The Fisheries Sector
The New Zealand fisheries sector comprises four major interest groups.
New Zealand's commercial fishing sector has built up over the last 30 years. Eight fishing companies provide 80 percent of production but there are a large number of medium and smaller, usually inshore, fishing operations. Export earnings amounted to $1.2 billion in 2004, of which some $200m was from aquaculture.
The New Zealand Seafood Industry Council (SeaFIC) provides overarching representation of the commercial sector. It promotes the interests of all fishing industry sectors by providing economic information and advice, co-ordinating industry resources, and enhancing the industry's profile in the community.
Currently, most commercial fisheries in New Zealand are represented by a Commercial Stakeholder Organisation (CSO). By working together, the Ministry and CSOs ensure stakeholder views are represented in New Zealand's fisheries resources management.
Māori have important rights as tangata whenua. The 1992 Deed of Settlement provided Māori with a substantial stake in commercial fishing. It provided for customary non-commercial fishing to be managed by tangata whenua and established rights for tangata whenua to have input and participation into sustainability processes. In 2004, Parliament approved the distribution to iwi of substantial fisheries assets and this is now being implemented by Te Ohu Kai Moana.
The exercise of non-commercial fishing rights is important to tangata whenua. There is an obligation on the Crown to consult about those rights and to develop policies to help recognise their use and management practices.
Along with the practice of gathering customary food, the places where Māori gather it are special to tangata whenua. This is recognised under the customary fishing regulations, which provide for mātaitai reserves to be established. These are traditional fishing grounds and areas of significance to tangata whenua. All noncommercial fishing in reserves is managed, through bylaws, by Kaitiaki.
Around 20 percent of New Zealanders exercise their right to go fishing in the sea for personal use. This public right is subject to restrictions under the recreational fishing regulations, which include daily bag limits and a range of method restrictions, size limits and seasonal closures. Recreational rights are not well defined and there is no single representative body that covers all recreational fishers.
The Ministry interacts with a number of environmental groups with strong interests in the sustainability of fisheries and the effect of fishing on the environment at a national and regional level and their contribution is valued.
New Zealand operates in a global environment.
In recent years, the New Zealand commercial fishing companies have maximised the value gained from fishing in the EEZ and are looking for new opportunities to harvest, process and distribute seafood offshore. Harvesting activity in both the high seas and within the EEZs of other countries has a number of associated risks and opportunities. Poor governance frameworks and high levels of illegal, unregulated, unreported fishing occur in many regions. Opportunities exist to work in joint venture arrangements with key Southern Hemisphere countries to gain efficiencies in processing, distribution and marketing operations.
The Ministry works with other states and international agencies at a number of levels:
a) Multi-laterally through such organisations as the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization and World Trade Organization on issues of international fisheries governance, to develop international frameworks and rules for managing sustainability and market access.
b) Regionally through Regional Fisheries Management Organisations (eg CCAMLR, CCSBT and WCPFC), and including developing a new high seas arrangement in the South Pacific to manage deep sea species.
c) Bi-laterally with individual countries on issues such as co-operation and trade agreements (eg Argentina, Chile, South Africa and Australia).