Changing Course - Towards Fisheries 2010
- Preface by Chief Executive
- Nature's limits: The challenge
- Net gains: The change of course
- Fisheries 2010: The twelve founding principles
- Guardianship: Our children's future
- Foresight for the future: Strategic issues
- Our common future: Working with stakeholders
- Next steps for the Ministry: Where to from here?
- Project 2010
Copies of this document are available from the Ministry of Fisheries.
Changing Course: Sustainable fisheries in a healthy aquatic ecosystem
Nature's limits: The challenge
A child born in 1996 will be starting to plan for their future in 2010. What kind of world will that child hope to inherit?
Globally, the omens do not look good. Everywhere, we see signs that nature's limits are being stretched. Environmental problems such as changing weather patterns, shrinking fish catches, falling water tables and declining diversity of animals and plants are among the reminders that our world is on a development path that is environmentally unsustainable.
Around the planet, wild fisheries are reaching their natural limits. The global fish catch, which quadrupled over the last 40 years is no longer rising, seemingly because oceanic fisheries cannot sustain a greater catch. The problem is made worse as the ecosystem environment is damaged by pollution and as habitats are damaged or destroyed.
Although in New Zealand we can boast perhaps the best managed fisheries in the world under the pioneering Quota Management System, we are not immune from these global trends. In the coming millennium our billion dollar fish export industry stands increasingly to be affected by them. To remain internationally competitive, we need to look to the future, build on our successes, and show leadership in the way we manage ourfisheries.
These are times of rapid change. The move to an MMP Parliament, mounting public awareness of environmental issues, internationalisation of the economy, and the information technology revolution are just some of the trends which will be vitally important to the Ministry of Fisheries in the next 14 years - and beyond.
Environmental issues are critical to the management of a natural resource like fisheries which, by its very nature, demands a strategic long-term perspective over time. It is the cumulative effects of the way we use our resources now that will determine whether future generations will inhabit a more or less sustainable world.
For the Ministry, the new Fisheries Act 1996 and the Government's Environment 2010 Strategy are the twin foundation stones of its long-term strategic focus - the sustainable use of New Zealand's fisheries. The Act restates and enhances sustainability policies within New Zealand's fisheries waters. It provides for more explicit environmental standards and gives further opportunities for the users of the fisheries to accept increasing responsibility for managing the resource.
In 1995, the Environment 2010 Strategy set out the framework for all government environmental policies, including fisheries. It offered a vision for the New Zealand environment as, "A clean, healthy and unique environment, sustaining nature and people's needs and aspirations". The document was part of the Government's strategic vision for New Zealand and offered a context in which to establish environmental goals alongside economic and social goals.
As part of developing its strategic direction, the Ministry of Fisheries is building a framework for managing the long-term future of our fisheries, in collaboration with those who have a shared interest in the resource. This group of people, known as fisheries stakeholders, includes Maori, environmental groups, recreational fishers, the wider public, and commercial fishers.
Maori, who as Treaty partner are key participants in the natural resource based sectors, know that they will have to manage their business activities to maintain good environmental outcomes over time. Recreational fishers understand that without healthy fisheries, the pleasure of baiting a hook and tossing it in the water confident of catching something will not be possible.
Environmental groups and the general public want to ensure that the resource is well managed on their behalf and will be available to their children. Commercial fishers appreciate that economic growth and environmental management are inextricably linked and that it is in their own interest to manage the resource sustainably.
This document sets out a rationale for the future management of fisheries. The Ministry's role in that process combines a stocktake of fisheries policies of recent years with long-term strategic foresight into the coming century. Its aim is to initiate the process of building a consensus with stakeholders.
Fisheries 2010 will result from this collaborative process. It will establish the long-term goals for our fisheries and how we achieve them. The people with a common interest in the sustainable use of our fisheries must work together to ensure the New Zealand of 2010 can offer healthy fisheries to the future generations.
The Ministry's responsibility is to lead the process of building consensus on the future goals for managing our fisheries - and the respective roles in achieving these goals.