New Zealand has also played a significant role in negotiations for the development of a multilateral, legally binding Agreement on Port State Measures to prevent, deter and eliminate illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing. Significant progress was made over the last year with final agreement reached on the text of the Agreement in August 2009. The Ministry has also been actively involved in an FAO process to establish criteria for assessing the performance of flag States and possible actions to take with regard to non-performance.
International Guidelines for the Management of Deep Sea Fisheries in the High Seas were finalised and adopted by an FAO Technical Consultation in August 2008. We played a key role in the process to develop Guidelines (including chairing the process), which represent a significant step forward by the international fisheries community in taking seriously the obligations to manage deep-sea fisheries and associated vulnerable marine ecosystems. The Ministry is now working to implement the Guidelines in the RFMOs to which we belong.
Negotiations continued on the Chair’s text on fisheries subsidies in the World Trade Organisation. New Zealand maintained an active role, chairing the Friends of Fish group of countries seeking strong rules, and tabled a joint paper with Australia and the US reviewing progress and outlining the process to conclude the negotiations. Global developments in fisheries certification were also developed and responded to, including the EU IUU Regulation that will require New Zealand to have a catch certificate system in place to demonstrate all fish exported to this important market is caught legally.
Regional fisheries management organisations
Negotiations have continued on a legally binding Convention to establish a South Pacific Regional Fisheries Management Organisation (SPRFMO) that will manage non-highly migratory species in the high seas of the South Pacific. Work continued on New Zealand’s implementation of the SPRFMO interim measures, including an impact assessment of high seas bottom fishing and development of high seas catch limits.
The Ministry has been working to strengthen the performance of the other RFMOs that New Zealand is party to, namely the Commission for the Conservation of Southern Bluefin Tuna (CCSBT) and Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC), including spearheading the performance review of CCSBT and taking an active role in processes to improve compliance with conservation and management measures – work we are also contributing to within the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR).
New Zealand has a strategic and economic interest in the Ross Sea toothfish fishery. Work continued to ensure our industry’s participation in the fishery and that the fishery continues to be managed in a sustainable manner in accordance with the principles of the CCAMLR Convention.
Focus on the Pacific
The Ministry plays a key role for New Zealand through engagement with Pacific states on fisheries issues. This work revolves around promoting the sustainable use of the valuable shared fisheries resources of the Pacific region as a key contributor to economic security and development. Significant process was made over the last year including new agreements on tuna management within WCPFC, advancement of strategic initiatives in the Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency, and increasing cooperation with Polynesian countries to advance our shared fisheries interests.
Work areas carried out for the reporting period include relationship management, and the facilitation and implementation of cooperative work streams in respect of management, development, science, monitoring, control and surveillance, and industry cooperation.