New Zealand’s dairy industry

New Zealand dairy industry

Environmental reports and main stream media are often critical of different aspects of the New Zealand dairy industry. Here I summarise them together in one graphic. View at higher resolution by clicking on the image below.

Graphic summary of the New Zealand’s dairy industries impacts.

References – resources for further reading on the impacts of New Zealand’s dairy industry.

Seaweek fanart

More experiments with AI generated art. I used multiple tools all built on Stable Diffusion, however I am still refining everything in Procreate and compositing with Photoshop.

Bottom trawling graphics

I recently took part in a science led process to limit the impacts of bottom trawling & Danish seining in the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park. I found the narrow scope of the work quite frustrating. The fishing industry knows it has a social license issue with bottom trawling and made a video to address it. The cartoons don’t tackle key concerns with the fishing method. I have made some graphics to point out the key issues focusing on the smaller (<20m) bottom trawlers that scrape the seafloor of the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park.

Bottom trawling is a problem for much of New Zealand’s EEZ and beyond. Feel free to download and use the graphics, let me know if you want them at a higher resolution.

Fisheries New Zealand (2022). Aquatic Environment and Biodiversity Annual Review 2021. Compiled by the Aquatic Environment Team, Fisheries Science and Information, Fisheries New Zealand, Wellington New Zealand.
Jones, E.G., MacGibbon, D.J., Baird, S.J., Hurst, R.. (2021). Gear use in New Zealand inshore trawl fisheries. New Zealand Fisheries Assessment Report 2021/30. ISBN 978-1-99-100927-2
Mormede, S.; Sharp, B.; Roux, M.J.; Parker, S. (2017). Methods development for spatially-explicit bottom fishing impact evaluation within SPRFMO: 1. Fishery footprint estimation. SC5-DW06. 5th Meeting of the Scientific Committee Shanghai, China, 23 – 28 September 2017.

Sim-Smith, C., Kelly, S., Lee, S., Kirikiri, R. (2020). State of our Gulf 2020. Hauraki Gulf Forum.


Eayrs S. Craig T. Short K. (2020). Mitigation techniques to reduce benthic impacts of trawling. Report prepared for the Department of Conservation. Wellington, New Zealand: Terra Moana

Calculation: 7,658 Trawls 2016-19. 7,658*13.5km (12-15km per trawl) = 103,383kms / 3years = 34,461kms PA. Length of NZ = 1,600km. 34,461km / 1,600km = 21.5. 21 times the length of Aotearoa.
Management Action 1.1.1 in the draft Fisheries Management Plan promised to “Exclude bottom trawling and Danish seining from the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park (HGMP). Designate corridors suitable for bottom trawling and Danish seining and create exemptions from the ban for these corridors.” This has been changed to “Exclude bottom trawling and Danish seining from the Hauraki Gulf except within defined areas or ‘corridors’.”
Ferdinand K.J. Oberle, Curt D. Storlazzi, Till J.J. Hanebuth. What a drag: Quantifying the global impact of chronic bottom trawling on continental shelf sediment. Journal of Marine Systems.Volume 159, 2016. ISSN 0924-7963

Pilskaln, C. H., Churchill, J. H., & Mayer, L. M. (1998). Resuspension of Sediment by Bottom Trawling in the Gulf of Maine and Potential Geochemical Consequences. Conservation Biology, 12(6), 1223–1229.
MacDiarmid, A., McKenzie, A., Sturman, J., Beaumont, J., Mikaloff-Fletcher, S., Dunne, J. (2012). Assessment of anthropogenic threats to New Zealand marine habitats. New Zealand Aquatic Environment and Biodiversity Report No. 93
Sala, E., Mayorga, J., Bradley, D. et al. Protecting the global ocean for biodiversity, food and climate. Nature 592, 397–402 (2021).

Please sign this petition.

My op-ed on bottom trawling in the Gulf published in Newsroom

Training my computer to draw birds

Of all the jobs that Artificial Intelligence (AI) will replace over the next few decades I never thought mine would be top of the list. I got my degree in illustration 20 years ago, since then I have picked up many more skills but I have always been most proud of my ability to draw. I thought it made me more ‘visually intelligent’ than other creatives because of the volume of data an illustrator has to generate. Over the last few months I have been absolutely blown away by three tools, DALL-E 2, Stable Diffusion and Midjourney. These AI tools are so much faster than me, they have more range, and in most cases are just better at drawing than me. If you want to see what they can do checkout this gallery.

The tools do have some limitations, the main one being the sizes of the images they can draw, but most of these will get solved with market demand. Of course the first thing I wanted to know is how good it was at drawing the things I love, New Zealand animals. My ego was quite pleased to see them fail miserably and in quite entertaining ways (go try kiwi here). Here are some examples of white-faced herons (I have chosen a very well photographed species on purpose).

This is mostly because the AI’s have not been trained how to draw these animals. In the above examples MidJourney and Stable Diffusion confuse our native heron (which can also be found in Australia) with a North American Great blue heron. Developers are working on multiple ways for users to be able to train tools to draw specific subjects. One of them (DreamBoth for Stable Diffusion) involves training a model based on 20 or so images. I happen to be a very organised photographer with 2,700 bird photos and 3,300 photos of invertebrates all cataloged by name, place and time. It took me some time to figure out how to do it and it takes a lot of computing power to train the models, here are the 20 photos I used to train my white-faced heron model.

And here are some of the results (good and bad):

You can see there are still some problems but its pretty good! I can easily fix them up to create future works.

I have been using the tools to create components for illustrations (photo bashing). Here is an example that would have taken me ages to draw from scratch.

James Cook and his men encounter a kahikatea forest in the Waihou River in 1769

I’m excited about the tools and think they will make my work better, faster and cheaper.

Graphics from the State of our Seabirds 2021

Produced by the Northern New Zealand Seabird Trust with support from G.I.F.T and the Hauraki Gulf Forum. Read the report here.

The circular seabird economy
General migration destinations for 14 species that breed in the wider Hauraki Gulf region (WHGR). Blue lines and arrows denote major oceanic surface currents and gyres.
To safeguard our island treasures all boat operators need to make sure their boats are pest-free, and so lessen the risk of incursions requiring costly eradications.
Sample types and information we can currently obtain from a single sample of blood (0.4 mL) or feathers with relevant conservation implications for Hauraki Gulf seabirds (an abridged list).