3. CURRENT ISSUES


MFish has a number of key fisheries and marine biosecurity issues to be resolved over the period 2002 to 2005. These issues are outlined below. The issues have been grouped according to whether they require attention immediately, over the next 6 months, or over the next three years. For each issue the key actions or decisions the Minister(s) may need to take are identified.

3.1 Fisheries portfolio

Immediate issues: August and September 2002

Updated Strategic Plan

The Ministry is now at the stage where, after initial external consultation and staff input from across the Ministry we are in a position to start talking to and receiving external feedback on the draft updated strategic plan.

Actions:

  • Discuss the draft updated strategic plan with the Ministry at an early date.

Marine reserves

Establishment of marine reserves by the Minister of Conservation requires the concurrence of the Minister of Fisheries. We are currently processing four marine reserve concurrence requests. These are:

  • Paraninihi and North Nelson: MFish has advised on these two proposals.
  • Te Matuku: MFish is currently preparing a concurrence report.
  • Taputeranga: A draft timeline has been developed but has still to be confirmed with Ministers.
  • Patterson Inlet: The Minister of Conservation recently determined to seek concurrence for the establishment of a marine reserve in Patterson Inlet. Once a request for concurrence is received, MFish will seek your approval for a timeline to process the request for concurrence.

Actions:

  • Consider the existing concurrence reports for Paraninihi and North Nelson, and receive and consider the Te Matuku concurrence report, by late September.
  • Approve a proposed timeline for the Taputeranga concurrence report
  • Approve a proposed timeline for the Patterson Inlet concurrence report, when provided by MFish.

Sustainability and other management measures for October 2002/03 fishing year

MFish is currently preparing its final advice paper for the annual Review of Sustainability Measures and Other Management Controls. This review provides the majority of our sustainability advice relating to fish stocks each year. The review will be provided to you in August 2002, with a view to obtaining decisions in September.

This review will include:

  • review of TACs for selected snapper, oreo, orange roughy, and three paua stocks
  • proposed framework for reviewing TACs for low knowledge bycatch fisheries
  • review of stocks currently managed under MFish's adaptive management programme
  • review of new adaptive management programme proposals for certain tarakihi, rubyfish, elephant fish, stargazer, red gurnard, silver warehou and ling stocks.

Actions:

  • Decisions on sustainability and management measures for the October fishing year by September 2002.

Hector's dolphins

MFish is currently dealing with three separate issues related to bycatch of Hector's dolphins.

West Coast North Island: In March 2002 a judicial review relating to measures to mitigate Hector's dolphin mortalities in the North Island set aside the Minister's decision that was to close, by regulation, a large part of the west coast of the North Island (out to 4 nautical miles) to set net fishing. In April, MFish released for consultation a review of information available to support management options and proposed two coastal management options. The views of stakeholders were polarised: environmental interest groups advocated widespread controls on fishing, whereas interest groups affected by the proposals, while acknowledging the need to protect Hector's dolphins, advocated lesser controls to allow their use of fisheries resources to continue. In late July, we provided the Minister with an analysis of submissions and recommendations for management.

Canterbury : A limit has been set of three Hector's dolphins deaths per year attributable to fishing for the area between the Waiau River and Waitaki River. Regulatory measures for recreational fishers have been introduced to support this limit. MFish requested the industry to develop a range of mitigation measures to give a high probability that the limit of three Hector's dolphins will not be exceeded. Ministerial approval will be required for the proposed measures. West Coast South Island: Over the past year there have been eight reported mortalities of Hector's dolphins on the West Coast of the South Island, where the largest sub-population of the species is found. DoC has advised MFish that steps are being taken to propose a marine mammal sanctuary around Buller Bay. The role of the Minister of Fisheries in establishing a marine mammal sanctuary is unclear in law, but may potentially amount to a requirement to give concurrence to a decision in principle from the Minister of Conservation.

Actions:

  • Make a decision on management measures for North Island Hector's dolphins, as soon as practicable.
  • In October 2002, approve measures to restrict mortality of Hector's dolphins in Canterbury to a set limit.

Environmental Management Strategy

MFish is currently preparing an environmental management strategy for New Zealand fisheries. Like many other countries, New Zealand has developed a range of initiatives to address specific issues related to the effects of fishing on the aquatic environment, including establishment of marine reserves, fishing method restrictions, observer programmes, imposition of marine mammal by-catch limits, and requirements for fishers to use by-catch mitigation devices. However, to date, these initiatives have been largely reactive and somewhat ad hoc.

