Departmental Output Expense – Fisheries Information
This departmental output expense covers research that is largely science based (primarily stock assessments and environmental assessments), and other activities relating to gathering and analysing data about New Zealand’s fisheries to support decisions about sustainable utilisation, as well as the provision of information on the biodiversity of New Zealand’s marine environment. Research costs represent existing projects that have been consulted on.
Provide the information required to ensure the sustainable use of New Zealand’s fisheries resources by scientifically evaluating:
- the status of fisheries resources
- sustainable yields from fisheries resources
- the effects of fishing on the aquatic environment, including on the viability of associated or dependent species, and on biological diversity
- alternative strategies for achieving the desired level of yield while avoiding, remedying or mitigating adverse effects of fishing on the aquatic environment
- relevant cultural factors that may need to be included in the management decision process
- specific measures needed to implement the appropriate management strategy.
Utilisation and sustainability of New Zealand’s fisheries resources measured
Services to be provided
As an input into current and future fisheries management decisions, fisheries research needs are identified, projects undertaken and results reported to provide scientific information on:
- estimates of biomass and sustainable yields for fish stocks
- effects of fishing on the aquatic environment, including biodiversity and bycatch species
- relevant social, cultural and economic factors that may be included in the management decision process
- non-commercial harvest levels.
In addition, in order to implement the New Zealand Biodiversity Strategy and support the environmental principles set out in section 9 of the Fisheries Act 1996, the Ministry has a number of research programmes in place to generate high quality baseline information.
These programmes aim to improve our ability to:
- protect the richness and health of the marine biodiversity of New Zealand and the Ross Sea region
- ascertain the role of different organisms and habitats in maintaining the health and sustainability of our aquatic environment
- contribute to required information to set environmental standards under the Strategy to Manage the Environmental Effects of Fishing (SMEEF).
The Ministry contributes to the maintenance of sustainable fisheries in New Zealand through research designed to increase information on stock status levels, and add to the body of knowledge used to advise the Minister of Fisheries on appropriate utilisation for future years. Research is undertaken on individual fisheries at a frequency necessary to monitor whether or not fisheries are decreasing as a result of overfishing, and to enable the Ministry to maintain the currency of the information.
This output also includes the costs associated with the capacity required to maintain the fisheries research programme. No overheads are applied to contracted services, although the overhead costs related to maintaining the programme are apportioned over direct costs.
Medium-term research plans for fisheries groups, aquatic environment issues and biodiversity are reviewed and updated annually in consultation with stakeholders and form the framework for ongoing or new research requirements. Currently there are 13 Research Planning Groups which meet periodically, but primarily in the July-September period, to write project proposals and plan and prioritise research needs based on the medium-term research plans and other relevant documents. A Research Coordinating Committee conducts an overall prioritisation process during a 2-day meeting in early to mid-October.
Stakeholders submit written comments based on the output from the RCC and the Ministry takes account of the comments and provides written responses. New results from the research programme are presented annually to a number of Ministry-led working groups that convene to assess a range of fishstocks, environmental effects of fishing and biodiversity issues. Relevant results are used in providing advice to the Minister regarding sustainable yields from fish stocks, and the technical details for each fishery are summarised in working group reports that are published annually in Fishery Assessment Plenary documents.
The effects of fishing on the environment are largely addressed through the Aquatic Environment Working Group, but there is overlap with the biodiversity research programme and research programmes of other government agencies. Environmental research findings are reviewed and assessed by this working group. The Ministry is in the process of developing an aquatic environment assessment plenary document summarising the relevant issues, the current state of knowledge about the issues and progress that has been made assessing and mitigating environmental effects of fishing.
