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 NEWSLETTER   November 2004

In this Issue:

Ø            AGM

Ø                  Certificate of Sustainability

Ø                  Working Groups for management of seaweed

Ø                  Research results significant

Ø                  Website developments

 WORKING GROUPS

As a result of the Annual General Meeting, three working groups have been set up to gather information and strategies for the purposes of developing a sustainable, practical and informative management plan for the seaweeds which are targeted to go into the QMS (Quota Management System) in 2005. 

These working groups will be gathering knowledge of

·         who is currently involved,

·         what state is the industry in at present,

·         resources available,

·         inventory (biomass),

·         harvesters,

·         researchers/scientists – including gametophytes,

·         reproduction/regeneration,

·         market projections,

·         identify and declare gaps in knowledge.

The article (later in the newsletter) provided by David Taylor from Otago University illustrates the usefulness of current local research results.  The three working groups are Eck + (Ecklonia and associated), Reds, Macro + (Macrocystis and associated).  If you are involved with any of these seaweeds, on any scale, in any way, then please contact the secretary or chairperson for the relevant group with your knowledge / experience. 

 CERTIFICATE OF SUSTAINABILITY

At the AGM it was agreed that industry standards/protocol and an application form be developed and circulated around the exec for approval for use of the sustainable SANZ logo.

Overseas markets are increasingly demanding knowledge that products have been produced from sustainable resources, in a sustainable manner.  The

Certificate of Sustainability is to focus on the sustainable harvesting – ie sustainable use of resource, harvest practice, impact ramifications.

We welcome input from members in the development of this standard.

 ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING

On 25th September 2004, at Discovery School, Whitby, the AGM was held.  Apologies were received, Minutes accepted, Chairman’s Report and Treasurer’s Report sustained.  Elections were held for the executive, 7 members total.

Business included:

Ø      Sustainable business standard

Ø      Funding for SANZ operating costs

Ø      Seaweed management plans to be developed by working groups

Ø      Long term strategy sought

 SANZ Executive Members

Chair -Jillian Bradley, jill@oceanorganics.co.nz   Vice Chair -Ian Miller, ian.miller@xtra.co.nz Secretary - Ruth Ordish, seaweed@wave.co.nz Louise Fawcett,  louisefawcett@hotmail.com    Roger Newman, NewmanRC@xtra.co.nz.                        Tim Haggitt, t.haggitt@auckland.ac.nz                   Jeff Cooper, jeff@fishmarine.co.nz


Bull Kelp- From filaments to fish food for a habitat-forming alga

David Taylor  ,  Marine Ecology Research Group , School of Biological Sciences, Canterbury University,

Christchurch, New Zealand      Email: david.taylor@canterbury.ac.nz

 Bull kelp, Durvillaea antarctica, forms a conspicuous margin along much of the exposed rocky coastline of the southern New Zealand, but also occurs across the southern hemisphere at latitudes between 45-60oS. Plants can reach up to 10m in length and weigh in excess of 100kg, and provide habitat for a myriad of invertebrate species in and around their holdfasts. In New Zealand, much of the ecological of D. antarctica has focused on the productivity of populations. My research has explored some of the processes determining its distribution along intertidal shores. In particular, I have examined factors affecting the growth and survival of different life-stages across gradients of wave exposure.

             Despite growing in great abundance on exposed shores, and possessing mechanisms that enable it to attach at its earliest life stages (Taylor and Schiel 2003), Durvillaea antarctica is rarely found in sheltered areas. To understand why this is, I transplanted the microscopic stages of D. antarctica across wave exposures at replicate sites on the east coast of the south island using a method pioneered by the Marine Ecology Research Group (MERG) at the University of Canterbury. This method allows us to transplant the microscopic stages (<100 microns in length) of several species of fucoid algae into varying environmental conditions and monitor growth and survival. My experiments found that at sheltered sites the growth and survival of the fine microscopic filaments of D. antarctica were greatly affected by the scouring and smothering effects of sediments. Consequently, after 64 days plants at exposed sites were more than twice the length (4-6mm) of plants at the more sheltered sites (2mm), and survival at sheltered sites was poor.

