Orange Roughy Certification in final stages

Sealord's investment and support for new technology has been critical in the expected announcement of Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certification of orange roughy, as it enters its final consultation stage.


Through this equipment - the trawl-mounted Acoustic and Optical System (AOS) - it's been possible to show that numbers of orange roughy are healthy and rising. Beforehand, with deep sea fishing in depths of over 500 metres, it wasn't possible to count fish accurately or fully understand their behaviour.


The development has continued, now with a special fibre optic cable which provides fishers and scientists with real-time data and visuals that are computer-linked from the net to the vessel. This technology is part of the Smart Trawling approach.


"The armoured optic cable enables high bandwidth transmission of data and control of what is happening on the net, and that is the actual breakthrough," says Graham Patchell, Resources Manager. "No-one has done that before, been prepared to take such a risk with trawling. The cable is very expensive and we had to do a lot of work to get the components to enable this to work safely."


News of the successful anticipated certification is expected this month as a result of the latest research showing healthy stocks in the three main orange roughy fisheries - ORH3B East and South Chatham Rise, ORH3B North West Chatham Rise and ORH7A including Westpac Bank. These areas have been assessed against MSC’s rigorous standard, which as well as noting stocks are healthy, assesses whether fisheries are adversely impacting the marine ecosystem they operate in and if there are good measures for ongoing effective management.


They are the first orange roughy fisheries in the world to undergo assessment in MSC’s global program.

The Deepwater Group (DWG), which represents Sealord and other New Zealand deep water seafood quota owners, is progressing all represented fisheries to a level that would meet the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) sustainability standard.  To date 75 per cent of the deep water catch is either MSC certified (including Hoki, Hake and Ling) or undergoing formal assessment.



Marine Stewardship Council NZ orange roughy certification page

Deepwater Group NZ orange roughy certification page

MSC Fisheries explained


Media Enquiries

For all media enquiries, please contact:

Debbie Hannan
Public Affairs and Communications Manager

Tel +64 3 548 3069