3.2 Next 6 months
South Indian Ocean Fisheries Agreement
Officials from Southwest Indian Ocean coastal states and States that have fished in the high seas portion of the South Indian Ocean, including New Zealand, met for the third time in January 2004 to discuss the development of a regional fisheries management organisation for the South Indian Ocean. New Zealand companies helped develop the high seas fishery (largely for orange roughy) in the Southwest Indian Ocean in the late 1990s. New Zealand has been involved in negotiations since 1999 to establish a regional fisheries agreement to manage these deep-sea resources.
Considerable progress was made at the January consultation towards meeting New Zealand’s objectives for a cost-effective high seas management framework in the medium term within which we can secure continued access to the deep-sea fisheries for New Zealand operators.
The interests of developing coastal states for cooperation in relation to fisheries within Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) jurisdictions in Southwest Indian Ocean is to be progressed separately within a fisheries body to be established under the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO). Management of high seas fisheries, including straddling fish stocks, will be addressed via establishment of a legal framework outside the FAO. The next session of consultation is expected to occur before July 2004. Mfish has offered to consider provision of funding assistance to ensure that the next session occurs within this timeframe.
CCAMLR and Antarctic Fishing
The Convention for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) has the aim of conservation, including rational use, of Antarctic marine living resources. New Zealand is party to 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 of Antarctic for the past seven seasons. In 2002, the Ross Sea toothfish fishery was worth NZ$17 million to New Zealand in export earnings.
In May 2002, Cabinet agreed on a framework for New Zealand participation in CCAMLR fisheries. In July 2004 officials will report back to Cabinet on progress against the 2002 Cabinet decision and will request further refinement of that decision.
In October 2004, Mfish (and MFAT) officials will attend the annual CCAMLR meeting during which conservation and management measures will be agreed on for the following year. The Minister of Fisheries will be required to approve New Zealand’s negotiating position for that meeting. In addition, the Minister of Fisheries will be required to make permitting decisions under the Antarctic Marine Living Resources Act 1981 in late November to determine which New Zealand vessels will fish in Antarctica during the 2004- 05 season.
Consider a paper in July 2004 reporting to Cabinet on progress made against the 2002 Ross Sea and Southern Ocean Review Cabinet decisions.
By July approve a paper requesting Cabinet decision on future New Zealand fishing activities and marine protection in the Ross Sea.
By July decide on the extent of involvement in CCAMLR fisheries by NZ flagged vessels in the 2004-05 fishing season (in conjunction with Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade).
By October approve (in conjunction with the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade) New Zealand’s negotiating position for the meeting of the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources.
By November 2004 decide on Antarctic Marine Living Resources Act fishing permits.
Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) Fishing
IUU fishing is a significant problem in global fisheries, both on the high seas and within national jurisdictions. IUU fishing undermines efforts to conserve and manage fish stocks sustainably, and because it is unregulated, can have detrimental effects on bycatch species such as seabirds, and the environment. New Zealand is actively working through a number of organisations to address IUU fishing. These include international organisations such as the UN Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) and the OECD, and regional organisations such as the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) and the Commission for the Conservation of Southern Bluefin Tuna.
New Zealand is developing a National Plan of Action to address IUU fishing. The Plan of Action is being developed within the framework of the FAO International Plan of Action to prevent, deter and eliminate IUU fishing and will be completed by June 2004. Since 2003, the previous Minister of Fisheries was working as part of a Ministerial taskforce to address IUU fishing.
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 middle of 2004.
Consultation with stakeholders and other agencies will commence after Mfish has received the Minister’s confirmation of the approach.
Annual trans-Tasman fisheries discussions will be held in July in New Zealand. These discussions deal with cooperation with Australia on matters of mutual interest. Key issues this year will be protecting biodiversity in the Tasman high seas and aligning our positions on IUU fishing (discussed above).
The protection of high seas marine biodiversity has received much international attention, including within multi-lateral environmental for a such as the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and various other United National processes. The focus has to a large extent been on the impacts of fishing on biodiversity, in particular bottom trawling over seamounts.
There have been strong calls from some NGOs to prohibit bottom trawling and for the establishment of marine protected areas (MPAs) on the high seas.
New Zealand and Australian officials have discussed options for biodiversity protection in the Tasman Sea for a number of years, including in high seas areas. Although there is currently no specific legal mechanism for establishing high seas MPAs, there are some options available, at least on a bi-lateral basis. Momentum to pursue this work has followed on from the CBD Conference of Parties in February 2004.