The purpose of the MFish Environmental Management Strategy for New Zealand Fisheries is to improve management of the adverse effects of fishing on the aquatic environment, and to ensure MFish meets all its environmental obligations in an efficient and consistent manner. A draft Environmental Management Strategy will be completed shortly and will be released for consultation. The Strategy is scheduled for completion by December 2002. Extensive work will be required to implement the strategy, including undertaking species threat assessments for many species adversely affected by fishing and developing a wide range of environmental standards.

Actions:

  • Consider the proposed MFish approach prior to release of public discussion paper in September.

Marine Protected Areas Strategy

MFish and DoC have prepared a draft marine protected areas strategy. The strategy's objective is to achieve a network of protected areas by coordinating a range of protection mechanisms.

The strategy is driven from a national marine classification system that will allow identification, based on the best available scientific information, of ecotypes and habitats. On the basis of this analysis a comprehensive proactive planning process can be used to identify the priorities for marine biodiversity protection to a local level. The draft strategy is being finalised for public consultation.

Actions:

  • In conjunction with the Minister of Conservation, refer a proposal to Cabinet in September to release the draft strategy for public consultation.

Management of highly migratory species

The management regime for highly migratory species (primarily tuna fisheries) is under review because there are poor management incentives and inefficiency in the domestic fisheries. However, there is opportunity for development of these fisheries in the high seas and New Zealand has a strategic interest in any forthcoming international allocation. The new regime needs to take in account our international obligations, including development of regional management organisations, and the Crown's obligations to Mäori under the Deed of Settlement.

A draft discussion paper has been prepared and we intend to consult with fisheries stakeholders in September 2002. MFish expects that any management regime for highly migratory species will require an amendment to the Fisheries Act 1996.

Action:

  • Consider the proposed MFish approach prior to release of public discussion paper in September.

Aquaculture reform

In November 2001 Cabinet agreed to a package of measures to reform the management regime for aquaculture. The reform initiative is being lead by the Minister of Fisheries, in association with the Ministers of Environment, Conservation and Mäori Affairs. The reforms will be enacted through the Resource Management (Aquaculture) Amendment Bill. It is expected that the Bill will be introduced to the House in October 2002 with a view to enactment in March 2003. The Bill would be commenced in phases with full commencement by March 2004 when the current moratorium on new aquaculture applications expires.

Officials have largely completed work on the preparation of drafting instructions for the Bill. Further advice is being sought on the extent to which unextinguished Mäori aquaculture rights exist, and options to give effect to such rights through the aquaculture reforms. In late July an urgent hearing of the Waitangi Tribunal was sought by Ngäti Kahungunu and Ngäti Whatua. The claim is that the aquaculture reform is in breach of the Treaty as it makes no appropriate provision for, or protection of, Mäori interests in aquaculture.

The purpose of the reform is to enable aquaculture to increase the contribution it makes to the national economy, while not undermining the fisheries management regime or Treaty settlements, and ensuring adverse effects of aquaculture are managed. The reforms will give Regional Councils greater powers to manage and control the development of aquaculture, by requiring new development to take place within Aquaculture Management Areas.

The reforms will enable an integrated approach to be taken to coastal planning, aquaculture development and fisheries management, and remove much of the duplication of the current regulatory regime for aquaculture. Regional Councils will have sole responsibility for managing the adverse effects of aquaculture on the environment. To provide ongoing protection of fisheries interests, including the Crown's obligations to Mäori under the Deed of Settlement, MFish will retain the role of determining whether the establishment of a proposed Aquaculture Management Area will have an undue adverse effect on fishing. MFish will also maintain a registry of fish farmers, to impose restrictions in relation to the acquisition and disposal of farmed stock.

During the transition to the new regime, MFish will retain the role of processing marine farm permit applications. Given the recent upsurge of interest in aquaculture MFish is currently reviewing its capacity to process these applications.

During the transition to the new regime, MFish will retain the role of processing marine farm permit applications. Given the recent upsurge of interest in aquaculture, MFish has reviewed its capacity to process these applications and has identified a need for additional funding, all to be cost recovered.

Actions:

  • Approve, with other Ministers, an approach to address the effect of reforms on any unextinguished Mäori aquaculture rights.
  • Refer, with other Ministers, a Bill to the Cabinet Committee with responsibility for new legislation in October 2002.
  • Consider MFish's proposals for additional funding, all to be cost recovered, to process the backlog of marine farm applications.

Introduction of new species into the QMS

MFish has set a target of introducing 50 species into the QMS by 1 October 2004. The actual number introduced will depend on a case by case analysis. The QMS commenced in 1986 when 32 species, the majority of the commercially caught species, were introduced. More fisheries were introduced in 1998 and 2000, but various constraints have meant that the introduction process has been slower than expected. Full commencement of the Fisheries Act 1996 and development of the new registry computer system, as of 1 October 2001, removed the last major constraints to further QMS introductions.

