Last updated on 3 July 2017
Recommendations to Retailers & Supply Chain
- Monitor fishery and management system for any changes that could jeopardize MSC re-certification.
- Ensure benthic protected area network coverage is representative of all types of habitat classes.
Last updated on 13 June 2017
A new stock assessment was carried out in 2017 using research time series of abundance indices (trawl and acoustic surveys), proportions at age data from the commercial fisheries and trawl surveys, and estimates of fixed biological parameters (Ministry for Primary Industries 2017). The full quanitiative stock assessment applied to the New Zealand Hoki stocks is ranked "high quality" by the assessment body, and employs state-of-the-art stock assessment methodology (Akroyd et al. 2012). The age-structured CASAL model with Bayesian estimation of posterior distributions considers both eastern and western stocks with no mixing of adults (Ministry for Primary Industries 2017).
Major areas of uncertainty noted in the 2017 stock assessment were with regard to the stock structure and migration patterns, and the split of the 2014 and 2015 year classes between the eastern and western stocks, and the respective projections (five-year forecasts are conducted as part of the stock assessment procedure). There is increased uncertainty associated with the status of the western NZ hoki stock, and particularly with regard to a potential decline in the stock indicated by the 2014 and 2016 Sub-Antarctic trawl survey (Ministry for Primary Industries 2017). These declines are interpreted by the model as being due to observational and process error, but if they are reflective of actual changes in biomass, then the western stock status would be overestimated. Assessment reports have advised that, for a number of reasons, the BMSY reference point estimates should be interpreted with caution, and that BMSY is not a suitable management target, largely because of the uncertainty associated with underlying elements (see reference point section).
Also of note is the considerable impact of annual variations in hoki recruitment on the fishery, and assessment reports have suggested a better understanding of the influence of climate and oceanographic conditions on recruitment patterns would be very useful for the future projection of stock size (MPI, 2015a; 2016; (Ministry for Primary Industries 2017)). Lastly, there are sources of additional fishing mortality from incidental causes that are not incorporated in the assessment; and no information is available on illegal catches (Ministry for Primary Industries 2017).
The process and results are transparent and available publicly online, and are peer reviewed. Updated estimates of hoki stock status are currently assessed every year (MPI, 2015b; (Ministry for Primary Industries 2017)).
Last updated on 13 June 2017
Scientific advice on Total Allowable Commercial Catch (TACC) is consistent with the degree of confidence in the stock assessment and reflecting uncertainties. Stock assessment is performed by the Hoki Working Group (HWG) under the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) but they do not make management decisions. Management is conducted by the MPI and the Deepwater Group Limited (DWG) and policy has been successful in maintaining the stock at safe levels.
Scientific advice equals the set TACC that in 2017 corresponds to 60,000 tonnes for the eastern stock (Ministry for Primary Industries 2017). Three TACC options were consulted in 2015: TACC= 160,000, 150,000 or 155,000 tonnes (MPI, 2015b). According to MPI (2015c), Option 2 (150,000 tonnes: 60,000 Eastern stock and 90,000 tonnes Western stock) represents a conservative and responsive approach to the possibility that hoki abundance in the western stock has decreased. MPI suggests a reduction in the TACC to potentially avoid a larger decrease in future (MPI, 2015b,c).
Last updated on 13 June 2017
The target management strategy for the stock is to maintain the reproductive biomass (SSB) above 35-50%B0; the fishing target associated with the lower end of the biomass target range, U35%, is estimated at 0.21 (Ministry for Primary Industries 2017). Other biological reference points were adopted in 2009: the Soft limit, a “biomass level below which a stock is deemed to be overfished or depleted and needs to be actively rebuilt” (Ministry of Fisheries 2008), is 20% of the average spawning stock biomass (20% B0=109,400 tonnes) that would have occurred if had there been no fishing (B0=547,000 tonnes), and is assumed to be Blim; the Hard limit, a “biomass level below which a stock is deemed to be collapsed where fishery closures should be considered in order to rebuild a stock at the fastest possible rate”, is 10% of B0 (Ministry of Fisheries 2008). A target biomass reference point is defined at 35-50% of the average spawning stock biomass (35% B0=191,450 tonnes) that would have occurred if had there been no fishing (B0).