Strategy to Manage the Environmental Effects of Fishing
Mfish is currently completing a strategy to manage the environmental effects of fishing for New Zealand fisheries. 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 areas closed to particular fishing methods, 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 Strategy for Managing the Environmental Effects of Fishing 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.
To date a draft strategy has been produced and circulated for consultation. We have received responses from a wide range of stakeholders and expect to develop a final draft for your consideration in May 2004 and subsequent release in June 2004. Implementation of the strategy will require an extensive work programme, including undertaking species threat assessments for a range of species that may be adversely affected by fishing and developing a range of environmental standards.
Deemed Values entitlement review
Deemed values are an important part of the quota management system's balancing regime.
The balancing regime is the range of civil and criminal incentives that act to constrain commercial catch to the sustainability measures set under the Fisheries Act 1996. The regime acts on individual fishers to ensure catch is covered by annual catch entitlement (ACE) and monthly and annual balancing dates. ACE is generated once each year by quota shares of the total allowable commercial catch (TACC).
If a fisher catches an amount of fish in excess of his or her ACE, then he or she must pay a deemed value. Deemed values are the primary deterrent to taking fish they do not cover with ACE. If deemed values are not paid, a fisher's permit is suspended and fishing without a valid permit is a criminal offence. Deemed values are treated as non-departmental Crown revenue.
Annual deemed value demands made by the Ministry over the last three years have trended from an average of $6–7 million per annum prior to 1 October 2001, to an average of $9-10 million per annum.
As part of the agreement on the cost recovery "unders and overs” issue (discussed above under Fisheries Act Amendment Bill (No 2) 2004), the Ministers of Fisheries, Conservation and Finance agreed a Crown-industry joint working group on deemed values be convened.
The working group is to look at the entitlement of rights holders to a proportion of revenues collected from deemed values.
Seafood Industry Council (SeaFIC) and Mfish have corresponded on the review and how it should be carried out. There are still points of disagreement that need to be resolved before the review can commence. The most prominent of these points relates to the involvement of other stakeholders in the review process.
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 to protect marine biodiversity. Marine protected areas can include a wide variety of environmental features such as reefs, seagrass beds, mudflats, seamounts, trenches and deep-water seabed. A range of management tools, including marine reserves, fisheries closures and restrictions and cable protection zones, could provide biodiversity protection.
A marine classification system will be used to identify the range of environment types, based on the best available scientific information. The precise location of each marine protected area and type of management tool used to provide the protection will need to be determined with input from all interested parties, and will involve consideration of biodiversity values.
Mfish and DoC are continuing to work on how social, cultural and economic matters should be incorporated into decision-making and how coordination is to be achieved nationally.
Implementation of the strategy will require improved coordination and integration of marine biodiversity protection actions taken by Mfish, DoC, tangata whenua, regional councils, and other parties. The draft strategy is being finalised for public consultation and is expected to be completed by the end of May 2004.
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.
Australia has informally notified DOC and Mfish that it will be proposing that great white shark be listed under CITES Appendix I. In addition, there is a current German proposal to list Porbeagle shark and spiny dogfish on Appendix II of CITES to be considered at CITES COP13 in October 2004 if it receives support from the European Union and range states.
Mfish and MFAT officials will consider the implications of a CITES listing for great white shark, Porbeagle shark and spiny dogfish prior to the next CITES meeting. Officials will provide advice to Ministers in a joint briefing paper to be put forward before the October CITES conference.
The Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS) is an international agreement with the aim to conserve terrestrial, marine and avian migratory species throughout their range. The conservation of migratory species is regulated through CMS by listing species on one of two appendices, each of which provides varying degrees of protection and obligations on range states to negotiate international agreements for their conservation and management.
Great white shark has been listed on Appendix I of the CMS, which requires range states to prohibit the taking (hunting/fishing) of listed species. Mfish is currently producing a paper on the management options for prohibited fish species.
Māori Fisheries Bill
The Treaty of Waitangi Fisheries Commission (Commission) is charged with preparing a proposal for the allocation of fisheries settlement assets to all Māori. The Minister of Fisheries is responsible for assessing the proposal for conformity to the provisions of the Fisheries Deed of Settlement, the Māori Fisheries Act 1989 and the findings of various Courts on those documents. The Minister is then responsible for bringing forward a government Bill to give effect to the proposal that was approved.
