Utilisation and Sustainability of New Zealand's Fisheries Resources Measured
Services to be provided
As an input into current and future fisheries management decisions, fisheries research needs are identified, projects undertaken and results reported to provide scientific information on:
- estimates of biomass and sustainable yields for fish stocks
- effects of fishing on the aquatic environment, including biodiversity and bycatch species
- relevant social, cultural and economic factors that may be included in the management decision process
- non-commercial harvest levels.
In addition, in order to implement the New Zealand Biodiversity Strategy and support the environmental principles set out in section 9 of the Fisheries Act 1996, the Ministry has a number of research programmes in place to generate high quality baseline information. These programmes aim to improve our ability to:
- protect the richness and health of the marine biodiversity of New Zealand and the Ross Sea region
- ascertain the role of different organisms and habitats in maintaining the health and sustainability of our aquatic environment
- contribute to required information to set environmental standards under the Strategy to Manage the Environmental Effects of Fishing (SMEEF).
The Ministry contributes to the maintenance of sustainable fisheries in New Zealand through research designed to increase information on stock status levels, and add to the body of knowledge used to advise the Minister of Fisheries on appropriate utilisation for future years. Research is undertaken on individual fisheries at a frequency necessary to monitor whether or not fisheries are decreasing as a result of overfishing, and to enable the Ministry to maintain the currency of the information.
This output also includes the costs associated with the capacity required to maintain the fisheries research programme. No overheads are applied to contracted services, although the overhead costs related to maintaining the programme are apportioned over direct costs.
Medium term research plans for fisheries groups, aquatic environment issues and biodiversity are reviewed and updated annually in consultation with stakeholders and form the framework for ongoing or new research requirements. Currently there are 13 Research Planning Groups which meet periodically, but primarily in the July-September period, to write project proposals and plan and prioritise research needs based on the medium term research plans and other relevant documents. A Research Coordinating Committee conducts an overall prioritisation process during a 2-day meeting in early to mid October.
Stakeholders submit written comments based on the output from the RCC and the Ministry takes account of the comments and provides written responses. New results from the research programme are presented annually to a number of Ministry-led working groups that convene to assess a range of fishstocks, environmental effects of fishing and biodiversity issues. Relevant results are used in providing advice to the Minister regarding sustainable yields from fish stocks, and the technical details for each fishery are summarised in working group reports that are published annually in Fishery Assessment Plenary documents.
The effects of fishing on the environment are largely addressed through the Aquatic Environment Working Group, but there is overlap with the biodiversity research programme and research programmes of other government agencies. Environmental research findings are reviewed and assessed by this working group. The Ministry is in the process of developing an aquatic environment assessment plenary document summarising the relevant issues, the current state of knowledge about the issues and progress that has been made assessing and mitigating environmental effects of fishing.
Biodiversity research programmes are carefully designed to progress our ability to identify key species, key communities and key habitats that contribute to the value of maintaining a rich and diverse marine environment and to identify essential components without which the marine environment could not continue to sustain productivity. This work has implications for the overall health of the aquatic environment and the long-term sustainability of our fisheries.
For 2007/08, the Ministry will continue the approach adopted in 2006/07 and classify research projects into two categories with the intention of more fully utilising the research appropriation. Tier 1 projects are those that can be accommodated within the approved funding levels. Tier 2 projects will only be undertaken where Tier 1 projects are withdrawn/cancelled, and after consultation on the cost recovery levies. Recovery of costs through levies will only be applied to those projects that are actually undertaken. Any Tier 2 project that remains outside the approved funding levels will not be cost recovered.
The current full time staff complement necessary to undertake this work is 17 scientists with either stock assessment or environmental assessment expertise. In 2007/08, an estimated 37,000 hours of Ministry resource will be used to produce the services listed above.
There is also a team of 9 in the Research Data Management Group. This group ensures that the Ministry's scientific data is collected, processed, archived and made available to support management decisions. Research Data Management is responsible for the Ministry's geospatial data, including the National Aquatic Biodiversity Information System (NABIS) web site.
- Update medium-term research plans for all fisheries groups with October-September fishing years, for the aquatic environment, (except Antarctic fisheries) and for biodiversity, in accordance with defined quality standards, by 31 October 2007.
- Finalise the development of new research project proposals for fisheries and the aquatic environment for 2008/09 and produce the draft annual Fisheries Research Services plan in accordance with defined quality standards, by 30 November 2007.
- Produce a report from the mid-year fishery assessment plenary in accordance with defined quality standards, by 30 November 2007.
- Provide written responses to stakeholder submissions on the draft annual Fisheries Research Services for 2008/09, by 15 December 2007.
- Enhance the NABIS website to allow users to retrieve the underlying electronic data that describes maps (provide a web mapping service) and allow users to use NABIS as a portal to query five of the biodiversity databases owned by the Ministry but located at National Institute for Water and Atmospheric Research Ltd (NIWA), by 31 March 2008.
- Update the Antarctic medium-term research plan in accordance with defined quality standards, by 31 May 2008.
- Produce research proposals for biodiversity projects for 2008/09 in accordance with defined quality standards, by 31 May 2008.
- Complete the review of stock status for all newly assessed stocks and produce a report from the fishery assessment plenary in accordance with defined quality standards, by 31 May 2008.
- Produce a draft aquatic environment assessment plenary document in accordance with defined quality standards, by 30 June 2008.
- Complete the external audit of three current research projects, by 30 June 2008.
- Complete the tender evaluation, contract award and monitoring of new research projects for the 2007/08 financial year, by 30 June 2008.
- Review and provide quality assurance for all final research reports submitted by research providers for research projects completed prior to 30 April 2008, by 30 June 2008.
The quality standards adopted for measures 1, 2, 6 and 7 above are those defined in the document ‘Format and Content of Medium Term Research Plans and Project Summaries Proposed by the Research Planning Groups', dated 30 July 2006).
The quality standards adopted for measures 3, 8 and 9 above are those defined in the Fisheries Research Services 2003/2004 Tender Document: Part II: A - Appendix II B, Form 2).
A brief commentary on these can be found on pages 66 of this document. For a fuller description, readers are referred to the Ministry web site www.fish.govt.nz.
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|Percentage to be recovered from industry