Introducing further species to the QMS will improve the management framework for all users (customary, recreational and commercial) while also enabling the Crown to meet its obligations to Mäori under the Deed of Settlement and some settlements with individual iwi. The Deed of Settlement obliges the Crown to allocate 20 percent of all individual transferable quota resulting from QMS introductions to Mäori (via Te Ohu Kai Moana).

The length of time between the qualifying years (1990 to 1992) and the allocation of quota is posing considerable pressure on MFish to create individual catch entitlement (ICE) fisheries to avoid dislocation of current business and effort. A judicial review in July 2002 has confirmed the Minister's ability to introduce species to the QMS without having to consider an ICE regime. This means that quota allocation is based on catch history in the 'qualifying years'. An appeal against this decision has been filed. Further litigation in relation to the introduction of other species into the QMS is also likely (especially scampi and blue mackerel). The QMS introduction process requires a series of consultation documents and final advice to the Minister. Each introduction date requires a total of 12 to 18 months preparation. The final output occurs at the start of each April and October fishing year when species or stocks are introduced into the QMS.

Actions:

  • By September 2002, set the TAC and TACC for 8 species entering the QMS in October 2002.
  • Recommend consequential regulations supporting the entry of species in October 2002.
  • Consider what action you wish to take in order to introduce scampi into the QMS by 1 October 2003
  • In September, approve the introduction of further species as of October 2003.

Cost Recovery

Under the Fisheries Act 1996, the Crown recovers a proportion of its total costs from the commercial fishing industry. The five principles in section 262 of the Act along with the Fisheries (Cost Recovery) Rules 2001, determine whether, and to what extent MFish costs can be recovered from the commercial industry. The cost recovery principles are:

  • if a conservation service or fisheries service is provided at the request of an identifiable person, that person must pay a fee for the service
  • costs of conservation services or fisheries services provided in the general public interest, rather than in the interest of an identifiable person or class of person, may not be recovered
  • costs of conservation services or fisheries services provided to manage or administer the harvesting or farming of fisheries resources must, so far as practicable, be attributed to the persons who benefit from harvesting or farming the resources
  • costs of conservation services or fisheries services provided to avoid, remedy, or mitigate a risk to, or an adverse effect on, the aquatic environment or the biological diversity of the aquatic environment must, so far as practicable, be attributed to the persons who caused the risk or adverse effect
  • the Crown may not recover the costs of services provided by an approved service delivery organisation under Part 15A.

Cost recovery levy orders occur annually, with the levies being set in time for the commencement of the fishing year on 1 October. The levy order incorporates levies for both fisheries services and conservation services, the latter being services approved by the Minister of Conservation following a consultation process very similar to that operated by the Ministry of Fisheries in respect of its business plan. Normally these would be dealt with at the same time as the fisheries levies, but, for 2002/03, the processing has been undertaken separately.

There have been significant changes to the cost recovery regime since it was introduced in 1994. These changes, some of them retrospective, have created issues for MFish to manage:

  • determining a process to address the historic under and over recovery issues - MFish has analysed the history of under and over recovery from 1994 to 2001 with there being a $3m net under recovery made up of a gross $52m under recovery and a gross $49 over recovery which are not off-setting against one another
  • determining a process to manage future under and over recovery issues.

MFish and industry have formed a joint working party to report to the Minister on the process to resolve historic and future under and over recovery issues.

Actions:

  • Approve the conservation services levy order for 2002/03 and take a paper to Cabinet in early September 2002.
  • Consider the report from the joint working party on unders and overs by end of September 2002.

Mataitai reserves

We have five current applications for mätaitai reserves at various stages on the books:

  • Napier: MFish final advice is in the late stages of preparation. A decision paper will be available in early August.
  • Waitutu (south coast of South Island): MFish final advice is currently being prepared.
  • Moeraki (North Otago): The consultation and submission process with the local community is complete. The Runaka has yet to decide whether to continue with application in its current form. There is no timeframe for this.
  • D'Urville Island: This application encountered problems with iwi claiming tangata whenua rights in the area, and the applicants (Ngäti Koata) providing additional information to clarify their position. More recently the focus of the application has turned to clarifying the current status of the applicant under the customary fishing regulations. There is no timeframe for this.
  • Tamaitemioka Titi Moutere (south west of Stewart Island): This is a new application. It has been advertised and consultation with the local community will be carried out over August/September 2002. The applicants must then decide whether to amend the application. No timeframe is set for this. In addition MFish is servicing a series of taiapure, which result in occasional advice papers to the Minister to approve appointment to the management committee or regulatory amendment.

Actions:

  • Receive the MFish advice paper on the Napier mätaitai reserve application in early August.
  • Receive the MFish advice paper on the Waitutu mätaitai reserve application by December.