BMSY is estimated at 26.5% of B0, but is not considered to be a suitable management target for a number of reasons: 1) uncertainty - it assumes perfect knowledge of the current biomass and stock-recruit relationship (which is poor); 2) it requires a highly responsive harvest strategy that adjusts TACCs annually, which is an unlikely scenario; and 3) its close proximity to the soft harvest limit would permit the limit to be easily and potentially frequently breached given circumstances such as periods of low recruitment, like those observed between 1995-2001 for the Western stock (Ministry for Primary Industries 2017).
Last updated on 13 June 2017
The 2016-2017 spawning stock biomass (SSB) was estimated to be 328,000 tonnes (60% B0), continuing a trend of very stable biomass for the past several years (Ministry for Primary Industries 2017). The estimate just more than 1/2 of the 40-year peak of roughly 600,000 tonnes 1983, but up from the low of roughly146,300 estimated for 2006. The estimated biomass is considered Virtually Certain (> 99%) to be at or above the lower end of the target range and “exceptionally unlikely” (<1%) to be below both Soft and Hard limits. Overfishing is exceptionally unlikely to be occurring. A strong year class was indicated for 2011. Fishing intensity (exploitation rate) decreased between 2005 until 2011, and has remained relatively stable since that time (around 0.09) and well below U35% (0.21).
Landings in 2014-2015 exceeded the TACC (60,000 tonnes) at 64,600 tonnes (sum of Cook Strait, East Coast South Island (ECSI), Chatham Rise & ECSI and East Coast North Island (ECNI) landings). Total landings decreased between 2014-15 and 2016-17, by about 7%. Cook Straight and Chatham Rise saw decreases of approximately 8.5% each; while in the ECSI and ECNI, catches increased by about 14% and 13% respectively.
Last updated on 13 June 2017
Fishing patterns have changed considerably since the late 1980s, due to TACC changes and re-distribution of fishing effort (Ministry for Primary Industries 2017). Hoki fishing in the region expanded in the 1970s due to foreign vessels until 1978 when the EEZ was defined and catch limits introduced. From 1989 onward, effort redistributed in the fishing grounds and catches in the eastern stock increased rapidly until 1998. After an almost ten-year declining trend and accompanying successive TACC reductions in an attempt to shift catches to the western stock, the 2003 assessment revealed the eastern stock was in a healthier state than the western stock. Effort has since shifted back to the eastern stock, stabilizing catches at around 60,000 tonnes.
Following an over decade-long decline in SSB, to approximately 27%B0 level in 2006 (based on digitized values from plots in the 2017 stock assessment), biomass up increased up to a levelling off point in the last several years. An even steeper decline in is apparent in fishing intensity (exploitation rate) from 2005 until 2011, and has since remained stable (Ministry for Primary Industries 2017). Plots of year class strength show mostly below average estimated recruitment recruitment from 2000-2009, with large oscillations between above and below average recruitment since, and the 2015 year class appearing well below the long-term average (Ministry for Primary Industries 2017). The projections indicate that if year classes recruit to the eastern stock as expected, and at assumed 2016 eastern fishery catch levels, biomass will continue to remain roughly constant over the next 5 years.
Last updated on 13 June 2017
An ecosystem approach to fisheries management is a future objective. The fishing industry is active in promoting sustainability protection measures, and has led iniatives to reduce catches of small fish including reallocation of catch limits between areas, and seasonal and area closures (Ministry for Primary Industries 2017) . A management strategy with a target biomass range of 35-50% of virgin biomass, is defined for the hoki fishery.
The TACCs are recommended by the Minister, consistent with the Fisheries Act 1996, and in agreement with the industry. The target for eastern and western areas combined was set at 150,000 tonnes for 2013-2014, 160,000 tonnes for 2014-2015, and back to 150,000 tonnes for 2015-2016 (MPI 2016). The allocation for the eastern stock has consistantly been set at 60,000 tonnes since 2010, while the remaining western area portion has varied. Increased catch allocated to the western stock from 2009-20010 through 2014-2015 intended to protect juvenile hoki from both stocks occurring in the Chatham Rise, where the majority of hoki from the eastern stock are harvested (MPI, 2013b). For 2015-2016, It was estimated that 40,000 tonnes of the eastern stock catch limit would come from spawning fish and the remaining 20,000 tonnes would be non-spawning.
