Fisheries Plans – Planning for a Sustainable Future
We must plan for the sustainable future of our fisheries. But, one size does not fit all. While the Quota Management System is a vital management tool, it does not work adequately as a unified management plan.
Fisheries plans offer tailored management. They are a response to growing public demands for environmental protection and preservation, and industry needs for economic viability in a global market. They also bring our fisheries management in-line with international best practice.
The Ministry’s work aims to assist with the creation of individual fisheries plans which describe how New Zealanders can get best value from individual fisheries, within environmental limits set by the government. Stakeholders can then set clear objectives for each fishery and focus their management efforts on these.
Over the past year, we’ve seen diverse groups of stakeholders working together and finding common ground. We’ve seen increased collaboration between the sectors and the first MFish-led fisheries plans are beginning to take shape.
The fisheries plan advisory groups are making good progress developing goals and objectives for the fisheries. Around the country, fisheries plans are now under way for: Northland scallops; West Coast North Island finfish; Gisborne/East Coast rock lobster; Challenger finfish (Nelson/west coast South Island); Southern shellfish; Fiordland paua; Middle depth/deepwater fisheries, and Tuna.
While decision-making is not a rapid process, these fisheries plans are being built on a solid foundation of open discussion and engagement with stakeholders.
The Ministry is guiding this decision-making process through the development of Standards. These Standards set the minimum that must be achieved, for example, to maintain fish populations at a sustainable level, or to ensure the impacts on the aquatic environment are minimised.
To date, we have implemented two standards concerning the Identification of Candidate Stocks for QMS Introduction and Deemed Value. We’ve consulted on the Harvest Strategy Standard over the past two years and are currently consulting on a Seabird Standard. The Ministry also consulted on a consultation standard during the past financial year. After considering the submissions received, the Chief Executive will consider a new organisational procedure for how the Ministry will consult with stakeholders.
One important goal for the Ministry is to ensure that this planning process is credible and transparent. Our website is increasingly being used as a communication tool to ensure tangata whenua and stakeholders are up-to-date and well informed. Meeting minutes from plan discussions are published regularly and profiles of the Ministry staff involved are readily accessible.