New Zealand has come up trumps in an international survey of fishery management.

The survey, which was conducted by the University of Washington’s School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences, looked at the quality of fisheries’ management in 28 countries.

New Zealand was named among the top five fisheries in the world, along with Norway, Russia, Iceland and the USA.

New Zealand’s high ranking does not surprise Seafood New Zealand’s Chief Executive, Tim Pankhurst. Mr Pankhurst said he was ‘pleased’ but not surprised by the results.

He said the country’s quota management system was already recognised as one of the best in the world. He accepted it was good to have that fact reaffirmed by the study.

“It is consistent with annual reviews of New Zealand fish stocks assessed by Ministry of Primary Industries scientists which shows that 96.8 percent of our catch is from stocks that are sustainable.”

New Zealand’s healthy fisheries have also been heralded by the Marine Stewardship Council’s recent eco-certification of the three main orange roughy fisheries on Challenger Plateau and Chatham Rise.

MSC certification has previously been awarded to ling, southern blue whiting, albacore tuna, hoki and hake. This means that 70% of this nation’s deep water catch is also considered sustainable.

The University of Washington study isolated the three most important factors to maintain a healthy fishery. These were the scientific assessment of the fishery; limitation of over fishing; and the enforcement of regulations.

Twenty of the 28 surveyed countries had the highest international take rates. A strong link was found between the state of the country’s fish stocks and the quality of its fishery management.