Introduction from the Chief Executive
Fisheries resources are national taonga – fishing and fisheries contribute to New Zealand’s cultural, social, economic and environmental quality and life. Key benefits of New Zealand’s approach to fisheries management are:Sustainable harvests
: Most of our fisheries are harvested at a sustainable level. Strategies are in place to rebuild the few stocks known to be depleted. Major impacts of fishing on the aquatic environment are being managed.A valuable seafood industry:
The fishing and aquaculture industries are major export earners, employing over 7,000 people and contributing to economic activity through harvesting, processing, and servicing industries. This is achieved with minimal subsidies and with payment of cost recovery levies.Resolution of customary fishing claims:
The 1992 Fisheries Settlement resolved customary claims to fishing. Approximately 27 percent of commercial fishing rights are now owned by Mäori, and measures to recognise customary non-commercial management practices are being implemented throughout the country.A high quality and popular marine amateur fishery:
Around 30 percent of New Zealanders participate in marine amateur fishing. The tradition of casting a line to try to ‘catch a feed’ is part of our national identity, and business activity related to amateur fishing makes a valuable contribution to regional economies.
The Ministry of Fisheries is responsible for advice and services that ensure sustainable use of New Zealand’s fisheries. A critical part of our advisory role in the next few years will be to provide more leadership in the fisheries and aquaculture sectors, in particular:
- Developing environmental standards for fishing.
- Working with tangata whenua and stakeholders to develop and implement fisheries plans.
- Leading the Government’s role in the Aquaculture Strategy.
- Working with communities to implement the Marine Protected Areas Policy.
- Participating in settlement negotiations and implementation.
- Working with iwi in regional forums and, over time, to develop iwi rohe moana management plans.
- Developing a long-term fisheries management strategy, and associated outcomes and legislative reforms.
At the same time we will continue to deliver on the broad range of services that maintain the integrity of the fisheries management regime in New Zealand and the Pacific.
A key new area of leadership is the development of a long-term strategy for our fisheries. The first step is establishing a long-term vision that is understood and broadly supported by stakeholders and staff. This vision should guide the strategy’s development in a collaborative process that will ensure the sector can be confident that the strategy takes into account all significant opportunities and challenges and secure support from stakeholders. Once developed, the strategy will guide our fisheries management initiatives over the medium term and provide sufficient certainty to encourage stakeholders to align their activities and investment with the vision. Legislative reform may be needed to support the strategy.
As the Chief Executive of the Ministry, I look forward to leading the sector and our team in the strategy development process.