Leigh Fisheries Ltd. leads the way as the first fishery in New Zealand to be certified sustainable by the main seafood certification scheme in the world, Friend of the Sea.
Most of the species caught by Leigh Fisheries Ltd. are officially recognized as sustainable, including New Zealand Red Snapper, Alfonsino, Red Gurnard, Grouper, Bass, John Dory, Kingfish, Ling, Snapper, Swordfish, Trevally and Spiny Rock Lobster.
In keeping with New Zealand’s strict quota management system to prevent over-fishing, Leigh Fisheries Ltd. products are caught to order which ensures no waste and avoids the unnecessary capture of juvenile and older fish. This falls in line with part of the criteria Friend of the Sea uses for certification.
Leigh Fisheries Ltd. is traded worldwide by the Lee Fish Group with companies in America, Europe and Asia. “We chose Friend of the Sea to audit our company because they are the only sustainable organization which can certify both fisheries and aquaculture with the same seal of approval” says Daniel Christen, CEO of Lee Fish Europe. “We want to provide customers with the highest quality product possible. If the seafood isn’t considered top-rate, then we look for alternative sources” adds Richard Adlem, CEO of Lee Fish USA.
The Lee Fish Group, with offices in New Zealand, Europe, America and Asia also source products from countries around the world. They sell to high-end retail chains in Europe, America and Asia. The Lee Fish Group also source fish from the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia and Sri Lanka and are working with Friend of the Sea to expand their sustainable practices in those countries to compliment what they have achieved to date.
Leigh Fisheries Ltd. is based in Leigh, a small village on the north island of New Zealand. With more than 50 years of fishing experience, the company is the largest employer in the village and has some 100 independent boats fishing for them. Following Friend of the Sea regulations, Leigh Fisheries Ltd. has been actively minimizing its carbon footprint with plans to reduce it even further in the next 12 months.
New Zealand boasts some 200 nautical miles with an exclusive economic fishing zone which covers 4.1 million square kilometers giving its fishing industry special fishing rights. As the sixth largest fishing zone in the world, New Zealand is home to over 15,000 marine species making up about ten percent of the world’s supply; many species which are indigenous to New Zealand.