External service providers
In 1999 the Fisheries Act 1996 was amended to enable more flexible delivery of fisheries management services. In October 2001, the Fisheries Act 1996 was fully commenced, bringing in major changes to the nature of some services and the method by which they are delivered. Many registry-based services are now devolved to SeaFIC as an approved service delivery organisation (ASDO) or provided under contract through FishServe as the service delivery agency (SDA). The Minister sets standards and specifications for devolved services, while the Chief Executive sets standards and specifications for contracted services.
Once functions, duties and powers are transferred to an ASDO the specific related services become the sole responsibility of the ASDO to deliver. Failure to comply with the statute and standards and specifications can lead to civil sanctions being imposed on the ASDO.
Functions, duties and powers that remain the responsibility of the Chief Executive can be delivered by the Ministry or by a SDA under a contract. In respect of fisheries research services, a fully contestable contracting process was introduced from 1 July 1997.
The two principal external service providers are FishServe and NIWA. The Ministry also has contracts with other providers for research services.
Cawthron Institute is a private, independent, not-for-profit research centre based in Nelson. The Institute provides a wide range of basic research and specialist scientific advice for commercial clients. Specialist fields include aquaculture of shellfish and seaweeds, biosecurity issues, marine and freshwater science, and analytical chemistry and microbiology.
SeaFIC was appointed the ASDO for delivery of registry-based services and statutory functions were transferred to it on 1 October 2001. Since then, Commercial Fisheries Services Limited, a wholly owned subsidiary of SeaFIC, assumed responsibility for delivery of registry services and the Ministry ceased to be involved directly in the delivery of services. Commercial Fisheries Services operates under the brand name 'FishServe'.
Functions, duties and powers devolved to SeaFIC include:
- • registering clients and vessels
- licensing fish receivers
- issuing catch return books (excluding catch effort returns), returns management processes including electronic data transfer for statutory reporting (excluding catch effort)
- processing quota and ACE transactions, including mortgages and caveats
- catch balancing.
In addition to performance of devolved services, FishServe provides services under contract to the Ministry as a SDA. Functions, duties and powers contracted to FishServe include:
• delivery of catch effort services, including issuing return books and the returns management process
• issuing fishing permits • registering foreign owned vessels, charter vessels, and fish carriers • monitoring catch limits • delivery of revenue services, including invoicing, receiving and debt management of cost recovery and deemed values.
Research projects are let through a contestable tendering process where tenders are evaluated through an earned value basis, combining aspects of both quality and cost. Most contracts for fisheries research, in what is still a relatively 'thin' market, have been awarded to the National Institute for Water and Atmospheric Research Ltd (NIWA).
Aside from its research activities, NIWA also maintains, on behalf of the Ministry, the research databases and other research information.