In late May 2009, the Supreme Court issued its judgment in the long-standing legal challenge by recreational fishers against the previous Minister’s decisions on total allowable catch (TAC) and total allowable commercial catch (TACC) for kahawai stocks for the 2004/05 and 2005/06 fishing years.
The Court – by way of a majority of four Judges to one – dismissed the appeals that had been advanced by the recreational interests and confirmed that questions of allocation are ultimately a matter of judgment for the Minister. The Court also noted that that the Fisheries Act 1996 does not confer any priority for any sectoral interest over the other. Once again, it is a matter of judgment for the Minister.
Following on from this judgment, the Ministry will review the existing TAC, allocations and bag limits for kahawai as part of the 2010 sustainability round.