Biodiversity research programmes are carefully designed to progress our ability to identify key species, key communities and key habitats that contribute to the value of maintaining a rich and diverse marine environment and to identify essential components without which the marine environment could not continue to sustain productivity. This work has implications for the overall health of the aquatic environment and the long-term sustainability of our fisheries.
|By 31 October 2007, update medium-term research plans for all fisheries groups with October-September fishing years, for the aquatic environment, (except Antarctic fisheries) and for biodiversity, in accordance with defined quality standards.
|By 30 November 2007, finalise the development of new research project proposals for fisheries and the aquatic environment for 2008/09 and produce the draft annual Fisheries Research Services plan in accordance with defined quality standards.
|By 30 November 2007, produce a report from the mid-year fishery assessment plenary in accordance with the defined quality standards.
|By 15 December 2007, provide written responses to stakeholder submissions on the draft annual Fisheries Research Services for 2008/09.
|By 31 March 2008, enhance the NABIS website to allow users to retrieve the underlying electronic data that describes maps (provide a web mapping service) and allow users to use NABIS as a portal to query five of the biodiversity databases owned by the Ministry but located at the National Institute for Water and Atmospheric Research Ltd (NIWA).
||This project is still being progressed but expected completion date is now April 2009.|
|By 31 May 2008 update the Antarctic medium-term research plan in accordance with defined quality standards.
|By 31 May 2008, produce research proposals for biodiversity projects for 2008/09 in accordance with defined quality standards.
|By 31 May 2008, complete the review of stock status for all newly assessed stocks and produce a report from the fishery assessment plenary in accordance with defined quality standards.
|By 30 June 2008, produce a draft aquatic environment assessment plenary document in accordance with defined quality standards
||A working draft has been produced.|
|By 30 June 2008, complete the external audit of three current research projects.
||Two reviews completed during the financial year and the third in early August 2008.|
|By 30 June 2008, complete the tender evaluation, contract award and monitoring of new research projects for the 2007/08 financial year.
|By 30 June 2008, review and provide quality assurance for all final research reports submitted by research providers for research projects completed prior to 30 April 2008.
||12 of approximately 75 final research reports were not reviewed on time due to staff shortages. These were completed in August 2008. |
Observer services provided
Services to be provided
Observers provide an independent source of high quality scientific and other information from commercial fishing operations. This information is a valuable input into the management of New Zealand’s fisheries resources, particularly the setting of sustainability levels and the monitoring of the environmental impact of fishing activities. Observers are also used by external agencies (eg the Department of Conservation (DOC)), to gather the specific fisheries related information required to meet their organisational obligations.
Observer coverage planning is a component of the Ministry’s, and DOC’s, research planning processes. Observer deployments are made consistent with the annual coverage plan and data collection specifications.
The targeted cost of Observer coverage is an average of $525 per coverage day, exclusive of GST. The actual cost of coverage varies between fisheries depending on the continuity of sea days and the shore day to sea day ratio required to achieve coverage days. These cost drivers are reflected in a lower cost per coverage day for deep sea coverage compared to inshore coverage.
|Information and/or data collected by observers throughout the year, in accordance with agreed client specifications.
New and amended information and data collection requirements from our clients have been implemented for:
- Catch Effort Logs
- Benthic materials
- Trawl gear details
- Tori Line details
- Bird baffler details
- Squid biological sampling
These have been incorporated into the relevant pre-trip briefing specifications. Post-trip debriefings and observer trip performance assessments continue to feedback into future data collection improvement reviews.
|Observer coverage delivered for an average cost of $525 +/- 10% per day.
||The actual cost of observer coverage for the year was $586 per coverage day; this is $8 per coverage day above the target of $525 +/- 10%. The higher cost per coverage day reflects the increased coverage achieved in inshore fisheries on smaller vessels. |
|Observer coverage of 7,460 sea days delivered to within +/- 10% of the agreed annual plan at either a species level or fishing area(s) / method level, depending on client specification.
Full year total coverage (July 2007 – June 2008) was 6,754 days against a plan of 7,462 days (91% of plan).
The full year coverage for levied fisheries was 5,703 days against a plan of 6,529 days (87% of plan).
The full year coverage for “permit” fisheries was 1,051 days against a plan of 933 days (113% of plan). As coverage is a permit requirement or at the direct request of industry sectors, coverage in “permit” fisheries is a function of fishing activity.