On 6 June 2003, the Government accepted that the Commission’s proposal met the requirements. A government Bill was then prepared to give effect to the agreed model. On 13 December 2003, Cabinet approved the introduction of the Māori Fisheries Bill to Parliament. The Bill was referred to the Fisheries and Other Sea-Related Legislation Select Committee, with a report back date of 30 June 2004. The Select Committee will commence hearing submissions after 16 March 2004.
Key aspects of the allocation model, contained in the Bill, are:
! recognition of 58 iwi or iwi groups as the beneficiaries of the Fisheries Settlement. Two of these - Hauraki and Te Arawa - comprise groups of 12 and 10 iwi respectively that are to be treated as single iwi for the purposes of allocating Settlement assets and benefits ! disposition of three classes of assets: quota, cash, and company shares. All Settlement quota will be allocated to iwi. Cash will be used for transitional functions, establishment of trusts, and temporary financing, with net cash assets eventually going to iwi. Company shares - approximately half of all Settlement assets - will be retained in a new holding company, Aotearoa Fisheries Limited (AFL), in trust for iwi ! allocation of all Settlement fisheries quota to recognised iwi by formulae based on population, coastline length, and a scheme for classification of quota according to where the fish is caught
Establishment of a new organisation, TOKM, to replace the Commission and carry the allocation of Settlement assets and other aspects of the scheme forward.
establishment of two further trusts administered by TOKM:
Te Putea Whakatupu Trust to provide funding to Māori for education, training and research in relation to Māori involvement in the business and activity of fishing and fisheries
establishment of a commercial asset holding company, AFL, to manage the commercial company assets currently held by the Commission, with separate income and voting shares. All voting shares and 20% of income shares will be held by TOKM in trust for iwi. The remaining 80% of income shares will be distributed to iwi on the basis of population.
The Māori Fisheries Bill is the culmination of a process to settle Māori claims to commercial fishing. The settlement created a unique situation, in that it is the responsibility of the Commission to bring forward an allocation model, and the responsibility of the government, once the model is accepted, to enact the agreed model. The Select Committee will also need to take into account these circumstances and have regard to the fact that this legislation will implement a Treaty Settlement commitment.
In addition, the Fisheries Deed of Settlement provides that any iwi with an interest in the Bill can request the government to recommend to Parliament that the Bill be referred to the Waitangi Tribunal for review. The Attorney-General had indicated that the government must make a recommendation to parliament if so requested.
Officials will be providing advice to the Committee on the rationale for the Bill, including its place in the Treaty settlement process, and on submissions on the Bill from the public.
Mfish is developing a Treaty Strategy, which sets out how the Ministry will deliver on its obligations arising from the 1992 Treaty of Waitangi (Fisheries Claims) Settlement Act and comply with 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. The Strategy seeks to encourage iwi and hapü to think about their commercial and non-commercial fisheries interests in a holistic and strategic manner.
The Treaty Strategy signals the intent to establish regional fisheries forums, which will provide a regular focus point where hapu and iwi representatives can meet to discuss fisheries matters and to provide an opportunity for tangata whenua to have input to fisheries management processes. Mfish Treaty relationship facilitators will work with each region.
Their role will be to manage the Mfish / tangata whenua relationship at the regional level, to establish and organise the regional forums, and progress the implementation of the customary fishing regulations. Other components of the Treaty Strategy include the establishment of a high-level reference group to provide advice and feedback to the Mfish Executive Team on Treaty issues.
To date, Mfish has consulted iwi and hapu across more than half of New Zealand on the Treaty Strategy; the overall feedback has been supportive of the proposed approach. Hui are yet to be held in a number of regions; but consultation is expected to be completed by the end of June 2005. It is intended that implementation be phased out, as Mfish does not have the capacity to rollout the proposed model of engagement to all regions at this time. Mfish has developed a budget bid to enable it to fully implement the Treaty Strategy. However, implementation is underway using existing resources.
It is expected that the high level Treaty Strategy document will be finalised by May 2004.
Work will continue on the implementation planning and roll out of the Strategy.