I also tested the effects of grazing by invertebrate molluscs, like limpets and chitons, on survival of Durvillaea antarctica across exposures. These experiments showed that, while their effects on survival across wave exposures can be great at times, the long term effects of sedimentation and scouring are more important in determining the distribution of the early life-stages. However, the reason for the often abrupt transition from D. antarctica to other species of brown algae in more sheltered areas was still not completely explained by these results.

When exploring possible reasons for this, I observed that recruits of Durvillaea antarctica outside adult canopies were often grazed back to the stipe by the common butterfish, Odax pullus. To further explore the importance of butterfish grazing, I transplanted recruit stages (10-15cm long) of D. antarctica across wave exposures at Banks and Kaikoura peninsulas. I found that within 30 days, plants at more sheltered sites were grazed back to their stipes by butterfish. Some plants at exposed sites were also grazed, but others escaped grazing and it appeared that survivors gained protection from remnants of adult canopies.

 In order to understand the role of adult Durvillaea antarctica canopies in protecting recruits from fish grazing I transplanted recruits under and outside cages in different canopy treatments. I found that plants outside canopies were 3 times more likely to be grazed by butterfish than those under adult canopies. It seems that not only are the early life-stages of Durvillaea antarctica restricted by the effects of sediments in sheltered areas, but the soft, flat blades of the recruit stage are readily consumed by the herbivorous fish Odax pullus; particularly if they recruit away from the protection of adult Durvillaea canopies.

This example highlights the importance of experimental science in understanding the processes affecting the distribution and abundance of key habitat-forming species, and has important implications for the management and conservation of this significant marine system.

References provided:  see website

WEBSITE DEVELOPMENTS

 The website is continuing to fill out – we now have a Domestic Page which includes tips on home gardens and orchards.  And we have some recipes for those who like to taste the bounty of our sea vegetables.  Contributions to any or all of these website pages are welcomed…. This site will become as good as your input, please contribute.  (Plea from your website manager/secretary/treasurer)   J

We would like to profile another member for the next newsletter – how about you?  Contact Secretary for all contributions.  secretary@wave.co.nz

 STOP PRESS

Ministry of Fisheries has decided to re-consult regarding placing seaweed into the QMS – deadline for submissions is 26 November 2004.

 MFish consultation

MFish is re-consulting on the introduction of seaweeds (and other species) into the QMS. Seaweed species include agar weed, bladder kelp, brown kelp, bull kelp, gracilaria, lessonia, porphyra.

Consultation will be under the post Fisheries Amendment Bill No.3 Fisheries Act requirements which removed the requirement to consider costs and benefits of introduction.

The new Act requires the Minister to make a determination for QMS management if current management-

­ is resulting or likely to result in unsustainable fishing; or

­ is not enabling utilisation of the stock or species.

The Minister has discretion to manage species / stocks outside of the QMS if he considers this would better meet the purposes of the Act. Apparently the consultation material will be sent out this week, submissions close on 26 November.

 John Wilmer, Policy Analyst from New Zealand Seafood Industry Council has this to say.

 QMS Management

I note much of the discussion is focused on providing information on seaweed harvesting to inform the future management of seaweed resources. While such information is going to be fundamental to developing a sustainable industry, it is unlikely to be integrated into the legislative or regulatory regime that is QMS management.

 It is more likely that risks to sustainability will be addressed through output controls - a low TAC and TACC (Total Allowable Catch and Total Allowable Commercial Catch). Very few input controls (regulations) are likely to be placed on how, when and where harvesting occurs. The rationale for this approach is that;

­ Output controls will limit the sustainability risk,

­ Commercial property rights holders (quota holders) have an incentive to ensure harvesting takes place in a sustainable manner to protect their investment.