Other management measures include restrictions on vessels, limiting fishing by chartered vessels to outside the 12 mile Territorial Sea. The spawning area of Cook Strait is off-limits to larger vessels and several large areas, Benthic Protection Areas (BPA), have been voluntarily closed to bottom trawling since 2007 (MPI, 2012). A Code of Practice for directed hoki trawling was introduced by the former Hoki Fishery Management Company in 2001 to protect small fish (under 60 cm) and was updated in 2009 to specifically manage four areas of juveniles’ distribution – Hoki Management Areas (HMA) that aim to improve stock recruitment and comprise closed areas to hoki fishing but are accessible to other species fishing – and move vessels in any area catching more than 20% of juvenile hoki, revised to smaller than 55 cm (NZG, 2010; MPI, 2012; Akroyd et al, 2012 (Deepwater Working Group Ltd. 2014) ). The fishing activity on these HMA is motorized by the MPI that provides a quarterly report to industry (MPI, 2014b).
The National Deepwater Plan (5 years duration) was most recently scheduled for review during 2015-16. Detailed information on management measures can be found in the Annual Operational Plan for Deepwater Fisheries (Ministry for Primary Industries 2016) .
New Zealand hoki was first certified by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) as sustainable in 2001 and re-certified in 2007 and 2012. Certification includes Eastern and Western stocks. The single condition of the most recent re-certification regards the impact of the fishery in the habitat was closed out by the first surveillance audit and no changes occurred by the second surveillance audit. Several recommendations have been suggested to improve the fishery (Akroyd et al, 2012; Akroyd and Pierre, 2013; Akroyd and Pierre, 2014). The fishery will undergo a new assessment in 2017 (Akroyd et al. 2016) .
Last updated on 16 March 2011
Last updated on 13 June 2017
Quota limits for the hoki fishery were first introduced in late 80s, when the New Zealand’s EEZ was declared. Historically, compliance with formal catch regulations has been high, even after successive TACC reductions. Since the 2004-2005 definition of separate catch limits for eastern and western stocks, set TACCs for the eastern stock have been exceeded by greater than 1% only once - in 2014-15, by about 8% (Ministry for Primary Industries 2017). For the 2012-13 season the catches were 60,300 tonnes, 300 tonnes higher than the set TACC. The TACC was exceeded by a larger margin in 2014-2015, by 4,600 tonnes (MPI 2016). Chatham Rise is the most important catch area in the eastern stock area (40,100 tonnes in 2014-15, and 36,700 tonnes in 2015-16) (Ministry for Primary Industries 2017). The partnership between MPI and DWG strengthens compliance (Akroyd et al, 2012).
Last updated on 10 July 2017
The interaction of the fishery with Protected, Endangered and Threatened (PET) species is not considered to be unacceptable, but the impact is cumulative with other fisheries, so should be monitored carefully. Details about population status and interactions with fisheries are summarized in the MPI's annual environment and biodiversity reviews (Ministry for Primary Industries 2016) and in the 2012 MSC Certification report for New Zealand hoki fisheries (Akroyd et al. 2012).
