|whiptail, blue hake, blue grenadier (New Zealand), langschwanz-seehecht (Germany), merluse (France), merluza azul (Spain), nasello azzurro (Italy), hoki de nouvelle-zelande|
Midwater-trawl caught hoki is better than bottom-trawl caught hoki. Alternative choices include trevally or tarakihi.
Hoki is a relatively fast growing, deepwater species related to cod and hake. It generally lives beyond the shelf edge from 50 to 900m, but is most abundant between 300 and 600m. There are two intermixing biological stocks, generally referred to as the eastern and western stocks. Hoki is caught by midwater and bottom trawl and trawling occurs year round, making hoki one of New Zealand’s largest fisheries. Hoki are targeted and caught in their spawning grounds on the West Coast of the South Island and the Cook Strait, plus some smaller spawning areas on the east coast of the South Island and Puysegur Bank. When not spawning, hoki are caught in the sub-Antarctic and on the Chatham Rise where juveniles of both stocks are found.
The bycatch of hundreds of New Zealand fur seals, albatrosses and petrels each year, plus bycatch of globally threatened basking sharks. The bottom trawl fishery has significant impacts on the seafloor, altering seabed communities. It is estimated that the hoki trawl fishery captures 192 fur seals (5-year average), one observed nationally critical New Zealand sea lion capture and about 1420 seabirds (including cryptic mortality). Some of the seabird species killed are Salvin’s, southern Buller’s albatross and white-capped albatross, sooty shearwater, white-chinned petrel, and cape petrels. While hoki stocks have been increasing or stable for the last 4 or 5 years, there are concerns over the management of two stocks as one quota management area, illegal misreporting of catches and the significant catches of small juvenile fish (38%) on the Chatham Rise and on the West Coast, plus the lack of a management plan.
The hoki trawl fishery is certified for the third time from September 2012 for 5 years under the Marine Stewardship Council (an international body that assesses and awards sustainable fisheries certifications). Forest & Bird has twice taken its concerns with the hoki certification through the MSC appeal process. Following both hoki appeals the MSC made significant changes to its certification standard.
Hoki is consumed domestically and exported. Most hoki is exported to China (25%), Australia, Poland, France, Germany and Japan. Hoki exports were worth $208.5 million in 2015, which was still well down from $346 million in 2001. The “Fillet‘o’Fish” sold at McDonalds in New Zealand is hoki.
Hoki caught by midwater and bottom trawl and regional differences were assessed. Midwater-trawl caught hoki ranked higher than bottom-trawl caught hoki. There were no regional differences.
|Score:||Midwater – B, bottom trawl – B|
|Population size:|| Following many years of poor recruitment of juvenile fish to the adult population and depletion of stocks, particularly on the West Coast, hoki have recently been estimated to be within
35-50% of their original unfished population size (B0).
|Annual catch limit:||From 250,000 tonnes in 2001-02, catch limits were dramatically reduced to 100,000 tonnes in 2004-05 and 90,000 tonnes in 2007-08. The catch limit has since been increased in steps to 160,000 tonnes for 1 October 2014. The hoki fishery has recently identified an Interim Management Target of 35-50% B0.|
|Recorded catch:||Estimated catch of 161,500 tonnes in 2014-15.|
|Stock trends:||After rebuilding from low levels in the early 2000s the stocks have been increasing or stable for the last 4 or 5 years. In 2014-15 around 38% of the catch (40,100 tonnes) on the Chatham Rise was made up of juvenile fish smaller than 65 cm; in the aub-Antarctic fishery (16,400 tonnes) it was 45%.|
|MSY Status:||The current biomass is above the BMSY level.|
|The Ministry of Primary Industries assessment plenary report includes:||Eastern hoki stock: “B2016 was estimated to be 58% B0; Virtually Certain to be at or above the lower end of the target range and Likely to be at or above the upper end of the target range.” “The 2016 base case suggests that biomass has been increasing or stable for the last 5 years.” “If the year classes recruit to the eastern stock as estimated by the model, the biomass of the eastern hoki stock is expected to remain more or less constant over the next five years at assumed 2016 eastern fishery catch levels.”Western stock: “B2016was estimated to be 59% B0; Very Likely to be at or above the lower end of the target range and Likely to be at or above the upper end of the target range.” “The 2016 base case suggests that biomass has been stable at about 57% B0for the last 4 years.” “If the year classes recruit to the western stock as estimated by the model, the biomass of the western hoki stock is expected to increase over the next five years at assumed 2016 western fishery catch levels.” (MPI 2016, p 497-501).|
|Score:||Both midwater and bottom trawl score B|
|Distribution:||The main areas where hoki are caught are off the West Coast of the South Island, the Cook Strait, Chatham Rise to the east of the South Island and sub-Antarctic waters at depths of 400-800m.|
|Maximum age (years):||20-25 years|
|Age at sexual maturity:||3-5 years|
|Growth rate:||Relatively fast|
|Reproductive output:||Medium to high|
|Age exploited:||2 years|
|Ability to recover:||Moderate|
|Score:||Bottom trawl – E, midwater trawl – D|
|Fishing method(s):||Bottom trawling targets non-spawning aggregations (Chatham Rise and sub-Antarctic Plateau) and midwater trawling targets spawning aggregations on the West Coast and Cook Strait. Over 65% of midwater trawls are on the bottom so have a similar impact to bottom trawling.|
|Habitat damage:||Bottom trawl: Make up about 69% of hoki effort. Twin trawls are used to catch almost half the catch limit, which has increased the impact of this fishery. About 6800 bottom trawls in the hoki fishery in particular on the Chatham Rise, sub-Antarctic and West Coast South Island. Bottom trawling bulldozes the sea floor, destroying complex biogenic structures including soft corals, sponges and long-lived bryozoans. Impacts include habitat modification, loss of biodiversity, loss of benthic productivity, modification of important breeding and juvenile fish habitat, leading to reduced recruitment.
