Results of fisheries stock assessment processes review
21 December 2007
The Ministry of Fisheries is working to address process issues raised by a recent review into the Ministry’s advice around fish stock sustainability.
The Ministry’s Acting Chief Executive Stan Crothers called for the review after he found that poor advice was given to the Minister of Fisheries in 2007 over the state of New Zealand’s Chatham Rise orange roughy fishery.
“The sustainability of fisheries is of paramount importance to the Ministry,” says Stan Crothers. “It was deeply concerning for me to find our sustainability advice to the Minister in this instance was not what it should be.”
Stan Crothers says the review shows Ministry processes around fisheries stock assessment and advice to the Minister are fundamentally sound. However he says the review found areas that could be improved in the way processes operated, particularly in the more contentious Fisheries Assessment Working Groups (made up of fisheries scientists, quota owning interests, and other stakeholders) and the Fisheries Assessment Plenary.
He says in this orange roughy fishery, the process resulted in “lowest-common-denominator decision-making”, where only matters agreed upon by the Fisheries Assessment Working Group were reported back. He says there was also a lack of communication between the fisheries operations and science teams of the Ministry over the information needed for the 2007/08 sustainability decisions.
The review contains twelve recommendations on roles and process that need to be addressed by the Ministry. Stan Crothers says he is working to have these changes implemented in time for next year’s round of sustainability advice to the Minister.
Download Terms of Reference for this review (PDF 71KB)
Download Reviewer's report (PDF 503KB)