PET seabirds such as sooty shearwater Puffinus griseus (Near Threatened) (Birdlife International 2017), white capped albatross Thalassarche steadi (Near Threatened) (Birdlife International 2017), Salvin’s Albatross Thalassarche salvini (Vulnerable) (Birdlife International 2017) , Buller’s albatross Thalassarche bulleri (Near Threatened) (Birdlife International 2017) , white-chinned Petrel Procellaria aequinoctialis (Vulnerable) (Birdlife International 2017) are by-catch of the hoki fishery. Management of seabird interactions with New Zealand’s commercial fisheries is now being driven through the Seabird National Plan of Action (NPOA-Seabirds) (Ministry for Primary Industries 2014) . Work is ongoing between MPI and industry to reduce the risk of this fishery to key seabird species. A Vessel Management Plan is in place to document fish waste management procedures and reduce the interaction with seabirds (Akroyd et al. 2012) . Use of seabird scaring devices for all trawlers >28 m in length, i.e. “paired streamer lines”, “bird baffler” or “warp deflector”, while trawling has been mandatory since 2006. Over the last five years, seabird captures in the hoki fishery have accounted for 13-20% of seabird captures in trawl fisheries overall (Abraham and Thompson 2015) . The number of seabirds captured in the hoki fishery has risen in recent years, and in 2014-15, estimated seabird captures in hoki trawl fisheries were 416 (95% c.i. 335-518), the highest in the time series since 2002-03. However, the capture rate, at 2.27 birds per each 100 tows observed, was substantially lower than in 2013-14, when total captures were 397 (95% c.i. 335-483), but the capture rate was 3.93. The average observed seabird capture rate in hoki trawl fisheries over the last ten years is about 2.36 birds per 100 tows, which is considered a low rate relative to other New Zealand trawl fisheries (Ministry for Primary Industries 2017) . Since 2002-03, the six most captured species in hoki fisheries, based on observer data, have been Salvin's, southern Buller's, and NZ white-capped albatross, as well as sooty shearwaters, white-chinned petrels, and cape petrels. The NPOA-Seabirds employs a risk assessment framework to generate quantitative risk scores for seabird species (Ministry for Primary Industries 2016) . The hoki fishery is considered to contribute a high level of risk for two of its most captured seabird species, Southern Buller's albatross and Salvin's albatross, which are assessed as being very high risk species in New Zealand fisheries generally (Ministry for Primary Industries 2017) . In 2014, the hoki fishery was estimated to contribute just under 20% of the total estimated New Zealand fishing activity risk for the Salvin's albatross, and roughly 40% of the total estimated risk for Southern Buller's albatross (Ministry for Primary Industries 2014) . Following the the implementation of mandatory mitigation measures (scaring devices), average rates of capture for Salvin's and white-capped albatross (which account for 71% of albatross captures in the hoki fishery) decreased (going from 0.61 and 0.26 to 0.20 and 0.21 per 100 tows respectively, over a 4-year period). The capture rate of white-capped albatross shows a decreasing trend since 2005, while longer term trends for Salvin's and Southern Buller's albatross captures in trawl fisheries are less definative (Ministry for Primary Industries 2016) ; (Ministry for Primary Industries 2017) . While mitigation devices appear to have been effective in decreasing the rate of warp strikes, net captures recently have been observed to be increasing, which has driven higher rates of capture particularly for smaller species such as sooty shearwater (Akroyd et al. 2016) .
Marine mammals are protected under provisions of the Marine Mammals Protection Act (MMPA) 1978; and the MPI’s National Deepwater Plan (NDP) includes objectives to avoid and minimize the capture of marine mammals. The fishery does not interact with dolphins or whales (Boyd, 2011). New Zealand fur seals Arctocephalus forsteri (Least Concern) (Chilvers and Goldsworthy 2015) and New Zealand sea lions Phocarctos hookeri (Endangered) (Chilvers 2017) , meanwhile, are identified as incidental catches, but are not considered to be threatened by the fishery (Boyd, 2011). Captures of sea lions in the HMAs are rare (MPI 2012). Detrimental impacts of the fishery on fur seal populations generally are considered unlikely (Akroyd et al. 2012) ; (Ministry for Primary Industries 2016) though potential risk to local populations has been noted (Ministry for Primary Industries 2013); (Ministry for Primary Industries 2016) . Investigation into population-scale impacts of fishery-related fur seal deaths has been limited by uncertainty about the size of the NZ population and the provenance of animals captured (Ministry for Primary Industries 2016) and until recently, assessment of the overall risk has relied largely on expert opinion and qualitative ecological risk assessment (ERA) (Akroyd et al. 2012) ; (Ministry for Primary Industries 2016) However, a Spatially Explicit Risk Assessment (SEFRA), already applied to New Zealand seabirds, is currently being completed for marine mammals. Fishery-related risk to fur seals is attributed primarily to trawl fisheries targeting hoki and southern blue whiting; and preliminary SEFRA results estimate a cumulative risk ratio accross fisheries to be between 0.2-0.6, on a 0.0-5.0 scale, a result that is considered to be consistent with indications that the population size has been increasing in recent years. To improve understanding of the effects of the commercial fisheries on NZ fur seal populations, recommendations include more consistant population data at different geographic scales, genetic work to differentiate between colonies, and increased oberver coverage to improve catch estimates. In 2013 the DWG Ltd., in agreement with industry and NGOs, developed a set of Marine Mammal Operational Procedures (MMOP) for mitigating marine mammal bycatch (Ministry for Primary Industries 2013) Estimated capture rates in the last five years have been below the long term average since 2002-03, though catches increased in 2014-15, when the mean estimate for fur seal mortalities in the hoki fisheries was 313 animals, equating to a capture rate of 1.2% per fishery tow (Abraham and Thompson 2015) . Active monitoring of interactions is ongoing (Ministry for Primary Industries 2013) ; (Ministry for Primary Industries 2016) .