Midwater trawl: Involves a significant amount of bottom contact, over two-thirds touch the bottom, which has similar effects to bottom trawling. The trawl footprint area and contact areas vary but the Snares Shelf area, the Auckland Islands shelf, West Coast South Island, and NW and SW Chatham Rise were identified as amongst the highest frequency trawled areas in the New Zealand zone.
|Habitat of particular significance:||Hasn’t been defined in New Zealand.|
|Bycatch:||Non-threatened bycatch includes deepwater sharks, juvenile fish like hoki, and non-target fish like hake, ling and silver warehou, which are caught in West Coast hoki fisheries. About 10% of the catch is not hoki, including ling and hake.|
|Ecological effects:||The combined effects of seafloor damage and alteration, high non-target fish bycatch, protected and threatened species bycatch and practices such as the dumping of offal and other fish waste during processing at sea can have considerable ecological implications. Hoki has the highest biomass of all species in the bottom fish community of the upper slope (200-800m) and is considered a key biological component of this community.|
|Score:||Midwater – E, bottom trawl – E|
|Bycatch:||It is estimated that 192 fur seals are captured in the hoki fishery (5-year average). Based on the recent catch spread of hoki the main captures occur in the Cook Strait (54%), off West Coast of the South Island (24%), off east coast of the South Island and Chatham Rise (15%). The hoki fishery catches about half of the estimated fur seals caught by trawling. The sub-Antarctic and Snares Shelf hoki fishery has a low capture rate for the nationally critical New Zealand sea lions of about one a year. The trawl fishery also captures about 1420 seabirds a year (5-year average) and the main species are Salvin’s, southern Buller’s albatross and white-capped albatross, sooty shearwater, white-chinned petrel, and cape petrels. Protected coral species are also reported caught in hoki tows in most quota areas. The corals caught include gorgonian, hydrocorals, black corals (Antipatharia) and stony corals (Scleractinia) – which includes reef-like, tree-like, and solitary small corals. Other bycatch species include vulnerable deepwater sharks (e.g. shovelnose dogfish, seal shark and Baxter’s dogfish). These low productivity species also include threatened basking sharks (observed at one per year, but could be higher), deepsea skates and some other elasmobranchs.|
|Score:||Midwater – C, bottom trawl – C|
|Management component:||Single species, however two stocks managed as one quota area.|
|Quota Management Species:||Yes, since 1986.|
|Management plan:||Deepwater management plan for 2010-15 is out of date, and has yet to be reviewed and replaced. Hoki is a target species in the current plan. There is no operational plan and the old deepwater plan lacks key environmental standards. The National Plans of Action on Seabirds and Sharks are more relevant to bycatch issues but they are slow to be implemented.|
|Stock assessment:||Quantitative stock assessment for East and West stocks in 2016.|
|Research:||A 10-year planned deepwater research plan has been replaced (after 5 years) with an annual planning process with unclear commitments. The key annual hoki Chatham Rise trawl survey has been replaced with biennial surveys.|
|Observer coverage:||Observer coverage is 27.3%.|
European marketing and the MSC, SEAFOOD magazine, May 2004, Vol 12 no. 4, p8; Report from the Fishery Assessment plenary, May 2016: stock assessments and yield estimates. Part 1: Introductory Section to Hoki, Science Group, Ministry for Primary Industries; Ministry for Primary Industries (2016) Aquatic Environment and Biodiversity Annual Review 2015. Compiled by the Fisheries Management Science Team, Ministry for Primary Industries. 682p. The Guidebook to New Zealand Commercial Fish Species, 2007 Revised Edition, The New Zealand Seafood Industry Council Ltd. Seafood NZ, 2016. New Zealand Seafood Exports to December 2015. 133p; MFish Starfish web pages 2004; SeaFIC website 2004. Annual Review Report for Deepwater Fisheries for 2014/15. MPI Technical Paper No: 2016/09. Prepared by the Ministry for Primary Industries. March 2016. 103p. S.J. Baird, D. Tracey, S. Mormede, M. Clark (2013) The distribution of protected corals in New Zealand waters. Prepared for DOC, February 2013. 96p. MFish (2010) National Fisheries Plan for Deep-Water and Middle-Depth Fisheries, 2010. 51p. Ballara, S L (2015) Descriptive analysis of the fishery for hake (Merluccius australis) in HAK 1, 4 and 7 from 1989–90 to 2012–13, and a catch-per-unit-effort (CPUE) analysis for Sub-Antarctic hake. New Zealand Fisheries Assessment Report 2015/12. 60 p.