Government to compensate fishers
31 March 2000
The Government will compensate fishers for any reduction in catch history for particular species when they are introduced to the Quota Management System, Minister of Fisheries Pete Hodgson announced today.
The species are those listed on the Fourth Schedule of the Fisheries Act - kahawai, kingfish, blue mackerel, eels, butterfish and southern bluefin tuna. They are some of the most important species not managed within the QMS.
Current legislation prevents these species from being introduced to the QMS if the total catch history of fishers exceeds 80% of the likely total commercial catch limit. Amending legislation will be required to introduce the species and enable compensation. Reducing fishers' catch history when introducing the species to the QMS is necessary to enable the Crown to meet its obligations to Maori under the Deed of Settlement signed in 1992. The Deed provides that when a new species is introduced into the QMS, 20% of the quota will be allocated to Maori.
The previous Government held that no compensation should be paid to fishers because of the benefits they receive from introduction of a species into the QMS. The allocation of Individual Transferable Quota provides fishers with a secure transferable property right. It is estimated that fishers will receive quota valued at $45 million from the introduction of Fourth Schedule species to the QMS.
"While this Government recognises the benefits fishers will receive, it does not believe these benefits will completely offset the loss of catch rights," Mr Hodgson said. "We have therefore agreed to pay fishers 50% of the current estimated full market value of quota the Crown requires to meet its obligations to Maori in these fisheries."
"We believe this solution is both equitable to fishers and fiscally responsible. It also removes a major impediment to the Crown meeting its obligation to Maori, and helps us ensure sustainable management of the Fourth Schedule species by introducing them to the QMS. It also fulfills a pre-election promise."
The amending legislation will enable introduction of the South Island eel fishery into the QMS on October 1. Introducing this fishery is part of the Crown's obligations to Ngai Tahu under the 1998 Deed of Settlement. Further Fourth Schedule species are likely to be progressively brought into the QMS from October 1 2002.
The legislation will shortly be considered by Parliament's Primary Production Committee, with an enactment date of 1 July.