Sea Lion Plan
Mfish will be providing you with a plan to manage the interaction between New Zealand sea lions and the squid trawl fishery around the Auckland and Campbell Islands (SQU6T). The plan will be provided to you by 15 September 2004. A plan is currently in place for the 2003- 04 season, and similar plans have been utilised over the past several years.
The plan seeks your agreement to setting a maximum allowable level of fishing related sea lion 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.
The sea lion operational plan has been the focus of High Court proceedings initiated by the fishing industry during the past two seasons. These proceedings concern your ability under the Act to set a MALFRM, the advice you receive from Mfish concerning this limit, and allowances for bycatch mitigation that you consider as a part of the plan.
Local Management Issues
There are three areas of the country where stakeholders and local government agencies have expressed interest in the management of local fisheries.
Fiordland Marine Conservation Strategy:
The Fiordland Marine Conservation Strategy (the Strategy) was produced by the Guardians of Fiordland (the Guardians) to provide an integrated approach to the management of Fiordland's marine resources. The Strategy has been endorsed by the Hon Pete Hodgson and the Hon Marion Hobbs (Minister for the Environment). Mfish was directed by Cabinet to work with other government and regional agencies (including DoC, MfE and Environment Southland) and the Guardians to identify the best means for implementing the Strategy. MFE is co-ordinating this work, and a Cabinet paper outlining the options for implementing the Strategy by September 2005 will be submitted by late April 2004. Prior to submission of the Cabinet paper Mfish will provide the Minister for Fisheries with a briefing on the options for implementation of the strategy.
The Kaipara Harbour Sustainable Fisheries Management Study Group has produced a draft strategy, titled Fishing for the Future, for the management of fisheries in the Kaipara Harbour. Mfish has provided comments to the Group on the Strategy. The Group has yet to submit the Strategy to Mfish for formal appraisal. In January 2004 Mfish provided a briefing to the former Minister of Fisheries on the Strategy.
Marlborough Sounds Fisheries Management Working Group (MSFMWG):
MSFMWG was established to develop the aspirations expressed by those who attended a two-day hui in October 2002 on the Future Management of Coastal Marine Areas in the Marlborough Sounds, which was jointly sponsored by the Marlborough District Council and the Nelson/Marlborough Conservation Board. MSFMWG continues to form as a group, with working party meetings throughout 2003. MSFMWG has developed objectives and is considering the development of a fisheries management plan.
Establishment of marine reserves by the Minister of Conservation requires the concurrence of the Minister of Fisheries. Mfish is currently processing three marine reserve concurrence requests, which include:
Make a decision on concurrence for Paraninihi marine reserve, based on the concurrence report to be provided in April/May.
Make decisions on concurrence for the Glenduan and Taputerangi marine reserves, once the concurrence reports are completed.
Highly Migratory Species
New Zealand’s domestic tuna fishery is worth about $32 million per annum and comprises a troll fishery for albacore, a longline fishery for southern bluefin, Pacific bluefin, bigeye, yellowfin, and albacore tunas, and a small purse seine fishery for skipjack tuna. New Zealand vessels also fish for tuna in high seas areas and, through arrangements with other governments, in the fishery management zones of some Pacific Island Nations. Unlike other major New Zealand domestic fisheries, tuna fisheries have been open access. New Zealand domestic tuna fisheries are constrained by the availability of tuna in New Zealand fisheries waters and the longline fishery in particular has been characterised by overcapacity and poor economic returns. Following a recent review of management options the then Minister decided, in principle, that New Zealand tuna fisheries will be managed using Individual Transferable Quotas (ITQs). ITQ management will initially apply to all major tuna species within New Zealand fisheries waters and for tuna species taken by New Zealand fishers outside New Zealand fisheries waters where a national allocation is agreed through the relevant Regional Fisheries Management Organisation. TACs will reflect agreed national allocations. Where national allocations have not been set, it is proposed that TACs will be set so as not to constrain fishing unduly, while ensuring sustainability of the stocks.
Four tuna species - southern bluefin tuna, Pacific bluefin, bigeye, and yellowfin - are in the process of being brought into the QMS on 1 October 2004. Catch history qualifying years for these species have been set and Mfish is currently consulting on proposed TACCs. A final decision on whether to bring albacore and skipjack tunas into the QMS on 1 October 2005 will be required by about July 2004. There are differences of opinion among permit holders as to the appropriate catch history qualifying years for these species, with most fishers preferring years that would maximise their own quota allocation.
