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Introduction of Bladder Kelp Seaweed,
Macrocystis Pyrifera (KBB), in Fisheries Management Areas 3 and 4 into the
Quota Management System on 1 October 2010
Fisheries media release
The Ministry of Fisheries has
today released a consultation paper on catch limits for “attached” bladder
kelp on the east coast of the South Island and on the Chatham Islands.
The government announced last year that bladder kelp attached to substrate -
usually the sea floor - in these areas would be introduced to the Quota
Management System (QMS) on 1 October 2010.
“Seaweeds play an important role in the aquatic ecosystem, providing food,
habitat and shelter for other marine animals,” said Leigh Mitchell, Ministry
of Fisheries Inshore Fisheries Manager. “Internationally seaweeds also support
sometimes large and highly valuable sustainable fisheries.
“The consultation paper contains a range of catch limit options for bladder
kelp in the two areas. The options have been developed after careful review of
the best available information and are deliberately cautious to ensure
sustainability, given the ecological importance of this species, while
allowing opportunity for development.”
The consultation process will
run for six weeks to provide people with a good opportunity to have their say
on the catch limits proposed.
The government is likely make a decision in the middle of this year.
Bladder kelp, Macrocystis
pyrifera, also known as giant kelp, is a brown seaweed that forms
extensive undersea forests. Plants can grow from depths of 30 metres to the
sea surface where they form extensive floating canopies.
It is found in many areas of
both the northern (Alaska, California) and southern (South America, New
Zealand) hemispheres and is usually attached to the rocky ocean floor.
It is the fastest growing
organism on Earth, and can reach up to 60 metres in length in the northern
hemisphere in one growing season. This is the time when environmental
conditions such as light and nutrients are at their optimum levels that
encourage kelp growth.
Bladder kelp grows more slowly
in the southern hemisphere than the northern hemisphere but can still achieve
between one and 15 millimetres a day and heights around 30 to 40 metres.
In New Zealand the species is
distributed patchily, but its range extends from Cook Strait southwards and
around the Chatham Islands.
Article on two rare seaweeds discovered in
"Rare seaweeds discovered in Northland"
Two rare New Zealand seaweeds have been discovered in Northland, and they
could have exciting commercial applications for the pharmaceutical and
NIWA scientist and seaweed expert Wendy Nelson said one of the red seaweed
species, Gelidium longipes, had not been collected for 50 years, and
another, Gelidium allanii, had been recorded only from a single site
since it was first discovered in 1942.
‘Both species are very distinctive and can be easily distinguished from other
New Zealand species. However, they’re small, so it would be easy for the
untrained eye to overlook them,’ said Dr Nelson in the latest issue of
Aquatic Biodiversity & Biosecurity,
‘Although the naturally occurring populations of the species we’ve found so
far couldn’t sustain harvesting, they may contain commercially useful variants
of agar that could be the basis for the cultivation of unique new products.
‘Many of these species are found only in very small numbers and have highly
restricted distributions. This makes the populations extremely vulnerable to
coastal modifications or developments. We use molecular sequence analysis to
allow us to work with very small samples and ensure that we don’t over-collect
or damage small populations’.
‘We need to live sustainably with our coasts and marine resources. However,
there’s still so much we don’t know about the distribution and properties of
species around our coastline, and we can only protect what we know is there.’
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