Innovative Kiwi precision fishing system influential

A 4% drop in catch volumes has netted seafood and fishing company Sanford a 1% decline in its annual profit.

Net profit after tax was at $41.7million for the year to the end of September, slightly down from $42.3million the prior year, off revenue of $558million - reflecting an 8% increase on a like-for-like accounting basis.

Catch and harvest volumes were down at 113,000 tonnes after one of Sanford's main deepwater vessels, San Granit, was sidelined for three months after a crew member died.

The company said having the San Granit out had effectively reduced earnings by about $4.1million.

Results were also affected by a 5000-tonne reduction in the company's Hoki take on the West Coast, which was part of an industry-led sustainability initiative.

Sanford chief executive officer Volker Kuntzsch said volume reductions could only be partially compensated for through higher catches of species like squid and product mix improvements on board the deepwater fleet.

He said Government approval of the use of the new Precision Seafood Harvesting (PSH) fishing method had seen the innovation deployed in both inshore and deepwater fishing across the fleet.

"This New Zealand-developed fishing gear is a game-changer in world fisheries, delivering a superior quality of product through its gentler method."

Mr Kuntzsch said PSH was creating a strong level of interest globally.

"Our fishing crews and our customers are enjoying the improvement in quality and customers are already telling us they want `fish caught the PSH way'."

Algal blooms limited Marlborough Sounds harvests but Sanford's mussel business had an encouraging result on stronger volumes, sales channel focus and diversified products.

Sanford's salmon division volumes were up 16% and revenue up 23%,

partly driven through its Big Glory Bay brand "on offer on menus in high-end restaurants in New Zealand and the US".

Sanford will pay a 14c final dividend, unchanged from a year earlier, on December 6 to shareholders registered at November 28.

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