THE MINISTRY'S CONTRIBUTION
A new approach to fisheries management The next few years will see a major change in the way New Zealand's fisheries are managed.
Traditionally, the government - through the Ministry - has had sole responsibility for fisheries management. Times have changed. We understand it is appropriate for all those with an interest in our aquatic environment to play a greater role in managing our fisheries. The changes we are putting in place will formalise and encourage this way of working.
Over time, the Ministry will focus more on the policy role, including the setting and monitoring of specifications and standards.
The Ministry will not necessarily deliver all the services needed to achieve a given outcome in a particular fishery. But all services that are delivered will need to meet the specifications and standards.
Why manage fisheries?
New Zealand's aquatic environment is a limited resource of enormous value to all New Zealanders - now and in the future.
If fisheries are not well managed, there is little incentive for people to think of future generations or consider damage they may be doing to the environment.
Unmanaged or poorly managed fisheries can fail quickly and dramatically. History records many examples of overfished and uneconomic fisheries resulting from a lack of effective management. In short, fisheries need to be managed in order to maintain their value.
How do we manage fisheries now?
The Ministry's role
The Ministry has lead responsibility for ensuring our fisheries are managed well and biosecurity frameworks are implemented. The Ministry's role and responsibility is embedded in our mission or purpose which is expressed by our Māori name - Te Tautiaki i nga tini a Tangaroa - which means 'the guardian of the multitudes of Tangaroa'.
The goal we are working to is to ensure the value New Zealanders obtain from the sustainable use of fisheries resources is maximised and the aquatic environment is protected.
The Ministry has three strategies to achieve its goal. These are to:
- Protect the health of the aquatic environment.
- Enable people to get the best value from the sustainable and efficient use of fisheries.
- Ensure the Crown delivers on its obligations to Māori with respect to fisheries.
These strategies play a fundamental role in the Ministry's developing approach to managing fisheries. The duty to sustain fisheries and protect the aquatic environment is not the Ministry's alone. Our role is to work with all stakeholders and relevant agencies to protect this taonga for present and future generations. This includes all those who derive value from the aquatic environment, including recreational, customary and commercial fishers. We see our role as enabling those who utilise fisheries resources to get the best value from those resources.
A key way of ensuring the best value can be obtained from fisheries resources is to provide clear rights of access to customary Ma-ori, recreational and commercial fishers.
The access right is accompanied by rules and controls designed to ensure fish are harvested sustainably and the aquatic environment is protected. The Ministry enforces the rules and controls specified in law.
In New Zealand, we can all go fishing, but it means we have to play by the rules. As a recreational fisher we may be required to stay within a certain daily bag limit and only take fish over a certain size or in certain areas. Customary Māori fishing rights are provided for by the establishment of ma-taitai and taiapure/local fisheries, and the appointment of kaitiaki who authorise and manage customary harvest.
Access rights for commercial fishers are provided in the form of a fishing permit and defined by way of Individual Transferable Quota (ITQ). Each year, the Minister of Fisheries sets the amount of each species that can be caught. Within that total, an allocation is made for customary harvest, recreational and commercial fishers.
ITQ represents an asset of present and future value. Quota owners therefore have a direct financial interest in maintaining the health of the fishery long term. Just as it is in the interests of a homeowner to keep their property in good shape, so does a quota owner have an incentive to maintain the value of their asset into the future.
There are, of course, costs associated with managing fisheries. Most of the costs of government management and administration of commercial fisheries are recovered from the commercial fishing sector through cost recovery levies.
What needs to change?
New Zealand's fisheries management system has evolved significantly over the last 20 years. It is recognised as world leading by many fisheries authorities overseas. We have a unique system of tradeable rights for commercial stakeholders. The QMS limits commercial catches to sustainable levels and helps improve the quality of recreational and customary fishing by preventing the depletion of fish stocks.
There are, however, opportunities to improve what we do now. We need to take our fisheries management system to the next level.
We need to improve the opportunities for those who utilise fisheries resources to contribute to and participate in the management of our fisheries.
Improvements to the management of our fisheries could occur by:
- providing fewer method/area controls to enable more efficient utilisation
- enabling fishers to use innovative ways to achieve necessary standards
- addressing delays in implementing mechanisms that provide for Fisheries Deed of Settlement obligations, including input and participation
- improving the protection of biological diversity and habitat of particular significance for fisheries management
- promoting better understanding and support for current frameworks.
The Ministry needs to continue to be accountable for its performance. In the past, the services the Ministry has delivered have been based on meeting general outputs, such as providing sustainability advice papers or enforcing fisheries policies. In future, we will be moving towards giving greater focus to achieving outcomes relating to specific fisheries. We will provide a framework that enables management by outcome by fishery in order to achieve our goal.
How the new approach works
The way chosen to improve the management of our fisheries is through:
- setting standards
- implementing standards through stock strategies and fisheries plans
- allocating rights
- enabling greater participation in fisheries management.
