Full Article: https://www.noted.co.nz/currently/environment/3-businesses-striking-the-right-balance-between-environment-and-profit/
3 businesses striking the right balance between environment and profit by Gareth Eyres / 05 June, 2018
Artisan Fishing in the Bay of Plenty
Three o’clock in the morning is a disturbing time to go to work, but for the three-man crew of the fishing vessel Coastal Rover in Tauranga, it’s standard operating procedure.
Captain Russell Harvey and his sons, Dan and Adam, run the boat as a fishing family affair. They work the reefs and sand flats off the Bay of Plenty coast whenever the weather is halfway decent. But instead of trawl fishing, the Harveys employ more eco-friendly longline fishing. “And you catch better-quality fish this way,” says Russell. On a typical day, they will bait, set and retrieve up to 2000 hooks, the whole procedure taking the best part of 12 hours.
First, the boat steams out at a steady six knots to their chosen fishing ground, about 20-25km offshore. As they head out, the crew bait and prepare the lines. Mostly they use pilchards, salted down for three days so moisture is removed and the flesh is tough enough to stay on the hook. The hooks are a recurve style with a metal prong above to dissuade small fish from being hooked accidentally. Baiting is time-consuming; sharp hooks and knives are wielded with care.
At their destination, the crew drop their tori (bird-scaring) line first. Russell lobs a buoy that looks like a road cone with an orange soccer ball stuffed in its base. It’s attached to a long line of strong monofilament from which hang lengths of brightly coloured tape, to help scare seabirds away from baited hooks.
The Ministry for Primary Industries has made it obligatory to run a tori line while longline fishing, and is introducing a more stringent monitoring programme for commercial fishers. Digital monitoring – comprising geospatial position reporting (GPR), catch reporting via e-logbooks and on-board cameras – will provide better information about commercial fishing activity, enabling better monitoring of fishing catch, bycatch and incidental casualties, such as pilchard-pinching seabirds.
All trawl vessels of more than 28m now operate under the GPR and e-logbook requirements. This development is an extra cost to the fishers, but some have already bought into sustainable fishing models – and not just because it’s the right thing to do. Line fishing not only reduces the amount of bycatch – from dolphins to ancient coral – it also commands premium prices in the markets of Japan, Singapore, the US and Australia.
On the Coastal Rover, the line is ready to be hauled in. It’s been down for around three hours, dropped over a patch of sand in 60m of water to the northeast of Mōtītī Island.
There’s a sense of anticipation as the top marker buoy is retrieved; the line is then hooked onto a large reel and brought to the surface. It’s a smooth operation and all about taking care of the fish – avoiding stressing or bruising them as they come aboard, then dispatching them humanely.
I set my stopwatch to time the catch transition. The first fish is undersized, and is quickly unhooked and returned to the ocean unharmed. The second is a 40cm snapper in excellent condition.
First, Dan pauses the retrieval reel, deftly removes the trace from the line, and swings the fish and its attached trace inboard, where it lands on the processing table. Here’s where you discover how much these guys care about the quality of the fish they catch. The snapper lands on a piece of foam – a cushion to prevent bruising of the flesh.
Russell takes the trace in one hand; his second hand holds the fish firmly on the cushion. He removes the trace and hook, returning them to a trace frame for tidy safekeeping. Ryan, meanwhile, takes hold of the fish and with an iki spike – a tool like an ice-pick – carefully stabs the fish above and behind the gill, into the brain.
The snapper is then slipped into a tank containing salt ice slurry. The lower freezing point of the ice ensures a rapid chill-down time for the fish – essential for maintaining perfect flesh.
Time elapsed since the fish left the water: 22 seconds. The Harveys repeat this manoeuvre up to 1000 times a day.
Top chefs scour the world for quality fish.
Chef Daniel Chavez, owner of the Ola Cocina del Mar restaurant in Singapore, is visiting Tauranga solely to see where his fish comes from and how it’s caught.
Originally from Peru, Chavez has never been fishing, either with a humble rod or on a commercial vessel. I’m not sure what he’s expecting, heading out on the Coastal Rover in blokey New Zealand, but what he gets is pretty special; his delight as he catches his first fish on a rod and reel, a golden snapper, is palpable.
