Hoki fishery collapses, was the claim from the anti-commercial fishing lobby last week.

That was in response to a voluntary cut in the catch by the deepwater fishing industry in one of the five hoki fishing grounds.

The real story was this was prudent fisheries management by a responsible industry putting long-term sustainability and guardianship ahead of short-term profit.

Hoki is the largest New Zealand fishery and represents around a quarter of all fish caught commercially in New Zealand waters.

The fast growing hoki, mainstay of fish fingers and fast food fillets, are in good numbers inside the 25-mile line on the West Coast, in Cook Strait, on the Chatham Rise and in the sub-Antarctic.

But in the remaining fishery, further off the West Coast, skippers were concerned that catches were well down.

That led the country’s deepwater fishing companies to make a collective decision to shelve 20,000 tonnes of quota for the current fishing year, reducing the overall catch to 130,000 tonnes. They also agreed there would be no carryover of any uncaught West Coast quota from the 2017-18 fishing year.

Fisheries do fluctuate according to a wide range of factors. The Tasman Sea is warming at one of the fastest rates on Earth - four times the global average, MetOcean chief scientist Dr Moninya Roughan told the Seafood NZ conference in August. Surface temperatures were as much as 6 degrees C above the norm last summer.

That unusual pattern may well be a factor in what could be a changing pattern of distribution but it is too early to be sure.

What is known is that newly hatched hoki in the first fragile few days of life feed exclusively on tiny drifting organisms, zooplankton named calocalanus.

Such plankton blooms when warm subtropical waters from the north mix with colder sub-Antarctic currents off the West Coast.

If the timing is altered, mortality of hoki juveniles will be high.

While some sections of the media were happy to swallow the “collapsed fishery” beat up, another highly significant development was ignored.

That was the announcement by the Deepwater Group that after a year of intensive, independent assessment of the health and management of the hoki, hake, ling, and southern blue whiting fisheries, the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) had reaffirmed its certification.

With only 12 percent of global fisheries carrying the MSC gold standard, this is something worth celebrating.

Not only did the fisheries gain recertification, they were approved with no objections and no conditions, which is almost unheard of in the stringent MSC process.

Opponents of New Zealand’s commercial fishing industry choose to ignore, or not believe, that our fisheries are exceptional on the world stage. It is not by chance they hold that place. The rigorous science that supports this third party international accreditation is not only robust, it is wide-ranging.

To become MSC certified is a long, exhaustive, and expensive process.

There are three demands that must be satisfied. The fishery being examined must show its fish stocks are above a sustainable limit. It must be proved that there are no adverse environmental impacts from the fishery, and that other species and habitats within the ecosystems remain healthy. And it must show there is ongoing effective management of the fishery.

It is a transparent process. Any party may make submissions and objections.

And every fishery must go through this same process every five years in order to remain certified.

The industry is committed to long-term sustainability and seeking MSC endorsement, the most recognised of all global eco-certification schemes, is one way of demonstrating that. New Zealand’s fisheries management is recognised internationally as best practise by academic and scientific institutions, the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organisation, and other fisheries jurisdictions.

But that is not news.