Sanford playing down Ross Sea criticism
Tue, 23 Oct 2012 1:12p.m.
By 3 News online staff
Fishing company Sanford has joined the World Ocean Council, an organisation which describes itself as “a global alliance of leadership companies working for sustainable
development and conservation of the world’s oceans”.
Despite this, the company is still fishing in the Ross Sea, a move which flies in the face of Greenpeace and the United States who wish to turn the area into a marine reserve.
Sanford managing director Ross Barratt says the company is committed to the environment, and its relationship with the WOC will help provide much-needed scientific information on the region.
“This is an opportunity for us to help collect data that goes into that whole question of science analysis of oceans and the health of those oceans,” he told Firstline this morning.
Mr Barratt is refusing claims the decision is a PR move.
“We want to re-state our position that we do support the sustainable and productive use of the ocean’s resources,” he says.
Sanford has come under fire for the continued fishing of toothfish in the Antarctic Ross Sea. Greenpeace claims the Antarctic toothfish is an unsustainable resource and commercial fishing will decimate the species, but Mr Barratt denies these claims.
“It’s one of the best managed fisheries in the world, it’s been acknowledged as one of the best managed fisheries in the world… by independent certification bodies.”
The Marine Stewardship Council, the body responsible for certifying sustainable fisheries, works with NIWA to monitor the Ross Sea fishery area. Data from 2011 showed toothfish stock levels at 80 percent of their original biomass – above the MSC’s target level of 50 percent.
“New Zealand has been the most progressive in providing scientific input into this fishery and also monitoring what’s the activity that’s happening there,” says Mr Barratt.
He says Sanford will not suspend fishing operations in the Ross Sea unless it can recoup its investment in the area.
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