The Kai Ika Project surpassed a major milestone in March having distributed 30,000kg of fish offcuts – which previously would have gone to waste – to communities as part of a healthy food scheme run by Papatuanuku Kokiri Marae in Mangere.
Furthermore, the acclaimed project is now enabling researchers to gather sample data on marine microplastics.
The Kai Ika Project, highly commended at the 2018 Sustainable Business Network Awards, was established in 2016 by LegaSea in partnership with the Outboard Boating Club (OBC) and Papatuanuku Kokiri Marae. Fish caught by boat club members are processed at a filleting station, and the previously discarded fish heads, frames and offal are separated and chilled before being collected by the marae on an almost daily basis.
OBC Commodore Bill Berry is enthusiastic about achieving the new milestone.
“The fantastic success of the project pilot at OBC is now well-proven. It’s encouraging to see Westhaven Marina are set to join the project with a similar filleting facility and there are hopes other boat clubs, marinas and fishing competitions across New Zealand will follow.”
Lionel Hotene and his team at Papatuanuku Kokiri Marae have been tracking the project’s performance, both in time and resources to prove the scheme is effective and scalable. The figure of 30,000kg (thirty tonnes) of fully utilised fish in little more than the first two years, is an achievement reflecting significant commitment by all partners.
In a new development the Kai Ika Project, has also been facilitating a study of microplastics in Hauraki Gulf by providing a source for fish gut samples of kahawai and snapper.
University of Auckland researchers are taking gut samples from fish caught by OBC members and investigating the incidence of micro plastics in the gut and the correlation it may have with proximity to large cities.
Supervising Masters student Davina Shetty is NIWA scientist Darren Parsons who was very pleased with the samples which were taken away for further examination.
“The Kai Ika Project and the OBC’s filleting facilities provide an excellent method of collecting samples for our important study into marine plastics,” explains Parsons.
As part of a partnership between Legasea, the Outboard Boating Club and Papatuanuku Kokiri Marae, fish off cuts are separated and chilled at the club, before collection and distribution by the marae. The Marae then processes and redistributes fish and food to the community in South Auckland as part of their healthy food programme. The food programme aims to support low-income areas, combating obesity and illhealth due to fast food dominance in the area.
For many the sweet heads of fish are a delicacy. In Te Reo they are called ‘rangatira kai’ (chiefly food) and can be distributed whole, while frames and other offcuts are turned into stock and stew.
Additionally, the fish guts, or offal, are used as fertiliser in the marae’s extensive organic gardens of kumara, kale, herbs and other vegetables.
Across New Zealand, of the average catch, it is often only the fillets that are consumed. This is just 33 percent of the fish, with the remaining 67 percent comprising heads, frames and offal being discarded and entering various waste streams or simply being dumped.
Before the programme was introduced, waste had been a significant issue for the OBC which is located on Tamaki Drive in central Auckland. Now not only is the waste managed, but members now fully recognise the value of the resource and gain pride from the success of the Kai Ika Project. For more info go to www.kaiika.co.nz
19 April 2019