Standards will be set for all aspects of management of a fishery, including the performance target expected for a fishery and for the process for managing the fishery.
The standards will provide for the sustainability of fisheries resources and the aquatic environment, enable the best value from fisheries resources to be obtained, and ensure our Fisheries Deed of Settlement obligations are met.
Examples of potential performance standards include:
- QMS stocks must not be fished down to a level below a specified proportion of virgin biomass (or equivalent proxy)
- the level of bycatch of protected species in New Zealand fisheries is such that the long-term viability of protected species is not threatened
- the adverse effects of fishing on the aquatic environment are to be identified for each fishery and should not exceed a specified level
- habitats of particular significance for fisheries management are to be identified and agreed levels of protection achieved
- other sources of mortality to a stock caused by fishing should not exceed a specified level
- monitoring shall be maintained at a specified level for fisheries interactions with protected species.
Examples of potential process standards include:
- a minimum period of consultation on proposed changes to existing management measures should be provided
- monitoring of the performance of a fishery against stated objectives should occur on an annual basis
- the costs and benefits of relevant options to address the adverse effects of fishing on the aquatic environment are to be evaluated
- the obligation to avoid, remedy, or mitigate adverse effects of fishing on the aquatic environment shall be achieved in accordance with the most efficient available option
- all stock strategies and fisheries plans are to contain a risk assessment undertaken according to an agreed approach
- representatives of those with an interest in a stock are to be consulted on proposed management measures contained in a stock strategy or a fisheries plan
- all kaitiaki and ma-taitai applications shall be processed within the statutory time frames.
Standards will be the means by which all those with an interest in a fishery and the aquatic environment will be able to measure the performance of a fishery.
All those with an interest in the aquatic environment will have the opportunity to have input into developing specific standards.
Once we have standards in place, we will have a clear understanding of what a wellmanaged fishery looks like.
Stock strategies and fisheries plans
Under the new approach, standards can be implemented either by the Ministry through stock strategies, or by stakeholder groups. Providing for the input and participation of Māori will remain a priority for the Ministry within the context of stock strategies and fisheries plans.
A stock strategy is a document that sets out the Crown's proposed management objectives for a fishery, the performance and process standards that will apply, and the rules and services necessary to achieve those objectives and standards. Stock strategies will be developed with the input and participation of tangata whenua and in consultation with fisheries stakeholders. They will be approved by the Minister of Fisheries.
Alternatively, a stakeholder group may choose to develop a 'fisheries plan' to achieve those same standards. The fisheries plan framework will provide stakeholders with the opportunity to determine the most effective way they can implement those standards. Where rights are well defined and allocated, the development of a fisheries plan is also how value in fisheries can be best maximised.
Those who hold access rights know best how to use them and should be accountable for the exercise of those rights.
A fisheries plan must be approved by the Minister. As with stock strategies, fisheries plans should include management objectives for a fishery, the performance and process standards that will apply, and the rules and services necessary to achieve those objectives and standards. Stock strategies may provide a useful starting point from which stakeholder groups can develop a fisheries plan.
By the end of 2008, a stock strategy or fisheries plan will be in place for each species in the QMS. The Ministry will be accountable for the achievement of standards for each stock strategy. The Ministry will hold stakeholder groups accountable for the achievement of standards for each fisheries plan. The same level of accountability is required wherever the responsibility lies for implementing standards in our fisheries.
The Ministry's role will include establishing stock strategies, evaluating and monitoring fisheries plans to make sure they support and deliver on fisheries management standards and, in turn, the Ministry's three strategies for achieving the fishery outcome. Each fisheries plan or stock strategy will include a level of service to meet required standards, and may include registry functions, the provision of information and education, monitoring catch effort and undertaking stock research and risk assessment.
In all cases, the Ministry will retain responsibility for providing core government services, such as enforcing legislation and monitoring compliance with standards.
Stakeholder groups may undertake additional compliance functions under civil arrangements in the future.
Allocation of rights and improving participation
A core role of government is to provide the means by which stakeholders can use fisheries resources. The allocation of rights to stakeholders is an important element in enabling people to participate in fisheries management either through stock strategies or fisheries plans.
The allocation of rights enables people to maximise value and provides incentives for people to work collectively to ensure the sustainability of our fisheries. The Ministry is engaged in the introduction of species into the QMS and allocation of catch among sectors. The outcome is a shared interest in the management of fisheries.
The Ministry will continue to explore means of improving participation so people can obtain the best value from our fisheries by:
- providing for effective participation by stakeholders in the development of fisheries management standards and stock strategies
- supporting the formation of representative stakeholder groups
- supporting the participation in and development of fisheries plans
- facilitating the appointment of kaitiaki and improving mechanisms for engagement with Māori.
It may not be possible to undertake all the services detailed in a stock strategy or to implement all stock strategies at the same time. We therefore need to prioritise the fisheries management services we agree to deliver.
