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Kiwi Fishing Industry Strikes Back At New York Times On Distortions And Omissions In Hoki Fisheries Story
Underwatertimes.com News Service
September 18, 2009 17:54 EST

WELLINGTON, New Zealand -- In a rebuke to a New York Times story questioning the sustainability of New Zealand's hoki fisheries [From Deep Pacific, Ugly and Tasty, With a Catch, 09/09/09], the New Zealand Seafood Industry struck back today in an open letter to the newspaper detailing a variety of omissions and distortions in its reporting that painted an erroneous picture of the nation's fisheries community.

"Around the world, the vast majority of marine scientists and fisheries managers rate New Zealand's fisheries, including the two hoki stocks, as one of the two best managed in the world," said New Zealand Seafood Industry's DeepWater Group chief executive George Clement. "To mislead readers that the opposite is true is a serious case of journalistic malpractice," Clement said.

The letter, a copy of which can be found at: http://www.seafoodindustry.co.nz/nzhoki, was delivered earlier today to New York Times science reporter William J. Broad (the author of the piece), Science Editor Laura Chang and Public Editor Clark Hoyt, detailing a number of serious omissions, errors and distortions, including:

Other parties have noticed the gaps in the reporting as well. "The reporter felt he had stumbled on a scandal. He said 'arguments over managing this resource are flaring not only between commercial interests and conservationists, but also among the environmental agencies most directly involved in monitoring and regulating the catch,'" wrote John Sackton in a September 10 editorial published at Seafood.com News. "Yet the article failed to provide a single instance of disagreement among government agencies - the only disagreements cited were from those objectors to the MSC certification, such as WWF and Royal Forest and Bird, both of whom are on record criticizing bottom trawling in general."

The New Zealand Seafood Industry is asking the Times to set the record straight. "Obviously, we regard this reckless and incomplete reporting with the utmost seriousness. If the Times is going to report on the health of New Zealand's fisheries, it has a journalistic responsibility to include the view of the people who are a first-hand party to the situation - that is, doing the fishing," said the letter. "I look forward to your thoughts on the problems in the reporting and any corrective or clarifying measures that can be taken."