Ministry of Fisheries briefing to incoming minister released
1 April 2004
Fisheries Minister David Benson-Pope has released the Ministry of Fisheries' document "Briefing for the Minister of Fisheries", prepared for him shortly after his appointment at the end of February.
"This briefing provides an assessment of the fisheries sector and I have found it to be a useful overview of one of New Zealand's most important sectors," Mr Benson-Pope said.
The briefing canvasses the challenges facing the Minister, the Ministry, the seafood industry and the wider community in managing New Zealand's marine resources.
It says MFish's 2003-2008 Strategic Plan signals an increased focus on meeting environmental obligations, allowing stakeholders to maximise the value they obtain from using fisheries, delivering on Maori Fisheries Settlement obligations and improving stakeholder participation in fisheries management.
The briefing notes that the operating environment for the Minister of Fisheries and MFish can be very difficult, with fisheries and their management under ongoing public scrutiny. However, it notes that the sector has a very well developed legal and strategic framework for managing complex issues.
The briefing says MFish's capability has been stretched in recent times, with a heavy workload taxing limited resources. It acknowledges that the strategic thrust towards a greater environmental focus and the creation of more opportunities for tangata whenua and stakeholder involvement have contributed to this, and says the ministry has capacity issues in the specialised enforcement areas.
The document gives detailed advice about a number of immediate issues, including some legislation which has since been dealt with.
The briefing is available on the Ministry of Fisheries website: www.fish.govt.nz
Contact: Jolene Key, private secretary, 04 471 9359