* Denotes Regional Office
In addition, offices are due to be opened in Whitianga, Hamilton, Raglan, Wairoa and Masterton.
As a government department the Ministry works collaboratively with a number of government departments in the discharge of fisheries and marine biosecurity responsibilities. Some of the more important relationships with other departments are:
Department of Conservation (DoC)
DoC has a statutory function to advocate for the conservation of natural and historic resources. It also has responsibility for marine reserves, managing many freshwater fisheries, and protecting marine mammals and seabirds.
MFish works with DoC in providing input to population management plan proposals under the Wildlife Act & Marine Mammals Protection Act, and marine reserve proposals under the Marine Reserves Act. The views and input of DoC officials are often sought in the development of policy. DoC regional offices interact with MFish staff at the local level on fisheries related issues. MFish administers the $1 million Conservation Services cost recovery levy process.
A Memorandum of Understanding is currently being drafted to formalise the departments' agreement to work together to avoid duplication of effort and cost in relation to issues concerning protected species fisheries interactions. The Chief Executive of DoC is a member of the Biosecurity Council.
MFish also works extensively with DoC in the processes related to marine reserves. A marine reserve is an area of the sea and foreshore where all marine plants and animal life are completely protected from all forms of fishing. The purpose of a marine reserve is to preserve, for the scientific study of marine life, areas of New Zealand that contain underwater scenery, natural features, or marine life, of such distinctive quality, or so typical, or beautiful, or unique, that their continued preservation is in the national interest.
Marine reserves are established under the Marine Reserves Act 1971. This Act is administered by the Department of Conservation. Presently, there are 16 marine reserves located throughout New Zealand.
The Minister responsible for fisheries has an important role in establishing marine reserves. The Marine Reserves Act requires that the Minister of Conservation must obtain concurrence from the Minister of Fisheries (as well as the Minister of Transport) before a marine reserve can be established. If concurrence is withheld, a marine reserve cannot be established. In exercising the discretion to grant concurrence, the Minister of Fisheries must have positive regard to the purpose and objectives of the Marine Reserves Act 1971. The Minister must also take into account statutory obligations and functions under the Fisheries Act 1983, Fisheries Act 1996, and Treaty of Waitangi (Fisheries Claims) Settlement Act 1992 to ensure that the effects of the marine reserve on customary, commercial and recreational interests are considered.
Ministry for the Environment (MfE)
MfE provides advice to the Government on the state of the New Zealand environment, the way environmental laws work in practice and the actions necessary to improve environmental management. Its contributes to interdepartmental work on biological diversity and marine environmental issues.
MfE and MFish work together to ensure the interest and rights of fish farmers and fishers are fairly represented and taken into account when considering the use of coastal space in situations where the provisions of the Fisheries Act and the Resource Management Act interact.
MfE is developing a framework for environmental indicators that will include fisheries resource indicators. The two departments have worked closely on the development of the fisheries reforms and, with the Department of Conservation, are working on oceans management policies. The Chief Executive of MfE is a member of the Biosecurity Council.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT)
MFish works closely with MFAT on international fisheries issues related to protecting and enhancing New Zealand's fisheries interests in terms of global fisheries agreements, regional fisheries management, foreign licensing and market access issues.
Although MFAT is the lead government agency on most international fisheries issues, MFish provides specialised technical support.
Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MAF)
MAF Regulatory Authority has responsibility for fish health and export seafood safety matters and is also the enforcement agency for marine biosecurity matters.
MFish has a Memorandum of Understanding with MAF for it to inspect vessel ballast water on arrival in New Zealand. The Chief Executive of MAF is a member of the Biosecurity Council.
Ministry of Research, Science and Technology (MoRST) and Foundation for Research, Science and Technology (FoRST)
MFish works with MoRST and FoRST to determine research and funding priorities in fisheries research and minimise the overlap of research between funding organisations.
New Zealand Police
MFish has a Memorandum of Understanding with New Zealand Police which provides the formal authority for operational arrangements of mutual co-operation and assistance. In addition to the primary law enforcement and policing roles, sworn members of Police are deemed to be Fishery Officers under the Fisheries Act.
Active co-operation between MFish compliance business and NZ Police includes training and development of personnel; health and safety of personnel; development and operation of new processes, systems and technologies, provision of operational support in specific enforcement operations; sharing of specialised skills/capacity and resources, and sharing of technology and information.
New Zealand Defence Force
The NZ Defence Force has responsibilities for surface and aerial surveillance of the EEZ. MFish and NZDF share information on offshore fishing operations to ensure that surveillance efforts are directed at the areas of highest risk and that fisheries related surveillance capacity is efficiently utilised.
A formal Interdepartmental Agreement provides the basis for other co-operation and assistance of mutual benefit to the two agencies.
Ministry of Health
The Ministry of Health has responsibility for ensuring the safety of seafood sold on the domestic market, whether produced locally or imported. The Chief Executive of the Ministry of Health is a member of the Biosecurity Council.
MFish works with the Treasury, Te Puni Kokiri, the Office of Treaty Settlements, the Ministry of Justice, the State Services Commission, the Ministry of Commerce and the Department of Labour on fisheries related issues as they arise.