In future years, the Minister will determine national priorities in the form of a Fisheries Intervention Plan, based on analysis of risks and opportunities. A stock strategy or a fisheries plan will determine measures and resources required to achieve an objective or series of objectives for a fishery. The Fisheries Intervention Plan will be the basis for Ministry planning and the allocation of Ministry resources to support fisheries management.
The delivery of services determined by the Fisheries Intervention Plan across all fisheries will include:
- allocation of rights
- regulatory rules
- registry functions
- education and communication >
Stakeholders will have input into decisions made under the Fisheries Intervention Plan. Stakeholder groups implementing their own fisheries plans have the potential to free up some of the Ministry's resources for delivering other stock strategies.
A diagram of the new approach is set out opposite. It highlights the roles of Government and stakeholders in the development of stock strategies and fisheries plans, and the operation of the Fisheries Intervention Plan.
Development of stock strategies and fisheries plans - Government and Stakeholder roles
A period of transition will be required as stock strategies and fisheries plans are developed and implemented. The Ministry intends that, in 2004/05, stock strategies will be implemented for a range of deepwater stocks and developed for inshore and pelagic stocks. The Fisheries Intervention Plan is planned to operate for all stocks from 1 July 2006 (whether or not a stock strategy or fisheries plan has been developed).
Moving toward this new approach to fisheries management will involve a number of internal changes within the Ministry.
This includes better integration of our services, a realignment of our existing processes, the development of new skills, and consideration of new governance and organisation arrangements. These necessary changes will be implemented during the next two to three years as resources and "business as usual" permit.
Existing Ministry processes, such as the annual research planning round and sustainability measures process, will be adjusted to fit with the process of developing and reviewing stock strategies, and with the operation of the Fisheries Intervention Plan.
The chart overleaf sets out the major areas of work for the Ministry over the next three to five years. It is designed to show the linkages between the issues discussed in the Strategic Plan and how they will be progressed and sequenced over that period.
It also shows how the Ministry will manage the evolutionary change in the way we do business.
Of particular relevance is the third section in the chart - Policies Implemented (New) that sets out the gradual change from present operations to the new mode of delivery through the Fisheries Intervention Plan, and stock strategies and fisheries plans.
The final section of the chart shows the organisational changes required to support the new approach.
It is expected all changes will be in place by the end of 2008
Transition to the new mode of operation
Text from Diagram above:
Aquaculture reforms (including Treaty issues)
New Māori Fisheries Bill
Recreational fisheries reforms
International arrangements negotiated
Policy to support new mode of operation
Managing environmental effects of fishing
Fisheries Deed of Settlement
Cost recovery policy
Non-QMS post 1 October 2004
Collective accountability framework
Risk management framework
Adverse effects on aquatic environment from non-fishing
Reforms directed to achieving strategies
Aquatic environment strategy
Best value strategy
Fisheries Deed of Settlement
Environmental certification in New Zealand
Customary regulations review
Internalisation of environment costs
Review framework for implementing Deed of Settlement
Policies implemented (old)
Marine reserve concurrence advice provided
Environmental impact measures implemented
Customary regulations implemented
QMS backlog introduced
Aquaculture permits allocated
Sustainability/utilisation measures implemented
International agreements implemented
Policies implemented (new)
Fisheries plans development supported
Priority setting process developed
(Fisheries Intervention Plan)
AMA development supported
- implemented (deepwater)
Fisheries plans approved (deepwater)
Fisheries plans approved
Stock strategies implemented
Fisheries Intervention Plan Fisheries Intervention Plan
- implemented (deepwater)
- developed (inshore/pelagic)
Fisheries Intervention Plan
Marine Biosecurity Frameworks
The Ministry develops, implements and operates marine biosecurity frameworks, and purchases services to support the implementation of those frameworks.
These frameworks contribute to the protection of the marine environment by providing for:
Prevention and exclusion:
Surveillance and response:
Detecting early, identifying and assessing pests and unwanted organisms capable of causing significant harm to the values attributable to the marine environment and, where appropriate, deploying a rapid and effective incursion response that maximises the likelihood of eradication.
Effectively managing established pests and unwanted organisms capable of causing significant harm to the values attributable to the marine environment, including eradicating, containing and controlling these pests.
Achieving the sector outcome of maximising value and protecting the aquatic environment requires the Ministry to capitalise on opportunities to improve existing frameworks. Opportunities in the marine biosecurity area include:
- improving frameworks for collecting information on impacts on the marine environment
Future location of Marine Biosecurity
Consideration is being given to the location of the Crown's core marine biosecurity functions. At present these are located within the Ministry of Fisheries. Overall accountability for biosecurity resides with the Chief Executive of the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MAF) and if there is to be any change, it is likely core marine biosecurity functions would be transferred to MAF.
At the time of preparing this Statement of Intent, no firm decisions have been made.