Hoki is a star fish

Last updated 10:39 10/01/2010

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New Zealand's humble hoki, which is hauled from our waters at the rate of 100,000 tonnes per year, has come out at number one in the New York Times' list of most-read feature stories in 2009.

So why, in a year when the King of Pop died and American golfing god Tiger Woods was exposed as a love rat, was a story about New Zealand's management of its hoki fishery of such great interest to the US public?

The answer is simple - Filet-O-Fish. Fast-food giant McDonald's uses around 5000 tonnes of hoki a year in its Filet-O-Fish burgers, and it seems Americans are anxious to know if our fishery can continue to meet the demand.

The story ran on the front page of the newspaper in September, and raised the ire of the New Zealand Seafood Industry Council, which demanded an apology and took out Google ads for keywords such as "hoki" and "New York Times" that linked back to the council's own page on the fishery.

In a letter to the Star-Times on the issue last month, the Ministry of Fisheries pointed to recent international endorsements of New Zealand's fisheries management.

Other subjects which made the New York Times top 10 include an analysis of why US economists failed to predict last year's economic crisis, a story about the "11 Best Foods You Aren't Eating", and another purporting to reveal "What Women Want".

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- Sunday Star Times

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