Temporary closures under s186A

MFish is currently preparing advice papers regarding temporary closures in Pukerua Bay and Hicks Bay. Temporary closures are provided for as part of customary management framework.

Actions:

  • Receive the advice papers on the Pukerua Bay and Hicks Bay temporary closures.

Foreign Crew Bill

A private member's bill entitled "The Fisheries (Foreign Fishing Crew) Amendment Bill" has completed its Second Reading in the House and is currently at the Committee stage of deliberations. The Bill was No 1 on the Private Members' Orders of the Day list when the House rose for the general election. The Bill amends section 256 of the Fisheries Act 1996 to allow the courts, when disposing of vessels forfeit due to fisheries offences, to consider foreign crew claims for unpaid wages and costs incurred by 3rd parties in support and repatriation of the foreign crew.

Actions:

  • None. This item is for your information.

Seabirds

MFish is currently working with the Department of Conservation (DoC) to prepare a National Plan of Action (NPOA) on seabirds. The NPOA is a long-term strategy for reducing the level of incidental bycatch of albatross and petrels in New Zealand fisheries. Its goal is to reduce the bycatch of these species to a level that ensures populations are not adversely affected. The plan will also meet New Zealand's obligations under the FAO Seabird International Plan of Action. The issue has both national and international ramifications because the species distributions often extend outside the exclusive economic zone, and mortality due to fishing occurs on the high seas by vessels of other nationalities.

The first draft of the NPOA was developed in conjunction with key commercial and environmental groups and was consulted on with a wide range of stakeholders. The Minister of Fisheries and Minister of Conservation considered this draft in January 2002. Both Ministers considered that the draft NPOA did not go far enough or move fast enough to reduce the capture of seabirds and wanted to take steps that would bring about a more certain reduction to capture rates and provide much better information on the extent of the interaction between commercial fishing and seabirds.

Ministers believed that the use of output controls (catch limits) is a good approach, but wanted implementation of a formal catch limit, rather than a voluntary target level, and a firm management response to breaching that limit. Output controls should provide the appropriate incentives for fisher to modify their fishing behaviour to reduce captures, and provide more certainty to Government about the nature of the steps taken.

MFish is working with DoC to produce a revised NPOA for your and the Minister of Conservation's consideration in August. Following approval by the Minister of Conservation and yourself the draft NPOA will be circulated to stakeholders for final consultation.

In the interim the stakeholders have been consulted on proposals to increase the level of MFish observer coverage to collect better information on the interaction between seabirds and commercial fishing operations in key fisheries. If approved the increased observer coverage will take effect in the 2002-03 fishing year. MFish will provide final advice and recommendations to you in early August on the observer coverage proposals. It is proposed that if you approve the plan in principle, a decision will be taken to proceed with the observer coverage proposals.

Actions:

  • Consider with the Minister of Conservation in August, the revised plan for consultation with stakeholders
  • Consider changes in the level of observer coverage in August.

CITES

The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) is an international agreement with the aim of ensuring that international trade in wild animals and plants does not threaten their survival. Trade is regulated through CITES by listing species on one of three appendices, each of which limits trade to varying degrees.

There has been recent pressure from non-governmental organisations and some governments to list a number of commercially harvested marine species under CITES as a mechanism to combat illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing. Australia has proposed that Patagonian toothfish (harvested in the Antarctic area) be listed under CITES. Proposals to list species and problems with CITES criteria for listing of marine species will be considered at a CITES meeting in November 2002. Although DoC has the lead for CITES issues in New Zealand, MFish officials will attend that meeting.

In May 2002, Cabinet directed MFish and MFAT officials to consider the implications of a CITES listing for Patagonian toothfish prior to the next CITES meeting. Officials will provide advice to allow a Cabinet paper to be put forward by early September.

Actions:

  • Refer, in conjunction with other Ministers, a paper to Cabinet in early September on the implications of a CITES listing for Patagonian toothfish.
  • As a member of Cabinet, approve New Zealand's negotiating position for the November CITES meeting.

Trans-Tasman issues

New Zealand and Australia have in place an arrangement to manage the South Tasman Rise orange roughy fishery. The two countries have held preliminary discussions regarding the development of a trans-Tasman fisheries arrangement for demersal fisheries, including orange roughy. Such an arrangement would need to be developed in conjunction with other States with an interest in trans-Tasman fisheries. New Zealand and Australian officials will meet on 8-9 August 2002 to discuss trans-Tasman fisheries issues.

Actions:

  • Consider a report of the August officials' meeting (submitted to the Minister of Fisheries and the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade).

