Outcome 2: The health of the aquatic environment is protected
What are we seeking to achieve?
New Zealand’s aquatic environment is valuable for many reasons. The Ministry has a legal obligation to ensure sustainability, both through maintaining fish stock levels and managing the adverse effects of fishing on the aquatic environment. The Ministry also strives to promote sustainable fishing internationally, and works with other agencies to address impacts on the marine environment not caused by fishing.
How will we demonstrate success in achieving this?
We will demonstrate success in our efforts to protect the health of the aquatic environment by achieving the following performance measures.
- The percentage of stocks in the quota management system that are near or above target level is maintained or increasing.
- The percentage of stocks that are below the biological limits as defined in the Harvest Strategy Standard is decreasing.
- Fishing-related mortality of protected species – including sea lions, fur seals, seabirds, and dolphins – is within agreed limits.
- A representative range of New Zealand’s marine habitats within New Zealand’s Exclusive Economic Zone and Territorial Sea ecosystems is protected from adverse impacts of fishing.
What will we do to achieve this?
Use a range of tools to improve the environmental performance of fisheries in a cost-effective way
We will ensure that fisheries are managed within environmental limits in the most efficient and effective manner, using a variety of tools, including legislation, regulation, standards and incentives (such as education, certification, and research). We will work to address adverse environmental impacts with a minimum of regulation to minimise compliance costs. Setting objectives for individual fisheries (or a group of fisheries) and standards that must be met, gives stakeholders and tangata whenua clarity and direction to develop innovative and cost-effective ways to meet the objectives within those standards.
The Ministry also collaborates with other public service agencies. This includes the Natural Resource Management Network through which we ensure coordinated and more effective and efficient progress towards our utilisation and environmental performance priorities and wider Government priorities in the natural resource sector.
Beyond the Exclusive Economic Zone, the Ministry promotes policy and governance arrangements to ensure sustainable management of high-seas fisheries, consistent with New Zealand’s economic interests, and works within international forums to eliminate subsidies that lead to over-capacity.
Develop environmental standards for fishing and monitor performance
We set standards to ensure the adverse impact of fishing on the environment and the sustainability of fish stocks are kept at an acceptable level of risk. In the past 12 months, a Harvest Strategy Standard has been developed to guide the sustainable harvest of New Zealand’s fisheries. We have in place measures to control sea lion and Hector’s and Maui’s dolphin mortality. We will develop a standard for incidental seabird capture by the end of 2009. Work is progressing on other environmental standards. We are also implementing a monitoring regime to assess performance against standards, so that changes can be made if new information comes to light or if the standard is not having the expected result.
Ensure environmental rules are met
We will use educational and promotional activities to encourage voluntary compliance. Monitoring and inspections, enforcement, and prosecutions are used when necessary, to ensure rules are met and the health of the aquatic environment is maintained.
Contribute to processes that reduce impacts not caused by fishing
The Ministry works with other agencies – principally the Department of Conservation, the Ministry for the Environment, and regional councils, and through the Natural Resource Management Network – to influence other departments to take actions to reduce adverse impacts on the marine environment and protected species caused by activities other than fishing, such as sedimentation and pollution.