Hawke's Bay skippers of commercial fishing vessels endorsed an industry-wide code of conduct at a meeting in Napier last week.

It was developed by New Zealand's major fishing companies to reinforce last year's Promise media campaign.

Seafood New Zealand chief executive Tim Pankhurst said the industry made a promise to the people of New Zealand and, through the code of conduct, it is serious about keeping that promise.

"In 2017 we conceded that the industry had not always got it right, but it was determined to do better. The industry, over the past few years, has made huge strides in environmental care, protection of endangered species and transparency," he said.


Pankhurst said the feedback in Napier had been consistent with that received around the rest of the country.

"The main feedback we've been getting is, 'well this is great, but we should have been doing this a long time ago.' Then there are those who don't behave as they should and our response to that is that we can't condone that kind of behaviour. Everyone makes mistakes, but where there is consistent illegal behaviour, we will not tolerate it."

"The New Zealand Fishery is a sustainable fishery, we've got very healthy stocks, great management that ensures we don't overfish and the industry is pushing $2 billion in exports now. The industry is a major employer, but fisherman don't feel like they get the respect they deserve; they get a fair amount of bad publicity and they're determined to turn that around."

Napier skipper Mike Terry attended the meeting which laid out the six-point plan and the industry's expectations that all skippers will abide by.

"The meeting went well. There weren't many people there because we've a code of conduct very similar to that in our local association now," he said.

"The code doesn't condone any illegal activity. I would say everyone is generally pretty good at following the rules. In the earlier days all sorts of shenanigans were happening, but for the last four years or so everyone has been pretty good."

Terry said skippers, fishermen and crews will continue to follow the code as they have for the past few years, as he noticed a significant difference in Hawke's Bay's fisheries.

"We definitely want to look after our commercial fishery side of things and the recreationals for Legasea definitely want to look after it too."

"Hawke's Bay's got a bright future ahead if we just carry on doing exactly what we're doing and stick to it," he said.