in the world.”

O’Reilly goes onto say:

“one effective model is the aggregation of small businesses into groups allowing them to in some ways act like and gain the advantages of large businesses.”

Given that NZ Inc’s biggest business is the conversion of solar-derived pastures into various proteins and fats, through thousands of small on and off farm businesses (and even the large ones are mere tiddlers in the world scene), wouldn’t it make sense to aggregate if we could? . .

Future of postal services: Rural delivery a lifeline says Rural Women NZ:

Rural Women New Zealand says while it understands the need for NZ Post to look at its business model in the face of a dramatic decrease in mail volumes, the special role of the rural delivery service also needs to be acknowledged and preserved as far as possible.

“We appreciate that NZ Post has consulted with us extensively about the future options it’s considering,” says Rural Women New Zealand national president, Liz Evans. “In turn we have emphasised that the rural delivery service is a real lifeline for many people.”

The RWNZ Enterprising Rural Women Awards, now in their fifth year, have revealed the increasing number of small businesses in rural communities and beyond. . .

Bee decline could sting industry:

A scientist at the University of Canterbury warns a declining number of bees could threaten the New Zealand economy and more needs to be done to help farmers protect native species and pollinating flies.

Ecology professor Jason Tylianakis says there are about 430,000 hives throughout the country and the pollination of crops and clover is worth $5 billion to the economy each year.

He says honey bees are under pressure worldwide from diseases and pests, and managed hives are also at threat due to pests and chemical sprays. . .

Sealord signs WWF Tuna Pledge and commits to bycatch below 1%

Evidence of the lowest bycatch using information from every catch will help ensure New Zealand’s most popular tuna brand offers consumers even more sustainable seafood products.

Sealord has also become the country’s first signatory of the WWF’s Western Central Pacific Tuna Conservation Pledge which brings together brands, harvesters and manufacturers focused on ensuring tuna fishing is well managed.

“WWF welcomes Sealord’s decision to sign the WWF Tuna Conservation Pledge and their support for targeted conservation measures that reduce bycatch in their supply chain,” says Alfred Cook, WWF’s Western Central Pacific Tuna Programme Officer . . . .

NZ Wineries Whet Consumers’ App-Etites:

A new range of smartphone apps are helping wine and food enthusiasts connect with wineries throughout New Zealand. The applications, created by NZ Wineries, are designed to keep consumers up to date with the latest news, wine releases, special offers and events in wine producing regions.

Graeme Bott, an emerging winemaker and founder of NZ Wineries, says the apps are a great way to bring the New Zealand wine industry and consumers closer together.

“We wanted to make the engagement between wineries and shoppers/tourists seamless. Through our apps, we can send instant notifications to our users informing them of wine updates in their specified region.” . .

And (hat tip Frankie) the official ambassadors for The Year of Natural Scotland:

Click to enlarge image ponies-in-sweaters.jpg


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,163 other followers

%d bloggers like this: