Seafood industry input welcomed
1 March 2007
Fisheries Minister Jim Anderton today thanked the seafood industry for its contribution to the Shared Fisheries consultation process that finished yesterday.
Shared fisheries are those where commercial, customary and amateur fishers all target the same species. Snapper, blue cod, kahawai, tarakihi, gurnard, rock lobster (crayfish) and paua are all examples.
Jim Anderton said the overall goal of the Shared Fisheries proposals is to allow all New Zealanders to maximise the value they get from those fisheries within sustainable limits.
“The commercial fishing sector is a big part of that and I’m happy they have engaged in the consultation process constructively. I acknowledge the work of the Seafood Industry Council in facilitating industry input. Co-operation between Government, industry and other stakeholders will be the key to maximising the value of our shared fisheries. The industry’s suggestions to improve the management of Shared Fisheries are helpful and will be given careful consideration.
“New Zealanders are passionate about the sea and their freedom to fish. As expected, groups have offered strong views and different perspectives. The Government will listen to and consider all these views before making decisions on the best way to manage shared fisheries. Deciding how our fisheries are allocated between the sectors is a very difficult job, but it is the Government’s job to make the necessary hard decisions.
“Some elements within the commercial sector have overreacted and claimed the Government is proposing to expropriate property rights and undermine the 1992 Fisheries Deed of Settlement with Maori," Jim Anderton said. "This is, of course, nonsense. The Government will not, under any circumstances, undermine the Deed of Settlement or the Quota Management System that underpins sustainability of our fisheries.
“While the final policy has yet to be developed and agreed by Cabinet, I am personally committed to ensuring that any reallocation of quota will be fully compensated, and conducted on a willing-buyer, willing-seller basis.
“Seafic has said ongoing uncertainty around fishing rights is among the biggest factors that undermines fishing industry confidence and reduces possible investment. The commercial seafood sector is an important export earner for New Zealand and ensuring the industry has a stable investment environment is a top priority for the Government. The Shared Fisheries project is all about getting that certainty,” Jim Anderton said.
The aim is to have final decisions on reforms, and the nature and timing of implementation, taken by Cabinet by mid-2007.