The Fisheries Act currently does not provide for tuna species taken outside New Zealand fisheries waters (other than southern bluefin tuna) to be managed in the QMS. The Fisheries Amendment Bill No.3 contains provisions that would extend the coverage of the QMS to allow these species to be managed in the QMS in all areas.
Determine, by July 2004, whether to bring skipjack and albacore tunas into the QMS on 1 October 2005, and the related catch history qualifying years.
The Fisheries (Kaimoana Customary Fishing) Regulations 1998 and the Fisheries (South Island Customary Fishing) Regulations 1999 provide for the establishment of mätaitai reserves. There are two mätaitai reserves established on the South Island (Rapaki and Koukourarata). Mfish has seven current applications for mätaitai reserves at various stages in the process: Moremore (Hawke Bay); Waitutu (south coast of South Island); Patterson Inlet (Stewart Island); Raukokore (East Cape); Moeraki (between Dunedin and Omaru); Tamaitemioka Titi Moutere (south west of Stewart Island); Mataura River (Gore); D’Urville Island (Marlborough). Four of the applications will require action in the near term:
Consider the final advice on the Moremore mätaitai reserve application available in April/May.
Consider the final advice on the Waitutu mätaitai reserve application available in April/May.
Consider the final advice on the Patterson Inlet mätaitai reserve application available in May.
Consider the final advice on the Raukokore mätaitai reserve application available in May/June.
Temporary closures under s186A
Temporary closures for up to two years are provided for as part of the customary management framework under the Fisheries Act 1996. Currently there are four temporary closures at Western Coromandel (Ngarimu to Wilsons Bay), Pukerua Bay, Hicks Bay and Wakutu Quay (Kaikoura). A request has been made to reactivate a temporary closure application at Porangahau (Hawke's Bay). Mfish will be preparing an advice paper on the renewal of the closure at Western Coromandel, which expires June 2004.
Introduction of new species to 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. As at 1 October 2003, 62 species were managed within the QMS. By 1 October 2004 at least 95 species will be managed within the QMS.
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 Māori under the Deed of Settlement. The Deed of Settlement obliges the Crown to allocate 20 % of all individual transferable quota resulting from QMS introductions to Māori (via Te Ohu Kai Moana).
The QMS introduction process requires a series of consultation documents and final advice to the Minister. As with all allocation processes, this will be contentious with interested industry parties. 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.
The previous Minister has approved 19 species for introduction on 1 October 2004. Mfish is currently consulting with stakeholders on sustainability measures and other management controls for these stocks that will apply under the new QMS. Final advice incorporating analysis of stakeholder submissions will be submitted to you in mid-May for 15 of these species.
A separate consultation process on sustainability measures and management controls for North Island eels, spiny dogfish, green lip mussels and kahawai has been developed because stakeholder interest is highest in proposals for management of these species. Final advice on these species will be submitted to you in late May 2004.
It is intended that the process of introduction of stocks into the QMS will be ongoing. A further group of species are proposed for introduction on 1 October 2005. Initial analysis has identified 10 species for introduction. Mfish is currently determining available resources to ascertain whether more species could be introduced on this date. A meeting with you to discuss the species proposed for introduction is set down for 19 May 2004.
By 4 June 2004 set the TAC and TACC for 15 species entering the QMS on 1 October 2004.
By 18 June 2004 set the TAC and TACC for the remaining four species entering the QMS on 1 October 2004.
Recommend consequential regulations supporting the entry of species in October 2004.
Sustainability and management controls for the October 2004/05
fishing year A review of sustainability and management controls is to be undertaken for stocks with urgent sustainability or utilisation concerns whose fishing year commences on 1 October 2004. You will need to determine your initial position on these sustainability measures in June and your final decision, following consultation with stakeholders, in September 2004.
It is likely that the TAC for hoki will be reviewed as part of this package. Initial indications from the stock assessment suggest that a significant reduction to the TAC may be required in order to ensure sustainability. The hoki fishery is New Zealand biggest wet fish fishery. A significant reduction will result in socio-economic impacts to the commercial sector.
Proposals for the Adaptive Management Programme for 2004 are under development. The Adaptive Management Programme provides a framework under which TACs can be increased in the absence of a stock assessment. Special reporting and monitoring requirements - designed to improve information - should lower the risk of increased catch in a fishery. Mfish is currently finalising initial proposals for management of the following stocks –school shark (SCH 3, 5, 7 and 8), elephant fish 5 (ELE 5), bluenose (BNS 2), gurnard (GUR 7), john dory (JDO 7), ghost shark (GSP 1 and 5). Mfish will consult with stakeholders on proposals and submit advice containing recommendations to you on or about 11 June 2004.
