Robert J Trumble

MRAG Americas

Dr. Robert Trumble has wide-ranging experience in marine fish science and management, fishery habitat protection, and oceanography. He joined MRAG Americas in 2000 as a senior research scientist and became Vice President in 2005. At MRAG, Dr. Trumble performs project planning, assembles research teams, and conducts research, with a focus on improving management of aquatic ecosystems and the resources and fisheries they support. He led the development of MRAG’s MSC certification program, and led the MSC assessment team for the orange roughy certification.


Seafood Sustainability – Certification Systems, Mon 10:40

The New Zealand orange roughy fishery: Journey from overfishing to certification


In the 1980s, newly discovered orange roughy resources were heavily fished in New Zealand.  Within two decades, stock sizes decreased to below 20% of original abundance.  Scientists estimated orange roughy to be long lived with very low population growth, leading to concerns about whether the stocks could recover.  Orange roughy became an example of how not to manage fish stocks.  Since 2000, industry, scientists and government have combined to reverse the declines.  Investment in new technologies, innovative science, new stock assessment methods, rigorous and precautionary harvest strategies, and voluntary closures of major fishing grounds has paid off – the main orange roughy stocks have been rebuilt.  Three stocks have improved to the point of achieving certification under the Marine Stewardship Council in the face of vigorous stakeholder scrutiny. Two more are well on the way to this.  Though controversial, the orange roughy story provides a roadmap for sustainable fishery achievements.