New Zealand fisheries an economic model for the world
09 October 2008
The fisheries jury is now in and quota systems are the model world fisheries need to adopt, says MFish Chief Executive, Wayne McNee.
“A report just released by the World Bank reiterates the underlying soundness of New Zealand’s approach to fisheries management and points to ways for further improvements in that system,” Wayne McNee says.
The report from the World Bank’s Global Program on Sustainable Fisheries (PROFISH) says over 75 percent of the world’s fish stocks are ‘under-performing assets’, which causes some US$50 billion (NZ$75 billion) each year to be lost from the global economy.
It points to overcapacity as the core cause of these “sunken billions”. And says in many fisheries around the world, economic incentives have developed in a way that pushes fishers into a race to catch fish.
These inherent incentives are exacerbated by billions of dollars of government subsidies, which encourage fleets to expand even in the face of declining stocks. The report also states that over the last decade, real landed fish prices have stagnated, exacerbating the dependence on subsidies.
A recent report by the University of British Columbia estimates those subsidies at NZ$44 billion or more for the period 1995-2005.
Economists who led the PROFISH report point to countries like New Zealand - where they say fishing rights through quota-based systems have turned the tide on unsustainable fishing.
“However, New Zealand can’t afford to be complacent,” says Wayne McNee. “We have achieved reasonable economic efficiency and largely sustainable fish stocks through our quota management system. But we need to keep working to improve the environmental performance of our fisheries and to improve the value that we all get from them.”