Decide on sustainability measures and management controls for 2004 Adpative Management Programme stocks by late June 2004.
Decide on sustainability measures and management controls for stocks with a 1 October fishing year in September 2004.
Mfish is currently responsible for allocating rights for aquaculture in the form of marine farming permits, and fresh water fish farm licences and managing the ongoing aquaculture rights.
Mfish has 215 marine farming or spat catching permit applications under the current aquaculture legislation in process. Some applications date back to 1998, but the majority (86%) are from 2001-2003. This backlog arose due to two factors. There was a sudden demand for water space as the economic returns from marine farming increased, and coastal plan development by regional councils progressed. Secondly, as marine farming reached increasing densities, particularly in the Marlborough Sounds (where 90% of the applications originate), there was need for better scientific information in support of applications to assess impacts on fisheries resources. Applicants have been slow obtaining additional research. In 2003 marine farmers in the Sounds began a collective approach to providing research on a regional basis. Mfish is waiting for the results of that research. Meanwhile, applications outside the Marlborough Sounds are receiving attention, such as the 2465 ha application in Hawke Bay.
Mfish is responsible for the management of marine farming leases, licenses under the Marine Farming Act 1971 and marine farming permits under the residual Fisheries Act 1983. This includes the maintenance of the marine farming register and processing of transfers, sub-leases, extensions of term and mortgages (as well as others). The Aquaculture reform process will consolidate these existing rights under the Resource Management Act (RMA).
Mfish allocates rights to farm species in any location above mean high water (including salt water) through Fresh Water Fish farming permits. There are approximately 120 farms nationwide.
Maui and Hector’s dolphins
The interaction of fishing with Maui’s and Hector’s dolphins is an on-going issue.
West Coast North Island:
Maui dolphins are listed as critically endangered, and probably number less than 150 individuals. In 2003, a large part of the west coast of the North Island (out to 4 nautical miles) was closed, by regulation, to both commercial and recreational set netting. Current initiatives involve gathering further information regarding the distribution of Maui dolphins, particularly in offshore areas to assess their possible interaction with trawling, and their distribution within harbours. Mfish and World Wide Fund for Nature have jointly funded aerial surveys, and results are due towards the end of 2004.
West Coast South Island:
The largest sub-population of Hector’s dolphin is found on the west coast of the South Island. The last census suggests that this population consists of about 5400 animals and that there are no real concerns about the status of this population. 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.
The Fisheries Act 1996 sets out the obligations that relate to management of fisheries and the effects of fishing on the aquatic environment. There is currently no express statement of how those obligations are given effect to in a particular fishery. Nor is there any system that enables an assessment of whether or not current practice meets obligations.
The means by which Mfish has decided to implement the obligations of the Fisheries Act is by developing standards. The use of standards is an increasingly common practice in environmental management, for example, air and water quality. However, in the marine environment the task is more problematic given the complexity of the system and the difficulties involved in obtaining complete and accurate information.
The standards that are developed for fisheries will be in the form of performance and process measures. In a performance context standards are a mechanism for establishing and implementing limits and targets. Process standards are how management is undertaken – for example consultation, monitoring and auditing. The standards themselves will relate to stock and environmental management, the allocation of rights, and governance arrangements.
Work on the development of fisheries standards is at a preliminary stage and will be on-going over the next several years. Mfish will discuss with you progress on the development of standards on a regular basis. Mfish proposes that you will approve the standards that are set, following a process of engagement with fisheries stakeholders.
Stock strategies will set out the Government’s objectives, standards, and procedures for managing each fishery or group of fisheries. Stock strategies will be expressed in a set of standards, rules, and supporting services tailored to individual fisheries. Strategies are designed to achieve the sustainability, utilisation, and related environmental objectives as expressed in the Fisheries Act and the Statement of Intent, under the broad incentive structure of the Quota Management System. A stock strategy will bring together the harvest plan, monitoring, research, enforcement, and other elements of fisheries management, and will show the links between these elements and allow Mfish to better prioritise its limited resources.
