Precision Seafood Harvesting finalist in global Seafood Champion Awards

10 September 2015

The Precision Seafood Harvesting fishing technology has today been announced as a finalist in Seaweb’s Seafood Champion Awards at Seafood Expo Asia in Hong Kong.

The Seafood Champion Awards annually recognise individuals and companies for outstanding leadership in promoting environmentally responsible seafood. PSH is a finalist in the Innovation category, which recognises efforts in advancing sustainability within the global seafood sector to effectively design products and processes with sustainability as a driving force. Precision Seafood Harvesting is one of 16 finalists selected from 90 nominees by an independent panel of six seafood sustainability experts from industry, nonprofit and academia, across Europe, North America, and Asia.

The 2016 Seafood Champions Awards will be announced at an awards ceremony on the first day of the SeaWeb Seafood Summit, to be held 1-3 February 2016 in St. Julian’s, Malta.

PSH is a revolutionary fishing technology that does away with traditional trawl nets to allow fish to be landed on boats alive and in perfect condition, while safely releasing undersized fish. The 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’ unharmed.

PSH is the result of nearly ten years of New Zealand research and is in its fourth year of a six-year commercialisation phase under the Primary Growth Partnership, with the technology now being trialed on a range of deep-water and in-shore fishing vessels. In a unique industry and government collaboration, fishing companies Aotearoa Fisheries, Sanford and Sealord are investing $24 million into the programme under a Primary Growth Partnership programme with the Ministry for Primary Industries, which is matching the industry investment dollar for dollar. Scientists at Plant & Food Research are helping to develop and trial the technology on commercial fishing vessels. 

Dave Woods, the Programme Manager for PSH says a fully functioning and commercialised PSH system has huge potential to increase the sustainability of New Zealand and global fisheries.

“The objective is to significantly increase the proportion of small fish or unwanted by-catch that can be returned to the sea completely unharmed by our fishing. It’s about the future of our fisheries and about the future of our seas – helping to ensure our oceans are full of life. ”

The first set of results from two years of testing on the Precision Seafood Harvesting method published earlier this year, show survival rates for fish are better than expected.

As well as taking better care of the fish, this new fishing method also opens up new potential markets and opportunities for better quality fish being delivered to consumers.

“Precision Seafood Harvesting has massive potential economic and environmental benefits, which is why we are investing in this programme through our Primary Growth Partnership,” says Ben Dalton, Deputy Director-General Sector Partnerships & Programmes at New Zealand’s Ministry for Primary Industries.

“To gain investment through our Primary Growth Partnership, programmes must push the envelope in terms of innovation. They must look for newer, better ways to address industry challenges or opportunities, and this is exactly what Precision Seafood Harvesting is doing. We’re proud to be a partner in the programme, which is set to be a game changer in the management of sustainable fisheries and growing the value of this important industry.”

Steve Yung, CEO of Sealord, one of the PSH co-investor companies, says being named as a finalist will increase global interest in the technology. “The Seaweb network brings together international leaders in best practice in sustainable seafood across the scientific, academic, NGO and seafood industry from on the water to retailers and seafood buyers.”

“It’s a real honour for PSH to feature amongst the finalists in these prestigious and highly competitive awards”.

Emma Timewell
Communications Manager, Corporate Communications,
Plant & Food Research Mt Albert,
120 Mt Albert Road, Sandringham
Auckland, 1025, New Zealand
Telephone: +64-9-925 8692
Mobile: +64-21-2429 365