Nature and scope of functions
Role and scope of operations
The role of the Ministry of Fisheries is to:
- Be the Government’s principal adviser on fisheries management.
In this role, we provide advice on policy and statutory decisions about New Zealand fisheries management and aquaculture, and in relation to New Zealand’s position on international fisheries management.
- Provide or purchase services to maintain the integrity of New Zealand’s fisheries. In this role we:
- provide compliance services, including education, enforcement and prosecution
- provide observer services
- purchase research and registry services
- provide oversight and quality assurance of scientific research
- collect catch effort, area, method and other information
- monitor delivery of contracted and devolved fisheries registry services.
- Discharge the Crown’s obligations under the 2004 Māori Aquaculture Settlement and the Treaty of Waitangi (Fisheries Claims) Settlement Act 1992.
The Ministry administers the following legislation:
- Treaty of Waitangi (Fisheries Claims) Settlement Act 1992
- Fisheries Act 1996 (and residual parts of the Fisheries Act 1983)
- Fisheries (Quota Operations Validation) Act 1997
- Māori Fisheries Act 2004
- Māori Commercial Aquaculture Claims Settlement Act 2004.
We also administer many regulations related to managing fisheries within New Zealand and managing New Zealand fishing outside our Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).
Limits or constraints
In performing its functions, the Ministry faces a number of significant limits or constraints. The main ones are listed below.
- Management decisions may need to be taken without full information on the state of fisheries or the consequences of management actions, due to inherent difficulties and costs of research. There are also gaps in the Ministry’s catch information base.
- The legal framework is fundamentally sound but there are issues that need to be addressed, including poor integration with other aquatic resource legislation, barriers to managing for best value, means to improve environmental performance, and inadequate incentives for stakeholders to invest in cooperative approaches to manage fisheries.
- The Crown has a range of obligations to Māori; however there is currently a gap between the expectations tangata whenua have of the Crown in respect of delivering on these obligations, and the resources the Ministry has for this work.
- Iwi have a range of interests in the marine environment and within amateur, customary, and commercial fishing – interests that can conflict with each other. If the Ministry does not support the creation of processes to allow iwi to internally reconcile their range of interests, then they are left for the Crown to resolve.