Recreational Fishing Ministerial Advisory Committee Minutes of Meeting held on 13 November 2006
1pm - 5pm, the Terrace Conference Centre, Wellington
Jim Anderton, Minister of Fisheries (Chair, 3-5pm)
John Glaister, Chief Executive, Ministry of Fisheries (Chair, 1-3pm)
Susie Iball, Private Secretary (Fisheries), Office of Jim Anderton (3-5pm)
James Palmer, Senior Advisor, Office of Jim Anderton (1-3pm)
Mark Edwards, Manager Fisheries Policy, Ministry of Fisheries
Robin Connor, Senior Policy Analyst, Ministry of Fisheries
Edwin Massey, Policy Analyst, Ministry of Fisheries
Agenda Item 1: Welcome, recap previously agreed actions and confirm agenda
John Glaister welcomed the Committee members to the fourth meeting of the Recreational Fishing Ministerial Advisory Committee. He paid tribute to the late Max Hetherington, noting his presence on the Committee and his contribution to fisheries management would be missed.
The agreed actions listed in the minutes of the previous meeting were noted as completed.
Agenda Item 2: Review / discuss draft vision
John Glaister referred to the draft vision that was prepared and circulated following the Committee’s discussion at the last meeting and the relative lack of progress in finalising issues relating to the vision since then. He noted that the Ministry was able to provide assistance with drafting but it was up to the Committee to decide what its vision for recreational fisheries management should be, and that the Committee needed to take ownership of the vision for it to be successful. He reiterated the Minister’s view at the previous meeting that the vision was important to support the Committee developing outcomes in recreational fisheries management.
Two Committee members stated that access to the resource for future generations was essential to the vision. The Committee agreed that the six points identified in the previously circulated draft vision covered an appropriate range of areas. One Committee member noted the Shared Fisheries discussion document provided a mechanism for progress to be made on the achievement of the vision.
The Committee felt that the vision statement should be short, simple and punchy, and not emphasise the recreational aspect of amateur fishing. Consequently, the Committee noted that they preferred the use of the label “amateur fishing” rather than “recreational fishing” to describe their sector and would prefer to see the Committee’s official title changed to Amateur Fishing Ministerial Advisory Committee.
It was agreed the vision statement should be “healthy fisheries, fairly shared” and that the final text describing the attributes of the vision should be slightly modified from that which was in the draft.
Agreed: MFish to prepare and circulate a finalised vision.
Agenda Item 3: Report on revenue raising in other jurisdictions
John Glaister referred to the report Revenue Raising for Managing Recreational Fisheries: Options from the U.S and Canada, which was circulated by MFish prior to the meeting. Edwin Massey summarised the report.
The Committee discussed what recreational fishing organisations in other jurisdictions were using revenue for, including capacity to engage in consultation and management processes, purchasing commercial fishing entitlements and fisheries planning. The Committee members agreed that licensing in New Zealand was not appropriate at this time but that this situation could change in the future.
Agenda Item 4: Presentation of the Shared Fisheries policy proposals and initial discussion
Robin Connor presented the Shared Fisheries policy proposals to the Committee.
One Committee member asked whether the proposals to re-set baseline allocation would apply to six species in all areas or six stocks in specific areas. Mark Edwards advised that they would apply to specific stocks such as for example SNA1, BCO3 and KAH1. He stated that at this stage the stocks could be considered for baseline reallocation have not been identified and that this would be based, in part, on information gained through the consultation process.
John Glaister assured the Committee that the consultation process would be comprehensive and the Ministry would undertake thorough analysis of all submissions received. He also emphasised the importance of completing the policy process by the end of 2007.
Agenda item 5: Discussion of shared fisheries policy proposals
The Minister stated that he hoped the discussion document communicated with robustness where the government was heading on these issues. He explained that he had discussed some of the issues contained within the document with his cabinet colleagues. He apologised for the delay in release and noted that it had been necessary to extend the consultation to include a period following the Christmas break, to provide more time for consideration and input.
The Minister advised that the discussion document attempted to create a balance between 3 existing sectors and provide redress for existing rights holders where necessary. He noted the proposals focus on 2 major issues: allocation and representation, and that the proposal to set up an amateur fishing trust was a transitional arrangement to a time in the future where the amateur sector would be able to act self sufficiently and have professional representation in management debates.
One Committee member stated that the proposals needed to be marketed well during the consultation period. There was debate on how this should be achieved. A number of possible strategies were suggested, including seeking TV interviews on current affairs programs or on Coastwatch, and putting brochures or pamphlets into fishing magazines. One Committee member stated that some of the fishing clubs throughout the country knew about the release of the discussion document through the Nibbles newsletter released by NZRFC.
The relevance and frequency of public meetings was discussed. Two Committee members sought an increase in the public meetings to be held, to cover more locations around the country, but others were not sure that public meetings were a particularly effective consultation method. Mark Edwards explained that the timeframe for consultation was tight and outlined the range of meetings and other opportunities for input. He also noted that MFish has to target where public meetings are held, given constrained resources. The Minister suggested that an increased number of public meetings may not entice fishers to actually attend and that a focussed consultation strategy, as had been planned, was more appropriate.
Mark Edwards noted that MFish has established a shared fisheries website with information on the project, including answers to frequently asked questions that would be updated as necessary.
Reference was made to information collated for MFish on recreational fishing activity, including the charter boat fishery. It was agreed that this material would be circulated to the Committee.
The Committee spent some time discussing the proposal to establish an amateur fishing trust. One Committee member questioned whether an amateur fishing trust would have a statutory status equivalent to other fisheries stakeholder organisations. The Minister explained that establishing the trust would probably not require any legislative amendment.
One Committee member emphasised the need for better communication between MFish and groups within the amateur sector. He considered that a process was needed to identify the people who would be best placed to represent the sector. The Minister responded that at the moment the amateur sector was fractured and diverse and that, through the trust, specific organisations could provide for professional staff to develop strategies around how they could best contribute to fisheries management.
The Committee agreed that stakeholders need to be able to participate better in MFish’s processes. It also agreed that building trust between the Ministry and amateur stakeholders is crucial to implementing many of the proposals outlined in the discussion document.
The Minister noted the inherent conflicts in fisheries management, and the difficulties in reconciling the differing views of the various stakeholder groups. The role of government in fisheries management was also briefly discussed.
Agreed: MFish to circulate information on recreational fishing activity.
Agenda Item 6 Discussion of Committee Membership
The Minister introduced this agenda item by paying tribute to Max Hetherington. The Minister said that he had decided not to make changes to the Committee membership at this time, due to the lengthy and complicated appointment process and his preference for the amateur sector to focus on the shared fisheries policy proposals. Nonetheless, the Minister also stated he was prepared to reconsider membership in the future.
Agenda Item 7 Meeting Close
The next RFMAC meeting is likely to be held in March. Suggested agenda items included a 3-5 year plan for recreational fishing, the proposed Amateur Fishing Trust, and identifying which fisheries have the most urgent allocation issues.
The Minister thanked Committee members for their contribution today and drew the meeting to a close.