Basking shark Cetorhinus maximus – listed in CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) and in the IUCN 2005 Red List as Vulnerable (Fowler 2005) – is occasionally caught as bycatch, although captures have been few since the ealy 2000s (Ministry for Primary Industries 2017) . The species has had protected status in New Zealand since 2010. There are no direct mitigation measures, though the DWG Ltd. provides guidance on reporting and safe handling practices to help ensure survival upon release (Deepwater Working Group Ltd. 2014) . The New Zealand National Plan of Action for the Conservation and Management of Sharks (NPOA–Sharks) (2013) outlines a set of actions for the conservation and management of sharks, which include review of management categories and protection status, addressing research gaps for high-risk species, monitoring of the implementation of the shark finning ban, and work with fishers to ensure best practice handling and mitigation measures (Ministry for Primary Industries 2016) . Mandatory reporting of catches of protected species serves to monitor interactions. Some research into the interactions between basking sharks and fisheries has been published (e.g. Francis & Sutton (2012) (Ministry for Primary Industries 2017) . The last MSC reassessment of the fishery made a recommendation to understand the biological status of all pale ghost shark Hydrolagus bemisi (Least Concern (Francis 2003) stocks (Akroyd et al. 2012) . Porbeagle Lamna nasus and school Galeorhinus galeus sharks (both Vulnerable (Stevens et al. 2006) ; (Walker et al. 2006) ) are QMS bycatch species but are not considered to be threatened by the fishery.
In addition to species already noted, the second MSC surveillance audit completed in 2014, mentioned other protected species captures reported by observers in the 2012-13 fishing year including dusky dolphin (1) and pilot whale (1) (Akroyd and Pierre, 2014).
Many benthic organisms are protected in New Zealand including black corals (all species in the order Antipatharia), Gorgonian corals (all species in the order Gorgonacea), Stony corals (all species in the order Scleractinia), Hydrozoa (hydra-like animals), and Hydrocorals (all species in the family Stylasteridae) (NZ Department of Conservation 2017) . While captures are required by law to be reported, their capture in commercial fisheries is not illegal (Akroyd et al. 2012) . While there is a growing body of research on benthic organisms such as corals (Ministry for Primary Industries 2016) , robust managment has been limited to a degree by lack of knowledge (Akroyd et al. 2012) .
OTHER TARGET AND BYCATCH SPECIES
Last updated on 10 July 2017
Hoki was 84.7%, 85.9% and 88% of the catch in 2012-2013, 2013-2014 and 2014-2015 respectively (Ministry for Primary Industries 2017) . Data on bycatch and discarded species are obtained through both the recording of catches and observers’ reports. Composition and proportion of commercial and non-commercial species vary between the fishing areas and seasons (Ministry of Fisheries, 2011a).
Main non-target species that are predominantly managed under the Quota Management System (QMS) and are at least 1% of catches are considered as key bycatch species. Species that are not-QMS are usually discarded, incidentally captured and of little commercial value (NDP, 2012). By-catch of non-QMS fish species constitutes a small proportion (<5%) of the total hoki catch (MPI, 2013b). For the all fishing areas and between 2014-2015 (proportion in weight of catches) of main captured species were: hoki (88.0%), ling (2.4%), javelinfish (1.4%), rattails (1.1%) and hake( 1.8%) (Ministry for Primary Industries 2017) . None of the captured species is considered to be a concern (Akroyd et al. 2012) . In hoki target fisheries off the west cast South Island, Chatham Rise and Sub-Antarctic the main bycatch species are hake, ling, silver warehou, jack mackerel and spiny dogfish; while in Cook Strait, the main bycatch species are ling and spiny dogfish (Ministry for Primary Industries 2017) . Total annual discard estimates ranged from about 5,500 to 29,000 tonnes per year between 2000–01 and 2006–07 (MPI, 2013). According to Anderson (2014), the species showing the greatest decline in by-catch rate between 1990-2012 were skates, slender jack mackerel and dogfishes. The species showing the greatest increase were floppy tubular sponge (Hyalascus sp.) and umbrella octopus (Opisthoteuthis spp.). However, this increase also could resulted of an improved identification of these species. Any increase to the Hoki TAC (2015-2016 season) was considered unlikely to have an unacceptable impact on the key by-catch species in the hoki fisheries (MPI, 2015b).
