Recent Legislation Information Sheet
Fisheries Act Amendment Bill (No 3) 2004
28 March 2004
The Minister of Fisheries introduced the Fisheries Act Amendment Bill (No. 3) into Parliament on 23 March 2004. The Bill provides for changes to the 1983 and 1996 Fisheries Acts, and will address five issues.
Issue 1: Improving the process for identifying and introducing stocks into QMS and revising the commercial fishing permit regime
A number of revisions to the Fisheries Act 1996 are proposed, and are to:
- reinforce the Quota Management system (QMS) as the preferred framework for managing fisheries resources;
- provide more direction as to when the QMS will be used to manage fisheries;
- improve the means of allocating quota by removing the current catch history allocation mechanism*, and removing the individual catch entitlement quota allocation mechanism*;
- lift the commercial fishing permit moratorium on non-QMS species which has been in place since 1992;
- revise the current regime for authorising access to commercial fisheries; and
- provide a transitional schedule to list species and stocks that, on entry to the QMS, would have quota allocated using the catch history years allocation mechanism and which would remain subject to the permit moratorium and "inevitable consequence" provisions of the 1996 Fisheries Act.
Issue 2: Management of highly migratory species
The Fisheries Act 1996 will be amended to extend coverage of the QMS to provide for the management of highly migratory species (HMS) beyond New Zealand fisheries waters. The Bill will also enable total allowable catches to be set for HMS prior to national shares being allocated by a regional fisheries organisation where this is necessary for sustainability or other fisheries management purposes. It will provide flexibility in the allocation of additional catch entitlements for HMS where catch increases are obtained through bilateral arrangements, and modify the mechanism by which foreign licence access to HMS is authorised.
Issue 3: Technical amendments
Since the full implementation of the Fisheries Act 1996 on 1 October 2001, 23 issues have been identified which require minor technical amendment to better achieve the intent of legislation. The amendments cover many different sections and parts of the Fisheries Act 1996.
Issue 4: Changes to spat catching permits
Revisions to the 1983 Fisheries Act will provide for changes to spat catching permits to ensure a smooth transition from the current spat catching permit regime to the QMS when green-lipped mussel becomes subject to the QMS from 1 October 2004. The 1983 Fisheries Act currently provides for a separate spat catching regime for harvesting spat without structures, such as occurs when catching green-lipped mussel spat at 90 mile beach. There is a need to repeal this provision to avoid ongoing dual access regimes once green-lipped mussel become subject to the QMS. The spat catching permit regime for harvesting spat with structures remains unchanged. Existing spat catching permits for harvesting without structures will be extended to enable spat catching until 30 September 2006 to facilitate the transition to the new management regime. All other take of wild green-lipped mussel after 1 October 2004 will need to be authorised by a commercial fishing permit.
Issue 5: Introduction of scampi into the QMS on 1 October 2004
The Primary Production Committee report to the House on 2 December 2003 on its inquiry into scampi management recommended that scampi should be introduced into the QMS on 1 October 2004 using catch history as the basis for quota allocation. To ensure this date is met it is best to use legislation to give effect to the Primary Production Committee's recommendations. The Bill will reduce uncertainty and save time in the process for scampi introduction into the QMS by 1 October 2004, while still providing a capacity for fishers to appeal against provisional catch history allocations to the Catch History Review Committee.
The Fisheries Act Amendment Bill (No. 3) was introduced into Parliament on 23 March 2004, with the first reading likely for Tuesday, 30 March 2004. Stakeholders will have the opportunity to provide submissions to the Select Committee on the issues addressed in the Bill.
- Catch history will only remain the means of quota allocation for: species and stocks on a transitional schedule to be inserted in the 1996 Fisheries Act; tunas; and highly migratory species caught outside New Zealand fisheries waters.