It is the intention of Mfish that initial stock strategies will be implemented for deepwater stocks by July 2004. The work on the deepwater stocks is being used as pilot case study for the development of standards and stock strategies. Mfish will provide advice to you on regulatory measures required to give effect to the individual stock strategies.
Stock strategies will make a substantive contribution towards achieving the Governments overall goal for fisheries management of maximising the value New Zealanders obtain through the sustainable use of fisheries resources and protection of the aquatic environment.
Stock strategies will be developed by Mfish. However, Mfish recognises that we are not well placed to decide precisely how to maximise value - because we don't have all the finescale knowledge and experience, and information about value available to stakeholders.
Mfish expects innovations to further increase value to be articulated by stakeholders in proposals for fisheries plans (discussed in the section on policy issues over the next 3 years).
Appointment of Kaitiaki
The Fisheries (Kaimoana Customary Fishing) Regulations 1998 and the Fisheries (South Island Customary Fishing) Regulations 1999 provide for the Minister, after due process has been followed, to confirm the appointment of Tangata Kaitiaki/Tiaki or Tangata Tiaki/Kaitiaki, respectively. Once confirmed, the Kaitiaki may authorise the taking of fisheries resources for customary food gathering from within a defined customary food gathering area/rohe moana.
Currently there are in excess of 100 Tangata Tiaki/Kaitiaki appointments in the South Island.
In the North Island there have been 68 appointments of individual Tangata Kaitiaki/Tiaki and a number of specific positions in a few organisations. Over the next six months Mfish expects further Tangata Kaitiaki/Tiaki to have their appointments confirmed by the Minister.
Further, Mfish expects a number of notifications will be advertised following obligatory timeframes that are set in the customary fishing regulations.
Service delivery Issues
Fishery Officer Health and Safety
Mfish has a responsibility under the Health and Safety in Employment Act 1992 to take all practical steps to ensure the safety of employees while at work. Hazards must be eliminated or isolated. In the event that a hazard cannot be eliminated or isolated, the employer must minimise the likelihood that the hazard will cause harm.
Fishery Officers represent the Crown and are responsible for enforcing fisheries legislation.
If required, they can exercise powers that may significantly impinge on the freedoms of individuals. If prosecuted, offenders may face significant penalties and the forfeiture of property.
In addition to the many health and safety risks associated with operating in the field, Fishery Officers face the risk of assault in the course of their day-to-day work. Most officers hold positions requiring a high level of interaction with the public and they may operate in isolated areas.
Mfish has reviewed the health and safety issues for Fishery Officers. Officials are particularly concerned about the risks of officers being assaulted and have taken a number of actions. The factors influencing the risk of assault are complex and no one option will adequately mitigate that risk. Consequently, the Mfish approach to the matter has been relatively broad. Actions have been taken to improve recruitment, operational policies, tactical options training, field communications, support for small stations, and equipment.
Mfish has also investigated what defensive equipment it could issue to Fishery Officers, including OC (pepper) spray and batons. Options available are constrained by the Crimes Act 1961 and Arms Act 1983. The view of Mfish is that without change to legislation, Fishery Officers cannot carry and use defensive tools such as pepper spray and batons.
Any decision to issue Fishery Officers with these sorts to tools needs to be well-considered.
Mfish is currently undertaking analysis that explores whether the Ministry can meet its obligations under the Health and Safety in Employment legislation in the absence of these tools.
The Chief Executive will shortly consider advice on the matter and make a decision on whether Mfish should seek the Minister’s approval to progress a change to the legislation.
TPK Agency Review
In October 2003 the Chief Executives of the Ministry of Fisheries and Te Puni Kokiri (TPK) signed-off the terms of reference for TPK to undertake an agency review of the Ministry of Fisheries during 2003-04. Agency reviews are carried out by the Sector Monitoring Group within TPK and focus on organisational capability and look at whether the agency under review has the resources, systems and processes it needs to operate effectively for Māori within the context of its own particular role and legislative needs. The review will therefore examine aspects of Mfish’s activity in the areas of commercial and customary fisheries management as they relate to the Crown’s fisheries obligations. Opportunities for further development of that capability will also be identified.
Information used in the review is being gathered via document analysis and interviews conducted with Mfish staff, Māori and fisheries stakeholders. This process will be completed during the first part of 2004 and a draft report provided by TPK in June. Officials will provide further briefings as this work develops.