Next 6 months

Allocation of pre-settlement assets

Te Ohu Kaimoana (TOKM) is charged with preparing a proposal for the allocation of fisheries assets to all Maori. There are still a number of court cases pending relating to allocation issues. The Crown and TOKM have made a joint application to lift current restraints preventing TOKM reporting a model to the Minister of Fisheries for consideration. This case will be heard on 30 July. TOKM has been directed by the courts to inform litigants of its proposed model 20 working days before reporting to the Minister, to provide an opportunity, if necessary, for an application for a further restraint to be made to the court. A further restraint application is likely. It is also inevitable that the substantive cases will need to be addressed in the courts before any decisions are implemented. A report to the Minister is timetabled for October 2002 (assuming no delays due to litigation). The Minister then has 30 calendar days to respond to the TOKM proposal. The TOKM proposal involves pre-settlement assets, held prior to August 1992, and post-settlement assets arising from the "Sealord" settlement. Allocation of post-settlement assets will require a Bill to Parliament. If requested, the government must refer any Bill to the Waitangi Tribunal for review. Provided TOKM is able to report to you, we anticipate a Bill being submitted to Parliament in December 2002. However, as noted, litigation may delay this timeframe.

Actions:

  • Make a decision on the TOKM allocation proposal in November 2002.
  • Refer a Bill to the appropriate Cabinet Committee in December 2002 (if litigation can be addressed).

Treaty Strategy

MFish is developing a Treaty strategy to describe how we deliver on our obligations arising from the 1992 Treaty of Waitangi (Fisheries Claims) Settlement Act and the principles of the Treaty. The strategy focuses on establishing strong working relationships at a regional level between MFish and iwi/hapü fisheries representatives, including undertaking training and capacity building on both sides of the partnership relationship.

Currently, MFish is halfway through consulting with iwi and hapü on the Treaty strategy. Ten hui have been held across Northland, Bay of Plenty, Waikato, East Coast and the top of the South Island. A recent meeting with Ngäi Tahu also discussed the Treaty Strategy. Hui are being organised in the remaining areas of the country. MFish has also been working with TOKM to ensure that the Treaty strategy takes account of the future allocation of commercial fisheries assets. The strategy seeks to encourage iwi and hapü to think about their commercial and non-commercial fisheries interests in a holistic and strategic manner. Finalisation of the Treaty strategy, followed by work on an implementation plan, is expected by early 2003.

Actions:

  • Consider the proposed MFish Treaty strategy prior to finalisation.

Appointment of Kaitiaki/Tangata Kaitiaki

The Fisheries (Kaimoana Customary Fishing) Regulations 1998 and the Fisheries (South Island Customary Fishing) Regulations 1999 provide for the Minister to appoint Kaitiaki/Tangata Kaitiaki to authorise customary non?commercial food gathering.

Currently there are in excess of 100 Tangata Tiaki/Kaitiaki appointments in the South Island, while, in the North Island there have been relatively few Tangata Kaitiaki appointed. Over the next six months MFish expects a number of applications. MFish has obligations to process such applications within timeframes set in the customary fishing regulations.

Actions:

Appointment of Kaitiaki/Tangata Kaitiaki as required.

Sea Lion Plan

MFish will be providing you with a plan to manage the interaction between Hooker sea lions and the squid trawl fishery around the Auckland and Campbell Islands. The plan will be provided to you by 1 December 2002.

The plan seek your agreement to setting a maximum allowable level of fishing related mortality (MALFRM) in this fishery. The plan will detail how monitoring of the fishery will occur and how the fishery is to be closed if the MALFRM is reached or exceeded.

You are required to consult with the Minister of Conservation before making your final decision on the setting of the MALFRM.

Actions:

  • Approve, after consulting the Minister of Conservation, the plan to manage the interaction between Hooker sea lions and the southern squid fishery.

CCSBT

The Commission for the Conservation of Southern Bluefin Tuna (CCSBT) manages southern bluefin tuna in the South Pacific and Indian Oceans. The 2001 meeting of the CCSBT yielded mixed results. Good progress was made when Korea acceded to the Convention and Taiwan undertook to join during 2002. Adoption of a scientific research programme developed by external scientists has also paved the way for an agreed stock assessment process. The Commission was, however, unable to reach agreement on a total allowable catch limit and national allocations. In the absence of an agreement, New Zealand, Australia and Korea have undertaken to voluntarily constrain their catch to the previously agreed national allocations. Japan has undertaken to notify the CCSBT of its intended catch level. The next meeting of the CCSBT will be in October 2002.

Actions:

  • Approve a negotiating brief for the CCSBT meeting in October 2002.