Dan Harvey is a bit of a chef himself. He prides himself on his raw fish salad and pan-fried snapper, normally wolfed down between slices of white bread and butter as a hot-fish sandwich to keep the boys going while they’re working.
Chavez has brought a bag of traditional Peruvian fixings to show the crew what he does with their fish in his restaurant. He has a passion for chilli, the basis of many dishes from his homeland. His ceviche ingredients include capsicums, lemons, red onion, fresh coriander, garlic, ginger, sugar, salt, Waiheke olive oil and a couple of sachets of a chilli preparation he bought at a specialty store in Auckland. The scene is set for a deckside cook-off.
The fishing complete, we steam back into Tauranga Harbour, pulling into a sheltered bay. As the anchor drops into pellucid blue-green water, a seal surfaces with a large octopus fixed in its jaws. The seal thrashes the cephalopod from side to side, tearing away bite-sized pieces, then gulping them down.
This is better than television. First, Chavez gets The Fishing Show, then Masterchef: The Fish Challenge and now it’s Blue Planet. For the Harveys, this is just another day; Chavez is on cloud nine.
While Russell and Ryan pack the catch into fish bins surrounded with salt ice, Dan selects a few nice-sized snapper, quickly fillets them and starts to prepare his dish. Chavez lovingly chops his raw ingredients and smiles as he looks at the perfectly chilled fillets set in front of him.
Chavez takes a bite of his Kiwi hot-fish sandwich. “What we’re looking for in a restaurant is flavour, which primarily comes from the raw ingredients,” he says. “There’s no magic behind it; if you use fish that’s been living in a clean environment like this, has been caught in a responsible, sustainable manner, then treated with care during the whole delivery chain – well, we’re off to a good start.”
In such a simple way, export relationships are born.
Net Gain - New Zealand
Who would of thought going back to an old fashioned way of fishing would lead to international recognition for quality and sustainability?! We're proud of what we do and thankful to be able to make a living doing things we're passionate about.
Here's the story with a link to their magazine below.
Writer: Clarissa Sebag-Montefiore
Photographer: Lottie Hedley
Sustainable fishing keeps family firms afloat – not least the Harveys, who ply their trade in the Bay of Plenty.
Daniel Harvey undertook his first commercial fishing trip in the Bay of Plenty, off the coast of New Zealand’s North Island, when he was just five weeks old. “My father tied me into the cupboard in a cradle,” says the 30-year-old. “I also went every school holiday.”
Daniel now works in the trade and although fishing is in the family line, the methods have changed hugely since his grandfather’s day. Gone is the damaging and demanding practice of trawling; in its place arrived the more sustainable method called longline fishing.
In the early hours of a summer morning, not far from the small harbourside city of Tauranga, Daniel, his father Russell and teenage brother Adam are hauling in the catch onto their boat, the Royal Salute. First a long line with baited hooks is thrown down to the seabed. Working fast, the team hauls it up, removing fish one by one. The catch is then killed using a traditional Japanese method, ikejime, that’s said to better preserve the taste: pushing a spike into the rear of a fish’s head to snap the spinal cord before tossing it on ice. It sounds gruesome but the family complete their task with precision and dexterity. Red snapper, fighty silver Kahawai (sometimes known as Eastern Australian salmon) and orange-winged gurnard are among the most common catches.
Longline fishing “does the least damage to the marine environment”, says Daniel, who’s holding a glistening pinky-hued snapper the size of a coffee-table book. “Usually we just catch exactly what we need and nothing else. When we don’t we return it to the water alive.”
On the morning that Monocle visits the method spares a couple of small sharks, eels aplenty and a handful of undersized fish, all thrown back to swim another day. It’s a practice that stands in stark contrast to trawlers, which kill marine life, including dolphins, indiscriminately; habitats are also disturbed.
“Big trawlers do too much damage,” says Russell. “I think there are some species of fish out here that are taking a hammering and something should be done about it.” The Royal Salute even has a camera on board – the presence of which is voluntary – so that good practice can be assessed and recorded by the New Zealand fishing authorities.
The Harveys abide by the New Zealand Quota Management System, introduced in 1986 to conserve fishing stocks. They travel to sea for two days at a time, sleeping on the boat, and eat fresh sashimi or sizzling fish tacos for dinner. They catch and sell about 80 tonnes of fish per year.
