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Poll shows Kiwis support sustainable seamount fishing

Media Release

29 August 2022

Poll shows Kiwis support sustainable seamount fishing

A nationwide poll found that 61% of New Zealanders support Sealord's proposal to protect 89% of seamounts from bottom trawling in New Zealand's EEZ.

Sealord commissioned an independent, nationally representative poll by Curia Research (attached in full) which asked: To balance the competing priorities of conservation and food production, the fishing company Sealord has proposed that 89% of seamounts should be protected. Would you support or oppose this proposal?

Results showed 61% of Kiwis support Sealord’s proposal, 15% are opposed and 24% were unsure.

Respondents were also asked: What percentage of seamounts would you be comfortable with New Zealand fishing?

The poll found that only 8% of New Zealanders want fishing on seamounts banned, while 67% are comfortable with fishing on 25% or more of New Zealand’s seamounts and 25% were unsure.

Sealord CEO Doug Paulin said the survey shows Kiwis back a balance between conservation and fishing.

“We know sustainable fishing is important to Kiwis. It is great to see their support for this proposal,” he said.

“Sealord is committed to a balance that errs on the side of marine life. Evidence suggests that we can close bottom trawling to 89% cent of seamounts whilst maintaining the volume of fish New Zealand needs to eat, export, and meet quota catch limits.”

Sealord’s proposal received cross-party support in the research, with approval from 64% of Green party voters and 69% of Labour party voters. In contrast, the Green Party wants to ban seamount fishing, and Greenpeace has claimed 80% of New Zealanders support a ban.

Paulin views the quarter of Kiwis who were unsure as an opportunity to engage with discussions about how the fish they eat are sustainably caught.

“In addition to the White Paper we released on our proposal this month, we are releasing the poll results in full because we are committed to being transparent with New Zealanders,” Paulin says.

The poll was conducted by Curia Research from Wednesday 3 August to Thursday 11 August. A total of 1,200 eligible New Zealand voters agreed to participate, with a maximum sampling error of +/- 2.8 per cent.

Sealord announced the proposal in April before the start of an industry forum, brought together by the Government to discuss options for seamount fishing. 

You can see a short video here with people’s views about seamount fishing below:

NOTE TO EDITOR: The figures in Sealord’s Seamounts Count proposal are based on NIWA data February 2021.

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