RECREATIONAL FISHING MINISTERIAL ADVISORY COMMITTEE MINUTES OF MEETING HELD ON 30 May 2006
1pm - 5pm, Turnbull House, Wellington
Jim Anderton, Minister of Fisheries (Chair, 1-3pm)
John Glaister, Chief Executive, Ministry of Fisheries (Chair, 3-5pm)
Susie Iball, Private Secretary (Fisheries), Office of Jim Anderton (1-3pm)
James Palmer, Senior advisor, Office of Jim Anderton (1-3pm)
Mark Edwards, Manager Fisheries Policy, Ministry of Fisheries
Phil Kirk, Senior policy analyst, Ministry of Fisheries
Emma Taylor, Senior policy analyst, Ministry of Fisheries
Peter Todd, Principal Scientist, Ministry of Fisheries (4-5pm)
Agenda item 1: Welcome, recap previously agreed actions and confirm agenda
Jim Anderton welcomed the Committee members to the third meeting of the Recreational Fishing Ministerial Advisory Committee. The agreed actions listed in the minutes of the previous meeting were noted. It was clarified that, rather than information on the Maori Fisheries Act, the Committee wanted information on customary fishing tools such as mätaitai reserves. It was agreed that the Ministry would circulate this material.
· MFish to circulate information on customary fishing tools
Agenda item 2: Review / discuss draft vision
The Minister referred to the draft vision, which was prepared and circulated following the Committee’s discussion at the last meeting. He thanked Bob Meikle and Peter Ellery who have provided written comment. He asked the Committee to consider whether the draft vision was one that it could endorse, and suggested that they aim to approve a general vision concept and enable a wordsmith to pull it together.
The Committee felt that its vision statement should be short, simple and punchy; something that could be easily understood and was inspiring. It was agreed that it needed to be supported by more detailed explanatory text. There was some debate about whether the vision statement itself needed to include links to participation in the management of recreational fisheries, and to the desire for higher catch rates.
There was general willingness for the Committee to be solution focused and for a positive vision to be put on the table to stimulate debate about how to reach those goals.
One Committee member raised a question regarding the purpose of the vision, noted that Committee members were appointed as individuals and not representatives, and it needed to be discussed with others. The Minister stated that he considers vision statements to be important, because they set out key objectives and provide a framework for considering how those objectives will be achieved. He noted the value of receiving independent advice from individuals who have expertise in this area, and clarified that Committee members were able to discuss the draft vision with others before providing their comments. John Glaister noted the importance of members reaching consensus on a vision to provide for some consistency and coherency in their deliberations.
· MFish to develop a proposed vision based on the Committee’s comments and circulate it for comment by mid June;
· Committee members to provide comments by mid July (and are able to seek the views of others);
· MFish will prepare a final version by mid August and seek Committee signoff.
Agenda item 3: Committee membership
At the last meeting, the question of Committee membership was raised. The Minister said that he has considered expanding the membership of the Committee, but has decided to make no changes at this time. He noted that the Committee was set up by his predecessor after a public nominations process, and that a lot of thought was given to the establishment of the Committee. He was somewhat reluctant to relitigate this process so soon, but was prepared to reconsider membership in the future.
Agenda item 4: Shared fisheries project – consultation
The Minister noted that MFish has held initial discussions with some interested parties on the shared fisheries project, and is working towards a mid August deadline for Cabinet approval to release a public discussion paper and commence the formal public consultation process. There is intended to be a four month consultation period.
It is not possible for the discussion paper to be released in time for debate at the NZ Recreational Fishing Council conference in July. The Minister noted he will be speaking at the conference and will give some thought before then about how to offer the conference the chance to participate in the shared fisheries project. John Glaister noted that MFish is currently developing a few ideas, and Mark Edwards asked the Committee for suggestions on how to best utilise the consultation period.
One member suggested the Government fund a 1 or 2 day meeting to enable the attendance of some people from all branches of the sector, with the government paying for the venue and meeting costs and participants covering their own travel costs.
The Minister noted that one option being considered is to offer the RFC conference an opportunity to select a group (10-12 people) to participate in a later 1-2 day workshop specifically to discuss the shared fisheries proposals. He suggested that MFish could meet the venue and associated meeting costs, and participants meeting their travel costs. This would be in addition to holding a limited number of regional meetings and inviting written submissions. The need to engage the wider recreational fishing public (i.e. not just those affiliated to clubs) and other fisheries stakeholders was also noted.
Some members expressed concern that public meetings enable grandstanding and are not a particularly effective means of consultation. It was suggested to look at other sectors for examples of different consultation techniques that may be more effective – for example information stands in shopping malls, MFish attendance at major boatshows, fliers distributed at boat ramps by recreational fishers/clubs. Making better use of the MFish website, such as enabling submissions to be made through the website, and having ‘questions and answers’ material available, was also discussed.
Agenda item 5: Report on revenue raising in other jurisdictions
The Minister referred to the report Revenue raising to manage recreational fisheries: report on mechanisms used in Australia, which was circulated by MFish prior to the meeting. Phil Kirk summarised the report, and provided additional information on the South Australian situation.
One of the Committee members commented that a critical factor was whether the regimes were supported by recreational fishers. Another Committee member commented that one of the benefits of increased involvement of recreational fishers in management is that it leads to greater acceptance of the controls placed on recreational fishing.
