September 17, 2008

Longliner ‘Show of Confidence’

By BASHAM, Laura

An investment of up to $8 million in the longliner Antarctic Chieftain, which will fish in Antarctic waters, shows confidence in the deepwater fishery and longline industry, says NZ Longline spokesman Ross Tocker.

NZ Longline, a 50-50 joint venture between Nelson- based companies Sealord and Talley's, bought the Russian vessel in February.

It has had a $2.5 million refit in Nelson and was blessed at Port Nelson yesterday.

The total investment was between $6 million and $8 million, Mr Tocker said. This showed confidence in the industry, and there would be further investment generally in deepwater fishing around New Zealand.

The 63m ship will begin trials with its new equipment, including an automated line system, in the next 10 days. It will then fish on the Chatham Rise before heading to Antarctic waters in mid-November to fish for high-value toothfish.

Antarctic toothfish is worth twice as much as orange roughy, fetching between $US15 and $US20 a kilogram.

The fish, frozen on board, will be sold to United States and Asian markets.

The company fishes in Antarctic waters under the strict environmental protocols of the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources.


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