SANZ has a strong desire to create sustainable harvesting industries for select seaweed species underpinned by sound ecological, social and economic principles.
Ecklonia radiata harvesting as a sustainable fishery model
In 2009 SANZ affiliated members began an 8 year study in the eastern Bay of Plenty to evaluate the environmental effects of wild harvesting the laminarian alga Ecklonia radiata from the coastal New Zealand marine environment. The research was performed in response to the Ministry of Fisheries electing seven seaweed species for inclusion in to the Quota Management System, a volume based fish stock quota which permits an annual total allowable catch (kg) of a live stock from a particular area. The concern was that no prior studies had been performed to understand potential ecological implications arising from this action.
The research was led by Dr. Tim Haggitt of Coastal Research and Consulting Ltd, field support from Paul Houston and Simone Rankin of P&S Seaweed Harvesters and all funding from Ocean Organics Ltd.
Key aims of the research were to understand the effects of harvesting Ecklonia radiata on its subsequent recovery through space and time, and on other algal and benthic invertebrate species which rely on Ecklonia radiata habitats. Outcomes from the research suggest that this species can be harvested sustainability, provided strict spatial management controls are in place and that harvest beds are managed very carefully over small spatial scales.
SANZ and affiliated researchers developing together a strategy which will best deliver to government the sustainability model derived from the research. It is anticipated the research can be used to support and direct harvesting frameworks and plans for other species.