There was general agreement that the Committee wanted information on other countries, and noted particular interest in the United States and Canada. Some felt that this information should be prepared by an independent source (not MFish or linked to the RFMAC), and include analysis of the benefits and costs of each system. There was some debate about the value of commissioning extra work in this area.
It was acknowledged that many overseas jurisdictions relied on some form of registration/licensing regime to provide funds towards capacity-building and information on recreational take. The Minister noted that the government had previously explored this option but was unlikely to go down this track again unless the recreational sector requested government to do so. One Committee member said that if the sector had information about the benefits to be gained, people may ask government to go down that track. The Minister agreed that there would need to be a clear set of benefits, preferably supported by a clear, sustained view from recreational fishers, before the Government would be prepared to consider going down that road.
· A further report on the funding of recreational fisheries management, particularly in the United States and Canada, could be prepared.
Agenda item 6: Options to address issues in shared fisheries
John Glaister chaired a discussion on options for shared fisheries, building on the issues discussed at the last Committee meeting.
Summary of comments made by Committee members:
· It was agreed that if a sector has contributed a stock rebuild, it should share in the gain.
· It is necessary to look at the situation in each fishery and address the fundamental problems related to initial allocation (the status of the stock, and the shares set when stocks were first introduced to the QMS).
· Information limitations are a problem – including information on the link between fishing effort and increases in population.
· Different weather conditions year to year can be a key influence on the variability of catch levels.
· There is a need for the government to clarify how it wants the recreational sector to interact with the QMS. There are examples of “hard” recreational TACs being applied overseas – but high levels of stakeholder support, plus information and monitoring, is needed.
· The recreational sector does not want to have a capped allocation – reference made to Moyle’s promise. Not all Committee members thought this was a useful focus or starting point of the debate.
· There is general public acceptance that recreational fisheries need to be managed.
· One Committee member noted that he could support the recreational sector having a fixed proportional share if it was calculated and established under a fair model, and the mechanism allowed for fair adjustment over time. It is important that safeguards are in place, so that the recreational sector feels that it has secure access to fisheries resources.
· Options for managing reallocations were discussed, including the possibility of trust ownership of a recreational share that could not be sold (but could be partially leased to the commercial sector in order to create an income stream). One member noted the disjunct between the fisher and owner of ITQ means there is a poor link to the sustainability incentive.
· Spatial allocation / separation between the sectors could resolve competition problems – it works well for the Marlborough scallop fishery and could be applied to other areas. However, one member noted that much of the inshore area in the north is already closed to bulk commercial fishing methods.
· There was general support for increased local area management, and co-management regimes involving recreational fishers and others. It was felt that more creative and sustaining fisheries management solutions could be found by working locally. Building trust is a key factor. A key problem is obtaining mandate for the recreational representatives – they are typically able to bind their membership but not the wider fishing public.
Agenda item 7: Recreational research issues and possible solutions
Peter Todd joined the meeting, and provided the Committee with a brief presentation on recreational research being undertaken. He also noted what he considers are the key research information needs. These included time series harvest estimates by fishstock, regional surveys for local management, and the demographics of the recreational fishing population.
The top priority is obtaining better harvest estimates. The high cost of this research was noted -the 1999/00 diary survey cost around $1.1 million (one of the most expensive projects funded by MFish), and the Australian national telephone diary survey cost $3-4 million. The (un)reliability of the diary surveys undertaken in 1996 and 1999-01 was discussed. Peter Todd noted that the accuracy of the harvest estimates has been heavily criticised, but they have provided some useful information, such as enabling comparisons to be made within surveys (eg SNA1 to SNA2), if not between the surveys. It was noted that the focus for obtaining harvest estimates is now the aerial overflight method for those species that are relatively spatially discrete (eg snapper), supported by new telephone diary surveys.
In response to a question, Peter Todd clarified that it is important to understand the demographics of the recreational fishing population in order to better target activities such as education and compliance. He also noted that a good fix on the level of participation is critical to obtaining useful estimates.
The Committee discussed the research planning process, noting that the lack of resources of the recreational sector is a barrier to its participation. Peter Todd noted that he has moved the recreational research planning meetings to Auckland to try to make it easier for recreational fishers to participate, and is open to suggestions of other steps that could assist. While it was acknowledged that the research planning process is open to all to participate, some Committee members noted that it is difficult for non-scientists to engage in and understand the process. The long leadtime for research projects to be established (with consultation on proposed projects occurring many months in advance) was also a source of frustration.
Agenda item 8: Meeting close
John Glaister summarised the decisions and actions from the meeting (see below). The next RFMAC meeting is likely to be held in October, and a further meeting could be held in late November or early December, before submissions close on the shared fisheries project. John Glaister suggested that Committee members provide Emma Taylor with suggestions for the agenda of the next meeting.
John Glaister thanked Committee members for their contribution and drew the meeting to a close.
Summary of actions from RFMAC meeting of 30 May 2006
Circulate information on customary fishing tools
Prepare a revised draft of the vision and circulate it for comment by mid June
Provide a response to the draft vision by mid July
All Committee members
Prepare a finalised vision and circulate it by mid August (to be formally endorsed by the Committee at the next meeting)
Prepare and circulate an expanded report on the funding of recreational fisheries management in other jurisdictions
Phil Kirk/Emma Taylor