Management controls to reduce bycatch and discards include restrictions prohibiting bigger vessels (>45 m) to operate near the coast, agreed catch splits between eastern and western stocks and Industry Operational Procedures for hoki trawling fisheries aiming to protect smaller fish (<60 cm) and mitigate bycatch of marine mammals (Deepwater Working Group Ltd. 2014) . HMAs contribute when the catch is more than 20% of juveniles (Ballara, 2010; Ministry of Fisheries, 2011; MPI, 2012).
A framework for sustainability risk assessment of fish by-catch in deepwater fisheries in New Zeland is presently under development (Roux et al., 2015).
Last updated on 10 July 2017
Trawling using demersal or midwater gear is the only method of capture in the directed hoki fishery (Ministry for Primary Industries 2017) . Midwater trawl was the predominant gear in the early history of the hoki fishery, but bottom trawling has accounted for a greater share of the area-wide effort since the mid-1990s. It dominates heavily on the Chatham Rise and Sub-Antarctic fishing grounds, where it is used outside of the spawning season. Twin trawls, which capture more fish per tow than single gear, have accounted for catch of nearly half of the TACC in some years; and the impacts of this gear in relationship to catches have not been analyzed. Mid-water trawling is expected to occasionally interact with the seabed ecosystem. Moreover, impacts from bottom contact are considered to be cumulative.
Past assessments have indicated that generally benthic bycatch is small, except for sponges (Ministry of Fisheries, 2010). Baird et al., (2013) mentioned that although all coral orders were represented in the hoki bycatch, about 80% were stony corals (Baird et al., 2013).
In light of an industry proposal, Benthic Protection Areas (BPAs) within New Zealand’s EEZ, corresponding to 32% of its total area, were closed to bottom trawling (and dredging) in 2007 on a permanent basis (Deepwater Working Group Ltd. 2015) ; (Ministry for Primary Industries 2017) , (see "Marine Reserves" section below).
Some habitat classes – Benthic-Optimised Marine Environment Classification (BOMEC) 7, 8, 9 – were identified in an Ecosystem Risk Assessment conducted by Boyd (2011), and were considered of special vulnerability. Of highest concern was BOMEC class 9 habitat on the heavily trawled Chatham Rise, which was considered to be at "major risk" (Akroyd et al. 2012) . BOMEC classes 7 and 8 were considered "moderate risk" in some areas, but were later downgraded to "negligible risk". Identification of unprotected BOMEC 9 habitat in the Chatham rise has prompted question by some stakeholders as to whether BPAs are represenative enough. The MSC re-certification of the fishery (achieved in 2012) defined one condition: “Improve management of habitat impacts of the hoki fishery, such that by the end of third surveillance audit, it can be shown that the fishery is highly unlikely (i.e. there should be no more than a 30% probability) to reduce habitat structure and function to a point where there would be serious or irreversible harm.” During the first surveillance audit (Akroyd and Pierre, J. 2013) , the status of the condition was revisited in light of an evolving spatial unit definition under the MSC's standards for evaluating habitat structure and function, which resulted in an elevation of scale. When the scoring criteria was re-examined at the aggregated scale, it was determined reasonable to conclude that the fishery is highly unlikely to reduce habitat structure and function to a point where there would be serious or irreversible harm, and the condition was closed. Rational for this conclusion was based on the extent of habitats remaining outside the areas in which hoki is bottom trawled, the trend of a shrinking bottom trawl footprint in the most heavily trawled habitat types, and the ecosystem function indicated by trawl surveys in the Chatham Rise. However, it was noted that the justifications were highly inferential and the conclusion was not made with a high degree of confidence. A recommendation was raised to further monitor and assess the bottom trawl footprint by BOMEC habitat class (or an improved tool, when one becomes available). The recommendation has been repeated through subsequent surveillance audits and remains current as of the 4th surveillance audit (Akroyd et al. 2016) . Throughout the present certification cycle, the DWG Ltd. has expressed concern regarding the applicability of the BOMEC classification scheme. It is now understood by the surveillance team (Akroyd et al. 2016) that DWG Ltd. considers the BOMEC habitat classification scheme to be of limited value for assessing trawl and dredge impacts on benthic fauna and habitats in New Zealand waters; and development of a spatially explicit, risk-based methodology has been identified as the preferred approach going forward. Meanwhile, progress has been noted with respect to quantification of the trawling footprint, knowledge of benthic distributions, and assessment of risks of trawling impacts on benthic habitat.