CCAMLR and Antarctic fishing

New Zealand is a party to the Convention for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR), and is actively involved in the work of the CCAMLR Commission, Scientific Committee, and working groups. New Zealand vessels have undertaken exploratory fishing for toothfish in the Ross Sea area for the past five seasons. This fishing is authorised by the Minister of Fisheries under the Antarctic Marine Living Resources Act 1981.

In October 2002, MFish and MFAT officials will attend the annual CCAMLR meeting during which conservation and management measures will be agreed on for the 2002/03 fishing year.

Actions:

  • Approve, with the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the New Zealand negotiating position for the October 2002 CCAMLR meeting.
  • In late November determine which New Zealand vessels will fish in Antarctica during the 2002/03 season.

Sustainability and other management measures for 1 April fishing year

A further Review of Sustainability Measures and Other Management Controls is to be developed for fisheries whose fishing year commences on 1 April 2003. You will need to determine your initial positions on these sustainability measures in December 2002 and your final decisions, after consultation with stakeholders, in March 2003. In addition, separate sustainability advice relating to rock lobster will be provided for your decision in mid-February.

Ministerial decisions for scallops and southern blue whiting will be required over the next six months. In the case of scallops, the fishery may be subject to applications to increase the TAC within the fishing year while, in the case of southern blue whiting, a new management regime is to be proposed.

Actions:

  • Decisions on final sustainability and management measures for the April fishing year by March 2003 and rock lobster in mid-February
  • Decisions on scallops and southern blue whiting as required.

Western and Central Fisheries Convention

The Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Convention (WCPFC), concluded in Honolulu in September 2000, establishes a tuna conservation and management regime in the Western and Central Pacific. Resources harvested by New Zealanders, both in New Zealand waters and elsewhere, fall within the ambit of the Convention's regime. New Zealand has signed, but has yet to ratify, the WCPFC. MFAT and MFish are preparing an analysis of the challenges and implications of ratification for your consideration.

The decision regarding ratification of WCPFC will be referred to Cabinet. The Cabinet paper will cover the resource implications of ratification. No timetable has been set down for ratification, although the process is likely to commence before the end of 2002.

Actions:

  • As a member of Cabinet, determine whether to ratify the WCPFC.

International fisheries strategy

Recent changes in international law and increasing international activity by New Zealand fishers has prompted MFish to develop a draft strategy to guide our international fisheries work. The draft is based on guidance given by the Minister of Fisheries early in 2002, focussing on economic interests, environmental leadership, and international relations. Further guidance on the strategy will be sought from the Minister before the end of 2002. Consultation with stakeholders and other agencies will commence after MFish has received the Minister's confirmation of the approach.

Actions:

  • Before December 2002, approve for consultation a draft strategy for international fisheries.

Marine Reserves Bill

In June 2002 Parliament referred the Marine Reserves Bill to the Local Government and Environment Select Committee. This legislation is administered by DoC. MFish will work with DoC to support the Select Committee process.

Key changes from the existing legislation are:

  • a revised purpose clearly focussing on biodiversity protection
  • ability to establish marine reserves in the Exclusive Economic Zone
  • removal of discretion to allow fishing in marine reserves
  • replacement of the requirement for concurrence from the Minister of Fisheries with a requirement that the Minister of Conservation consult the Minister of Fisheries.

Under the Bill, a marine reserve cannot be established where there is an undue adverse effect on a range of specified interests, including fishing interests. In deciding whether an adverse effect is undue, the Minister of Conservation has to weigh up the adverse effect against the public interest in establishing the reserve. Tangata whenua and other fisheries stakeholders have particular concerns about the operation of this provision.

Actions:

  • None. This is for your information only.

Over the next 3 years

Oceans Policy

The previous Government announced the development of an oceans policy in 2000. Key drivers for the development of a New Zealand oceans policy are the need to manage human impacts on the oceans more effectively, and the desire to make sure New Zealand gets the best value (in economic, social and cultural terms) from use of the oceans. Oceans policy is needed to provide clear and coherent goals and objectives for managing the marine environment and to improve frameworks and mechanisms, whether legislated or otherwise, to ensure coordination across decisions on marine resource management. A Ministerial Advisory Committee consulted last year to find out New Zealanders' vision, values, concerns and aspirations about the oceans.

The Oceans Ministers overseeing the project, led by the Hon Pete Hodgson, approved a work programme to produce a draft Oceans Policy for consultation by July 2003. Work is focussing on identifying the goals and objectives to be contained in the oceans policy. A stocktake of existing legal and management processes to identify gaps and weaknesses that the oceans policy will need to address is also in progress.

The Oceans Policy Project is an inter-governmental project that has very recently been transferred to the Ministry for the Environment. MFish is actively contributing to the project along with approximately 12 other government agencies that have an interest in oceans policy issues. A diverse cross-section of stakeholders groups is also providing significant input to the project. In the short term there will need to be work put into establishing good governance arrangements for the project, and ensuring the commitment of the required resources from agencies, or by contract. This work may lead to delay in the timeframes determined by Ministers in June.