Once back in Tauranga the fish is taken to Leigh Fisheries’ factory, an hour’s drive from Auckland. Individual boxes are packed for clients, with fish flown to restaurants in Singapore, Japan and the US. Leigh Fisheries helps to keep family firms like that of the Harveys – and the 45 other boats they buy from – afloat in New Zealand.
The fish is sold whole and ungutted across Europe, Asia and North America, as well as domestically.“The minute you cut into a fish you introduce some bacteria and that speeds up the degradation process,” says Dick van der Sande, general manager of the Singapore-based arm of the firm, Lee Fish Asia. (This branch of the business was renamed to avoid confusion in the overseas market about the pronunciation of the word “Leigh”, which is actually pronounced “lee”.)
For Russell, sustainable fishing is about good business – his catch can fetch NZ$50 to NZ$70 (€33 to €47) per kilogram – as well as being ethical. “People are willing to pay more for fish caught in a sustainable manner. They are willing to pay more for quality,” he says. “We catch less and get more for it and that makes sense to me.”
Fishing is a lifestyle as well as a job though. “We have the best office in the world out here,” says Daniel. “It’s always changeable and always a challenge. If I won the lottery it wouldn’t change much – I’d just have a better boat.”
You can view the story on Monocle's website here
Writer: Clarissa Sebag-Montefiore
Photographer: Lottie Hedley
Ola's Daniel Chavez: What happened to feeling, smelling and tasting ingredients?
We headed to the south of Auckland with the owner of the Lee Fisheries, the company that brings the fish to Singapore, and we were lucky enough to get on board a small fishing boat called The Royal Salute, which is owned by a family who has been doing long-line fishing for three generations.
This boat only goes out to catch fish when there is good, calm weather because rough seas will rock the boat too much. This movement will make the ice melt too quickly, and cause the fish to smash against each other, destroying their scales in the process.
New Zealand is the only country in the world where 100 per cent of the coastline is regulated so fishing is always sustainable there. Even if formal regulation didn’t exist, this is already a philosophy of many fishermen in the country. I asked the few I encountered why they don’t venture to adopt more profitable practices besides long-line fishing and their answer was very simple: they needed to make sure there is enough fish for the future generations, they told me.
The guys then showed us how to kill the fish with the Japanese ikejime method. Basically, the fish is killed as soon as it leaves the water by inserting a hook in the middle part of the head and down its spinal cord. This process kills the fish immediately and it a more humane process than asphyxiating it out of the ocean. This also helps to preserve the quality of the fish.
What we saw after that is one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen in my life. One by one, the fish were removed from the ocean with such great care. They even have a small cushion so that the flesh doesn’t get damaged while the fish is being sacrificed.
The fish is later put in a mixture of water and ice. This process will leave no blood remaining in the flesh, resulting in a much firmer texture, and much more pleasant taste, even when it is eaten raw.
What I also found out is that all the fish caught by the Royal Salute are certified “Friends of the Sea”. This basically that the fishermen don’t only catch fish and then try to sell it. They sell fish and then target the catch around what is needed, reducing the amount of wasted catch - another huge problem in our society these days.
In my view, the relationship that the long-line fishermen in New Zealand have with the environment is something that should be taken as a role model all over the world.
With all the problems that we have as a human society in damaging nature everywhere this experience comes as a much needed breath of fresh air. What these gentlemen are doing is almost heroic to me.
At the end of the day, most chefs are looking for good flavor when they source ingredients and this quality primarily comes from sourcing prime ingredients. There is no magic behind it. If we can use fish that has been living in a great and clean environment, that has been caught in a responsible manner after and that has been treated with care throughout the entire delivery chain, then we are off for a good start.
I guess the biggest lesson here is this: when you think about what we do as cooks in restaurants, it looks really complicated, yet it is so little and tiny compared to what nature has done for us. We all have to take care of it. Now."
Since discovering his passion for cooking at 18 years old, Peruvian-born Chef Daniel Chavez has cooked in kitchens all over the world, including 3-Michelin star Can Fabes (Sant Celoni), Les Amis (Singapore), Ossiano (Dubai) and Santi (Singapore). In 2012, Chef Daniel opened OLA, focusing on bringing the best seasonal produce cooked with traditional methods. OLA was designed as a homely and casual atmosphere where customers can relax, have fun and feel at home. www.olarestaurant.sg
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Erika and Dan Harvey owners of a longliner with Redline Fishing say they are currently being forced to operate in unsafe conditions.