Given their large biomass, hoki are a key component of the shelf ecosystem, and the importance of understanding of prey-predator relationships between hoki and other species is noted (Ministry for Primary Industries 2017) . A past study (Anderson and Smith 2005 in (Ministry for Primary Industries 2016) estimated annual hoki discards in the hoki fishery to be between 600-2,100 tonnes; an amount that is considered large enough to have potential impacts on the diets of scavenging species (Forman and Dunn 2012 in (Ministry for Primary Industries 2016) ). Information on the size and recruitment stage of hoki eatem by predators is lacking, and could be an important factor with regard to fishery intereaction and potential for competition (Ministry for Primary Industries 2017) .
Last updated on 10 July 2017
Marine protected areas (MPAs) represent over 3% of the New Zealand marine environment, including fisheries closures on seamounts (DOC, 2011). About 44 “Type 1” MPAs, the highest level of marine protection, have been created under the Marine Reserves Act of 1971 (New Zealand Parliamentary Counsel 1971) . Additional protected areas "Type 2" MPAs have been established outside of the Marine Reserves ACT by means including Fisheries Act closures and cable protection zones. A 12 nautical mile exclusion zone was declared in 2013 around the Campblel Islands due to the high bycatch mortality of New Zealand Sea Lions (DoC, 2013). There are 17 large areas closed to bottom trawling and dredging via Benthic Protection Areas (BPAs), first established in 2007 (Deepwater Working Group Ltd. 2015) . These BPAs effectively closed approximately 30% of the New Zealand EEZ (Ministry for Primary Industries 2014) , and cover 52% of all seamounts and 88% of hydrothermal vents (New Zealand Department of Conservation and Ministry of Fisheries 2005) ; (Ministry for Primary Industries 2017) ; (Ministry for Primary Industries 2013) ; (Ministry for Primary Industries 2014) . The Hoki Operational Procedure (HOP) is applied to all vessels greater than 28 m and includes four closing areas to protect juvenile hoki: Cook Start, Canterbury banks, Mernoo Bank and Puysegur Bank (Ministry for Primary Industries 2014) .
A strategic plan for creating a network of representative protected Marine Protected Areas (MPAs), to be implemented by New Zealand government agencies in consultation with regional stakeholders, was developed in 2005 (New Zealand Department of Conservation and Ministry of Fisheries 2005) . At the time the plan was established, the government agreed not to implement the marine protected areas policy within the EEZ until 2013; and by 2015, New Zealand’s MPA Policy had still only been applied to the territorial sea (i.e. within the 12-mile zone) (Deepwater Working Group Ltd. 2015) .
In January 2016, the NZ government published a document proposing a new Marine Protected Areas Act (Ministry for Primary Industries 2016) . This document provided four categories of MPA: marine reserves, species-specific sanctuaries, seabed reserves and recreational fishing parks. The goal of the proposal was to congregate all the matters related to the topic of MPAs in a single document, and to improve the decision-making process. However, reforms relate only to the territorial seas.
While large areas and a variety of marine environments in the New Zealand EEZ are contained within BPAs, there is some controversy regarding the adequacy of benthic protections for some bottom trawled habitat. Application of the BOMEC classification scheme identified unprotected high risk habitat, specifically, BOMEC 9 classified habitat in the Chatham Rise (Akroyd et al. 2012) . However, due to concerns regarding the suitability of the BOMEC scheme for identifying impacts on benthic fauna and habitats in New Zealand waters, an alternative risk-based classification scheme is being pursued. While uncertainty remains, effort has been progressing and the subject is identified as a continuing area of interest for MSC audit and assessment teams (Akroyd et al. 2016) .