Amateur Fishing Ministerial Advisory Committee
Minutes of meeting held on 19 November 2007
12:30 – 4:30pm, Ministry of Fisheries, Wellington
Hon Jim Anderton, Minister of Fisheries (Chair, 2:30-3:45pm)
Stan Crothers, Acting Chief Executive, Ministry of Fisheries (Chair, 12:30pm-2:30pm and 3:45- 4:30pm)
Anna Falloon, Private Secretary (Fisheries), Office of Jim Anderton (2:30-3:45pm)
Mark Edwards, Manager Fisheries Policy, Ministry of Fisheries
Kim Drummond, Senior Policy Analyst, Ministry of Fisheries
Edwin Massey, Policy Analyst, Ministry of Fisheries
Agenda Item 1: Welcome, recap previously agreed actions and confirm agenda
Stan Crothers welcomed the Committee members to the sixth meeting of the Amateur Fishing Ministerial Advisory Committee. He was pleased to announce that Wayne McNee had been appointed as the new MFish Chief Executive and would be joining MFish in the new year.
The agreed actions listed in the minutes of the 2 April 2007 meeting were noted as completed. Sheryl Hart requested that Committee members be placed on the distribution list for the MFish publication “The Bite”.
Kim Walshe requested that Committee members’ supplementary submissions on shared fisheries made following the last AFMAC meeting be distributed to Committee members.
Agreed: Committee members to be placed on “The Bite” distribution list. Committee members’ supplementary submissions on shared fisheries and accompanying Ministerial advice to be distributed with the minutes of this meeting.
Agenda Item 2: MFish Review of the stock assessment process
Stan Crothers introduced this agenda item by highlighting the Ministers’ concerns about the accuracy of the last Chatham Rise orange roughy stock assessment. As a result the Minister has commissioned a review of the entire stock assessment process and how this influences Ministerial advice.
Members highlighted that to-date MFish had largely ignored amateur stakeholders’ views on the state of certain fish stocks and that sometimes anecdotal evidence was just as relevant as scientists’ biological models. Stan acknowledged that it was necessary to ground-truth modelling estimates more often, especially in stocks like orange roughy where relatively little was known about the biological characteristics of the species.
Stan confirmed that the results of the review would be made available to Committee members following its completion. He said that decisions on remedial action following the review would be made as quickly as possible.
Stan also referred to a review of the regulation of foreign charter vessels that fish in New Zealand’s exclusive economic zone as another example of the steps MFish was taking to improve existing management systems.
Concern was expressed by some of those present at the very tight timeframe available for amateurs to take part in this process. Time and resource issues had exacerbated this problem.
Agreed: The completed review of the stock assessment process be distributed to Committee members.
Agenda Item 3: MFish engagement with amateur stakeholders
Kim Drummond gave a presentation outlining the past, present and future of MFish engagement with the amateur sector. He described how MFish currently engaged with appointed groups of amateur stakeholders with specific expertise. In general this model was advisory in nature as members of the various groups often lacked the mandate to represent the sector. Kim then outlined how, in the future, MFish aspires to engage with groups which combine specific expertise and mandate, and the central role that the proposed amateur fishing trust could have in establishing an accountable, representative and mandated body for the sector.
Committee members pointed out that the trust idea stemmed from the Shared Fisheries proposals and raised concerns that the Cabinet paper had not been made publicly available. Mark Edwards confirmed that the paper would be made available to Committee Members later in the day and would also be posted on the MFish website.
Mark Edwards then outlined the Minister’s decision to establish an amateur fishing trust (subject to funding approval by Cabinet) in more detail. He noted that the trust is intended to provide a vehicle for the amateur sector to work towards a mandated and representative structure. However, the trust would not be a representative organisation, or a replacement for current stakeholder organisations’ involvement in fisheries management. Rather, the trust was expected to be able to provide professional assistance to existing and future sector organisations.
Committee members then discussed elements of the amateur fishing trust’s design and function and the need to get more amateur fishers engaged in fisheries management. Committee members outlined how local management tools would be the best way to increase amateur stakeholder participation in fisheries management processes.
Kim Drummond led a discussion around how the establishment of a representative structure for the sector could enable mandated individuals to negotiate local management solutions with other stakeholder groups. Committee members agreed that AFMAC should have a role in promoting relationships between stakeholder groups to make negotiated outcomes more accessible.