Treaty Partner: relationships with tangata whenua
MFish interacts with tangata whenua on a number of different levels. This interaction will continue to increase, since the Treaty Settlement process often includes fisheries related matters, the implementation of customary fishing regulations and the consultation obligations in the Fisheries Act 1996. Maori are now the largest players in New Zealand's commercial fishing industry. Tangata whenua can now manage their non-commercial customary fishing activity through recent regulations. Maori are also substantial recreational fishers.
The commercial fishing assets of Maori are managed by the Treaty of Waitangi Fisheries Commission, (TOKM) on behalf of Maori. While MFish currently interacts with the Commission in respect of the management of commercial fisheries, that interaction will need to embrace any number of iwi-based fishing organisations when allocation of the fisheries settlement assets takes place.
Work on implementing the new customary fishing regulations is helping to build strong working relationships between MFish and tangata whenua organisations around the country. MFish has entered into contracts with a number of iwi organisations for the provision of non-enforcement compliance and liaison services associated with the new regulations. In addition, Ngai Tahu Development Corporation has also been contracted to carry out administrative functions in the appointment of kaitiaki in the South Island.
The Fisheries Act 1996 requires the Minister to provide for the input and participation of tangata whenua in sustainability decisions that affect their non-commercial interests. MFish currently consults with over 100 iwi and hapu on matters affecting their fisheries. However, the obligation to provide for input and participation of tangata whenua requires more meaningful forms of interaction be developed and implemented.
MFish is entering into protocols with different iwi around the country which define the manner in which the Ministry will interact with them on a large range of protocol subjects covering many aspects of the Ministry's work. It is hoped these protocols will form the cornerstone of MFish's relationship with tangata whenua, and allow us to build on a shared understanding and concern for the state of our fisheries.
The Ministry has contracts for research projects, and, since 2 August 1999, for the provision of registry services - that is, quota management activities, vessel registrations, Licensed Fish Receiver licensing, the collection of levies, deemed values and other fees and the processing of statutory returns.
In relation to research contracting we let projects through a contestable tendering process where tenders are evaluated through an earned value process that combines aspects of both scientific quality and cost. Over 80 per cent of our current fisheries research is contracted to the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research - NIWA.
Registry services are managed by Commercial Fisheries Services, a wholly owned subsidiary of SeaFIC which in turn is using Datacom Employer Services as its provider. This is a three year contract but will remain in force only until such time as a approved service delivery organisation is established.
Before taking a range of statutory decisions under the Fisheries Act 1996, the Minister is required to consult with stakeholders, including Maori, the commercial fisheries sector, recreational fisheries interests and environmental groups.
The Commercial Sector
A number of organisations represent the fishing industry of New Zealand:
The New Zealand Seafood Industry Council (SeaFIC)
In 1997 SeaFIC took over the majority of the activities mandated by the Fishing Industry Board Act 1963. Its primary role is to promote the development of the New Zealand seafood industry, and it has a contractual obligation to provide advice on fisheries management policies and practices. The Fishing Industry Board has proposed that the contract, which is due to expire on 31 March 2000, be extended for a three year period until 31 March 2003.
Treaty of Waitangi Fisheries Commission (Te Ohu Kai Moana - TOKM)
The Commission was established as part of the Treaty of Waitangi (Fisheries Claims) Settlement Act 1992. TOKM holds in trust assets provided by the Crown prior to and after the Settlement. Its main task is the development of a method to allocate the Trust's assets to iwi. Its functions are to:
- facilitate the entry of Maori into, and development by Maori of, the business activity of fishing
- grant assistance to enable Maori or groups of Maori to enter into, continue in or develop the business and activity of fishing.
New Zealand Federation of Commercial Fishermen
This organisation represents small owner operators in the fishing industry.
New Zealand Fishing Industry Guild
This organisation represents the interest of those who work on fishing boats and in processing sheds.
New Zealand Aquaculture Council
Formed by its constituent groups, this organisation represents the aquaculture industry on national issues affecting all sectors of aquaculture, as well as the NZ Abalone Farmers Association, New Zealand Oyster Farmers Association and the Central Eel Enhancement Company.
There are also a number of other companies or incorporated bodies that represent commercial interests of a particular fishery or a range of fisheries.
The Environmental Sector
The Ministry interacts with a number of environmental groups with strong interests in sustainability measures for fisheries.
Environmental and Conservation Organisations of New Zealand (ECO)
This organisation represents 70 member organisations with a concern for conservation and the environment, and is involved in a number of Ministry processes, including the determination of fisheries services and the development of research projects. A major interest for this group is in the provision for non-extractive use of our fisheries.
Royal Forest and Bird Protection Society
This organisation represents 40,000 members in 56 branches around the country and has been an advocate for conservation and protection of New Zealand's natural resources since 1923. It is interested in marine reserves and issues relating to the protection of New Zealand's marine ecosystem.
This is an international organisation which has over 31,000 supporters spread throughout New Zealand. Its primary interest is the adverse effect of fishing on protected species.
World Wide Fund for Nature
This is a science-based international conservation organisation. Its research and policy programmes are overseen by an independent science advisory committee.
The Recreational Fishing Sector
Most marine recreational fishers do not belong to a recreational fishing organisation. However, the following groups represent segments of the sector.
The New Zealand Recreational Fishing Council Inc (NZRFC)
This is an umbrella group representing the Big Game Fishing Council as well other national associations, regional associations and clubs throughout New Zealand.
This major freshwater activity is managed by Fish and Game Councils established under legislation managed by the Department of Conservation.