BY: JOHN COUSINS
Tauranga's independent commercial fishermen have succeeded in convincing the council to identify areas with the potential to build a new unloading wharf along the city's waterfront.
It follows a series of meetings between the council and members of the Harvey fishing family who were unhappy at the size of the area allocated to the independents in Sulphur Point's Marine Precinct.
At risk of leaving Tauranga were up to 70 fishing jobs and an annual catch worth $20 million.
Commercial fishermen who operated outside of the Moana Pacific and Sanford groups of companies had pinned their hopes on the information memorandum that went out to businesses interested in tendering for land in the first stage of the precinct.
The memorandum promised to provide facilities for loading ice and unloading fresh fish to meet the needs of the local fishing fleet. It said the precinct would also provide dedicated areas to allow truck access to the water's edge for unloading or servicing of fishing vessels.
But the Harveys argued that the council's solution fell well short of what was needed to keep more than 20 independents from leaving Tauranga.
The precinct plan identified how the ice wharf at Sulphur Point would become a communal user-pays unloading wharf, once the council's lease expired with Moana Pacific Fisheries in about six months. The wharf access through a 625 sq m block bordering Cross Rd would also be retained in council ownership.
"There are over 20 fishing vessels that this Marine Precinct plan is pushing out of the region. We are the local fishing fleet that is being forgotten"
Fishing skipper Dan Harvey, owner of longliner Royal Salute, argued that the ice wharf only provided five metres of truck to boat space compared to Whangarei's 490 metres, Napier's 400 metres, Gisborne's 286 metres, Coromandel's 100 metres and Whakatane's 80 metres.
He said they were down to one wharf for all commercial boats to do work where it was relatively common to see boats queued waiting to unload their catches. Mr Harvey said there was no unloading wharf.
"There is an ice and fuel wharf that everyone has to use for unloading...our biggest problem is that we need more space to take stuff on or off our boats. We are being forced to operate in unsafe conditions just to unload our catch or to put gear on our boats."
He said the precinct plan still did not allow for an unloading wharf.
"There are over 20 fishing vessels that this Marine Precinct plan is pushing out of the region. We are the local fishing fleet that is being forgotten."
Another fisherman Karl Mattock of the Sea Prophet who was yesterday forced to unload his catch of crayfish across Mr Harvey's boat Royal Salute, said the situation was disgusting. "This is the one and only usable wharf.''
The fishermen's grievances became one of the last issues to be dealt with by Stuart Crosby before he stepped down as mayor.
Mr Crosby said he supported making suitable provisions for the independent fishermen.
"My view was that the original concept was light on providing for their interests."
He accepted there was a need for more wharfside access to fishing boats, even though the current plan did include a communal area for loading and unloading. "They were never going to end up with nothing."
Mr Crosby instructed staff to see what could be done to provide more unloading wharves both inside the precinct and on the town side of the harbour bridge. "What they won't get is a large amount of wharfside access."
Options identified for two additional berths were along the harbourfront between the ice wharf and Cross Rd, and extending the wharf further towards the Cargo Shed behind Maui Ocean Products in Dive Crescent.
Erika Harvey said most independent fishermen thought they would not have to tender because they assumed their needs would be adequately catered for in the precinct.
A big part of the problem was that land neighbouring the ice wharf had been sold down to the water's edge, rather than leaving the waterfront in council ownership. "If you sell to the water's edge, you lose that space forever."
Mrs Harvey said independent fishermen felt they were being squeezed out of Tauranga, with the potential loss of 70 jobs and $20 million a year worth of catch.
The Harveys found an ally in Western Bay District councillor Margaret Murray-Benge who helped put their case to the city council.
She said the communal space provided in the precinct for the small but successful fishing businesses was pathetic compared to other North Island towns.
"It is amazing what these small fishing businesses are achieving. Dan Harvey had a chef who owns a Michelin restaurant in Singapore out fishing with him. The chef was stunned by the quality of the fish and the sustainable way it was caught," she said.
Tauranga Harbour Marine Precinct
- $11.4 million project
- Base for boat building and refit businesses
- 6200 sq m hardstand vessel storage area
- A new seawall
- A 350-tonne vessel hoist