Agenda Item 4: Shared Fisheries Cabinet decision
The Minister introduced this agenda item by emphasising the difficulty he had faced in getting the reform process to this point. The Minister stated he could not progress the entire package because of the opposition he had received during the consultation process.
The Minister then outlined the Cabinet decisions on shared fisheries. He described how he would pursue initiatives in the following three areas, dependent on funding in next year’s budget:
- Expanded research to better estimate amateur fishers’ catch and values in key stocks;
- The establishment of an amateur fishing trust to assist the development of improved capacity for representation of the amateur fishing sector’s interests; and
- Consultation with recreational charter boat operators regarding the introduction of activity and catch reporting to the sector.
The Minister emphasised that he had no blueprint for how the amateur fishing trust would operate but that it would ensure that the amateur sector will be able to participate proactively in more decision making processes than currently.
The Minister also outlined that Cabinet has also agreed to support the joint fisheries sector working group (Te Ohu Kaimoana (TOKM), the Seafood Industry Council (SeaFIC) and the New Zealand Recreational Fishing Council (NZRFC)) developing policy proposals for progressing other aspects of shared fisheries management. The Minister emphasised his preference for these groups to provide the opportunity for other organisations to get involved, providing these groups were willing to engage constructively.
The Minister described how, given the timeframe for the next election, it was unlikely the current government would have time to implement reforms arising from the working group process. He also emphasised that these were difficult times for fisheries management and then invited discussion amongst Committee members.
Agenda Item 5: Discussion on the shared fisheries Cabinet decision Implications for the amateur sector
Committee members thanked the Minister for his perseverance with the shared fisheries reforms and acknowledged that further progress in this area will not be easy. However, Committee members also stressed that any progress would be a positive outcome.
Geoff Rowling considered it was important for the joint working group to make progress and that they were already looking to meet with representatives of other organisations in the near future to discuss relevant issues.
Geoff asked the Minister if potential management solutions devised by the working group could be piloted in specific fisheries on a trial basis. The Minister considered that specific trial voluntary agreements were possible if there was cooperation between the affected stakeholders. Stan Crothers agreed, stating that MFish would support trials going ahead and facilitate them if needed. Geoff Rowling emphasised that now was the time to make progress as the upcoming election added an additional uncertainty to the reform process.
The Minister asked for feedback from Committee members on the amateur fishing trust proposal. Committee members said their initial reaction was positive, that they required more time to think through how the concept would work in practice. The Minister invited them to provide individual or collective feedback to him.
Committee members stressed that getting more people engaged with fisheries management was still the sector’s biggest challenge. However, members believed that an amateur fishing trust would ensure that those who wanted to engage had improved capacity to do so. The Minister agreed, stating the development of a long-term representative structure for the sector was a good base to start from for improving amateur sector participation in management.
Committee members acknowledged that they would be surprised if the amateur sector did not embrace the idea of the amateur fishing trust.
Agreed: Committee members to provide feedback to the Minister on the following questions by 21 December 2007:
- What are the benefits and deficiencies of the current amateur sector club/association representative structure?
- How could the amateur fishing trust support existing organisations to engage in fisheries management?
- Should the representation model developed by the amateur fishing trust build on the current amateur club/association representative structure?
Agenda Item 6: Developing a strategy for the amateur fishing sector
Mark Edwards referred to the AFMAC vision “healthy fisheries: fairly shared” and asked if this vision was relevant for the rest of the amateur fishing sector.
Committee members believed that the AFMAC vision was appropriate for the wider sector but that it needed to be advertised and consulted on.
Mark informed Committee members about MFish’s visioning project and the process MFish would follow to ensure amateur stakeholders had opportunity to comment on an overall vision for fisheries in New Zealand.
Mark then asked for Committee members’ views on how the establishment of an amateur fishing trust could contribute to AFMAC’s vision being achieved. Mark also asked for Committee members’ views on the Committee’s role once the amateur fishing trust had been established. Committee members discussed the implications of the amateur fishing trust on AFMAC. They agreed that AFMAC could still have a role as an advisory body to the Minister and that the Committee could advise the amateur fishing trust’s professional staff on strategic issues facing the amateur fishing sector.
Agenda Item 7: Meeting Close
Stan Crothers asked if there were any more items of general business. None were raised so Stan thanked Committee members for their contribution and drew the meeting to a close.
The next AFMAC meeting is likely to be held in February.