The project will need to be afforded a high priority if resources are to be made available to ensure a meaningful draft oceans policy is produced for consultation. It will also require open-minded but rigorous participation and commitment from departments if it is to result in new approaches that can improve the management of New Zealand's oceans. In particular, policies need to ensure that New Zealanders can obtain the best value from the use of the ocean, while managing the effects of human activities on the ocean environment.

The timing of the actions below may change as a result of the work on governance and resourcing discussed above, and subsequent decisions by Oceans Ministers.

Actions:

  • In September, approve, with other Oceans Ministers, the goals and objectives for the oceans policy.
  • In December, approve, with other Oceans Ministers, a timetable for the policy analysis stage.

Recreational fishing framework

MFish has been working for several years on options to improve the framework for recreational fisheries management. At present both commercial and recreational fishers face incentives to seek Ministerial agreement to increase their respective share of the total allowable catch rather than working co-operatively to improve fishing. Issues that need to be addressed include inadequate information on recreational catch in some fisheries, inadequate specification of rights, and inadequate ability to manage recreational catch at sustainable levels in some circumstances.

Cabinet has directed MFish to prepare a public discussion document by February 2003 with a recommended option to improve the management of recreational fisheries. Cabinet set out the following objectives and constraints to guide the development of the reform option

Objectives:

  • access to a reasonable share of inshore fishery resources equitably distributed between recreational fishers
  • improve, where practical, the quality of recreational fishing
  • increase public awareness and knowledge of the marine environment and the need for conservation of fishery resources
  • improve management of recreational fisheries
  • reduce conflict within and among fishery user groups
  • maintain current tourist fisheries and encourage the development of new operations where appropriate
  • prevent depletion of resources in areas where local communities are dependent on the sea as a source of food
  • provide more opportunities for recreational fishers to participate in the management of fisheries.

Constraints:

  • avoid undermining the Fisheries Deed of Settlement
  • recognise the legitimate rights of other fisheries stakeholders including the commercial and customary sectors
  • operate within fiscal constraints imposed by the Crown and the rules surrounding expenditure of public funds
  • recognise the explicit consideration given to sustainability of fishstocks and the environmental principles of the Fisheries Act 1996
  • be consistent with any outcomes of the oceans policy process and the biodiversity strategy.

MFish has commissioned a series of background papers, which we intend to make publicly available in August. The papers will discuss issues including the nature of the current recreational right, constraints on recreational fishing due to environmental obligations, and the relevance of the fisheries settlement with Maori. Discussion of these issues with the sector will be contentious, and may heighten awareness and result in publicity.

Actions:

  • Present a public discussion document to Cabinet by February 2003.
  • Report to Cabinet on outcome of consultation by June 2003.

Biodiversity strategy

The New Zealand Biodiversity Strategy was released in February 2000. MFish is contributing to implementation of the strategy in a number of areas, including commissioning research to improve our understanding of marine biodiversity. A public education and awareness programme is also funded under the strategy. These initiatives are closely linked to other work undertaken in MFish to better meet the environmental obligations set out in legislation. The biodiversity package includes $3.21 million in Vote Fisheries, of which $0.5 million will be transferred to Vote Environment for oceans policy development, and $1.78 million in Vote Biosecurity (Fisheries) in 2002/03. MFish works closely with other departments, chiefly DoC, MAF and MfE, on biodiversity initiatives. A joint biodiversity website is expected to be operational by the end of 2002.

Actions:

  • None. This item is for your information only.

Facilitating development of fisheries plans

A fisheries plan framework document, providing guidance for applying the provisions in section 11A of the Fisheries Act, has been developed through consultation with stakeholders. A revised version will be printed and distributed in the near future. Fisheries plans allow stakeholders acting collectively to assume greater responsibility for managing fisheries by developing specific proposals, and funding and delivering non-core government services. These initiatives take place within a range of constraints and specifications set by Government. They provide a mechanism for greater participation by stakeholders than can be achieved through involvement in the centralised statutory regime, and the potential for efficiencies and innovation in the management of fisheries.

Plans include determination of management objectives and the corresponding implementation strategies to ensure sustainable use. Development and approval of specific fisheries plans, and any associated measures to implement these stakeholder initiatives, will be ongoing.

Actions:

  • Approve fisheries plans based on proposals from stakeholders and evaluation from MFish.

Cost recovery

MFish has identified the potential for improved fisheries management outcomes through amendments to the cost recovery regime. This would involve improvements to the policy framework within the legislated cost recovery principles, particularly with respect to cost recovery for international and fisheries management outputs. Changes would be directed at improving the incentives for industry involvement in fisheries management and encourage taking on a greater level of responsibility for some service delivery.