­ Output controls allow commercial rights holders the flexibility determine the most efficient manner in which to conduct their operations.

 TACs and TACCs are likely to be very conservative as very little information is available on available biomass. Under the Fisheries Act a lack of information does not prevent the Minister from making a decision on a TAC, but requires him to consider the best available information and to be cautious. Setting a low TAC / TACC will balance the need to ensure sustainability whilst providing commercial interests an opportunity to develop the fishery.

 Development opportunity

In addition to the objectives of sustainability and efficiency, it is the development opportunities providing for harvest levels above a conservative TAC where information on harvest strategies will have an importance for a number of reasons.

Firstly, to obtain a TAC / TACC increase, an understanding of sustainable harvest strategies and abundance estimates will be key to providing information on what is a sustainable yield. It is likely that both the harvest strategy and abundance estimate will be specific to an area / stock. It will be the role of rights holders to obtain and present this information, most probably in the form of a fishery plan to the Minister. MFish will analyse the information presented and make recommendations to the Minister.

 A key point to keep in mind is that MFish is not in the business of developing fisheries resources – MFish is in the business of providing an opportunity for people to provide for their own wellbeing.

Secondly, as you have discussed information requires investment – investing in this information prior to QMS entry and quota allocation presents a risk that those investing may not be future holders of quota and therefore beneficiaries of the investment undertaken. If the information results in an increased TAC / TACC at time of QMS introduction (and there is no assurances that this will be the case) the net result is that the amount of quota tendered by the Crown will increase (note the amount tendered will be the TACC less any provisional catch history and the 20% that will go to Maori as per the Maori Fisheries Settlement.

 I also query whether the results of research currently being planned will be comprehensive enough and available by early to mid 2005 to inform the Minister’s decision.

The key future development challenges for the seaweed industry will be to achieve sufficient collective agreement between quota holders and confidence of officials to progress a TAC / TACC increase. This is because;

 ­ within a quota management area (QMA), individual quota and ACE (annual catch entitlement) does not have a spatial component – anyone who holds ACE for seaweed will be free to harvest it anywhere within a QMA. Therefore harvesting effort between ACE holders will need to be managed seasonally and at fine spatial scales to address sustainability concerns and avoid problems of localised depletion.

 ­ a TAC / TACC increase (or decrease) will be distributed proportionally across all quota within a QMA. Hence there is little incentive for an individual to incur costs developing a fishery when the benefits go to the collective quota holders within the fishery.

 Current Permit Holders

If you are having trouble identifying current permit holders you may wish to try contacting FishServe (www.fishserve.co.nz) for this info

More recent comments from John Wilmer –

First impressions following a quick glance at MFish's latest proposals is that they have made some progress in clarifying the issues but have gone backwards in providing any practical workable solutions how to actively manage the seaweed fishery post introduction. MFish have withdrawn advice on possible options to manage beach cast, free floating or attached seaweeds separately.

MFish have effectively highlighted a whole lot of uncertainty but provided no solutions other than reaffirming that management under the QMS is preferable to open access. This is a real concern, if we don't get clarity on workable solutions the worst case scenario is that there is little opportunity to develop seaweed resources - essentially ending up with a de facto moratorium.

I am considering asking for a meeting with MFish to clarify their thinking and thrash out our concerns but wish to have a clearer picture
of the issues before I do this.

I have asked MFish for a copy of the submissions presented for the previous round of consultation. This should give us a clearer picture of the various concerns raised to the issues.

A point to recall is that the TAC / TACC setting process is a separate one which occurs following the Minister's decision on whether to introduce a species or stock.

I will analyse the proposals more thoroughly and circulate further thoughts next week.  

NOW IS YOUR OPPORTUNITY TO PROVIDE YOUR EXPERIENCE FOR THE MANAGEMENT OF SEAWEED STOCKS IN NEW ZEALAND.  PLEASE CONTACT US WITH YOUR IDEAS, COMMENTS AND RECOMMENDATIONS.