Actions:

  • Consider a policy proposal from MFish when developed.

WTO negotiations on fishing

In November 2001, the World Trade Organisation (WTO) Ministerial Conference in Doha launched a new round of multilateral trade negotiations and an expanded work programme of research and analysis. A key outcome for New Zealand was the inclusion of a mandate for negotiations on fish subsidies. This is an important milestone in a campaign New Zealand has pursued for a number of years, and which will have significant benefits for trade, the environment and development. MFish will provide technical input to the negotiations and submissions prepared by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade for the Minister for Trade Negotiations.

Actions:

  • None. This is for your information only.

World Summit on Sustainable Development

In September 2002 world leaders will meet in Johannesburg, South Africa, to advance the international charter for sustainable development that was created in Rio in 1992. As part of its preparations for this meeting, the New Zealand government has produced a report on its approach to sustainable development for New Zealand. Because fisheries management contributes to the social, cultural and economic well-being of New Zealanders, and involves managing the environmental impacts of fishing, MFish has been well-placed to contribute useful material to the report. As well as informing New Zealand's involvement at the World Summit, the report is the first step in a process that will result in a sustainable development strategy for New Zealand. MFish expects to continue its input as the strategy is developed.

Actions:

  • None. This is for your information only.

3.2 Biosecurity portfolio

Immediate issues: August and September 2002

Hull fouling

Fouling on vessel hulls is regarded as a high-risk pathway for introduction of marine pests into New Zealand waters. The likelihood of pests being introduced and spread in our waters is considered greatest whilst vessels are berthed or undergoing hull cleaning. Surveillance programmes are being implemented to monitor high-risk areas such as ports.

Earlier this year, MFish undertook public consultation on measures to control the cleaning of vessels and to prevent the discharge of fouling material back to the sea. The proposals would require all vessels (including recreational vessels) to be cleaned in facilities that are compliant with discharge requirements. MFish has analysed the submissions received and developed alternative policy options to address concerns with the original proposals.

Actions:

  • Consider a report on the outcome of the consultation process and recommended measures to mitigate risks associated with hull fouling and cleaning, by 30 September 2002.

Next 6 months

Ballast water

Ballast water is regarded as the highest risk pathway for introduction of marine pests into New Zealand waters. New Zealand is presently actively working to promote development of internationally consistent regulations on ballast water management through the International Maritime Organisation (IMO). A conference of parties is expected in 2003 at which agreement will be sought to details of such controls.

Actions:

  • Seek approval from Cabinet for New Zealand's negotiating position prior to IMO meetings in March and October 2003, and for subsequent meetings as they are held.

National Biosecurity Strategy

In November 2000, Government agreed that a national biosecurity strategy was required. The Minister for Biosecurity subsequently requested the Biosecurity Council to co-ordinate the preparation of a national strategy by December 2002.

A national biosecurity strategy provides opportunity to improve the focus and coordination of biosecurity in New Zealand. This could include determining a common mission and goals for agencies, putting processes in place to address competing demands for resources between biosecurity management activities, and improving compliance and support though heightened public awareness. Failure to produce a forward focused and strategic document will result in lost opportunity to improve biosecurity outcomes.

The draft strategy has, to date, been developed by way of public consultation and issue focus groups, followed by interdepartmental consideration of a first draft. Progress has been slow and challenging, with the Biosecurity Council deciding in June 2002 that the first draft needed substantial work prior to being released for public comment.

MFish will continue to be actively and constructively involved in developing the national strategy for biosecurity through Chief Executive involvement in the Biosecurity Council, its Sub-committee now overseeing the strategy's development, and direct involvement in working groups and any consultation processes decided upon.

Actions:

  • When completed, approve a draft biosecurity strategy and consultation process for Cabinet consideration.

Over the next 3 years

Undaria vector control plan

Undaria (Undaria pinnatifida or Japanese kelp) is a commonly known exotic marine species. Undaria is difficult to manage and there are conflicting views on its effect and potential value. A precautionary approach has therefore been taken. Resources have been allocated to a vector management programme. This programme aims to slow the spread of undaria around the mainland (through education) and reduce the chances of it reaching remote locations, such as the sub-Antarctic and Chatham Islands, through sector codes of practice.

The undaria vector management programme is funded until June 2003. At this point, the programme will be assessed through the MFish Biosecurity Risk Management Framework and a decision will need to be made by Cabinet about whether to allocate additional funds to continue the programme.

Actions:

Determine whether to seek further funding to continue the undaria vector control plan in June 2003.
Updated : 16 November 2007