MFish employs about 400 staff throughout New Zealand.
Led by the Chief Executive, the Ministry is organised into six business groups: Fisheries Policy, International, Fisheries Science, Fisheries Operations, Fisheries Compliance, and Corporate Services.
A Strategic Leadership team provides advice on the strategic leadership and management across the Ministry. The team comprises the Chief Executive, Deputy Chief Executive, General Manager Corporate Services, the managers of the five frontline business groups, together with the Chief Scientist, Manager Legal Services, Chief Financial Officer and Manager Corporate Developments
The fisheries policy group provides advice to Government about the development of New Zealand’s fisheries management regime. Much of the group’s work leads to change in the legal or operational frameworks applied to New Zealand fisheries and aquatic resources. These reforms aim to allow all New Zealand fishers - commercial, customary, and recreational - to use and enjoy our fisheries, while ensuring that our aquatic environment is conserved and our fisheries will be available for future generations.
The policy work programme can be grouped into four broad areas:
- adding value to fisheries and aquaculture sectors
- environmental performance
- fisheries strategy, outcomes, and monitoring
- providing for delivery of obligations to Maori
New Zealand’s interest in fisheries resources and how they are managed goes beyond New Zealand’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).
The International group promotes sustainable use of international fisheries. Based in Wellington, the group works in areas of international strategy, and policy development and access. They are also involved in international treaties and frameworks and country assistance.
New Zealand’s fisheries interests are promoted and protected through our work with:
- regional fisheries management organisations and other international management arrangements, such the Commission for the Conservation of Southern Bluefin Tuna (CCSBT), the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC), the Convention for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR), and the South Tasman Rise (STR)
- international institutions (eg Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the United Nations, and the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).
Four units make up the Fisheries Sciences group: Fisheries Science, Research Data Management, Observers and Socio-Economics, located in Wellington and Nelson.
The Science unit conducts research, coordinates and chairs meetings on stock assessment and environmental impact. It provides scientific advice to Fisheries Operations, Fisheries Policy, Compliance and International fisheries.
The Research Data Management unit ensures that high quality scientific data is available to those responsible for advising on the sustainability of fisheries resources. This includes catch-effort, observer, geo-spatial, biosecurity, research and reference data. Through to June 2007, the group also supplies marine biosecurity data management services to MAF.
The Observer Programme has eight permanent shore-based staff and about 50 staff contracted to provide at-sea observer coverage.
The Socio-Economics team has not yet been formed.
The current research programme focuses on:
- stock assessment programmes for major deepwater and inshore commercial stocks (hoki, hake, ling, orange roughy, oreos, snapper and rock lobster)
- stock monitoring for many other target and bycatch species
- estimation of recreational harvest levels for priority stocks (eg snapper, tarakihi, kahawai)
- research into fishing’s environmental effects on marine ecosystems and protected species
- biodiversity research in New Zealand and the Ross Sea..
The Ministry’s Chief Scientist heads the Fisheries Science Team and is also a member of the Senior Management Team.
The Fisheries Operations group has more than 80 staff in Auckland, Wellington, Nelson and Dunedin. This group provides a wide range of baseline fisheries services. The group also provides a framework for liaison with tangata whenua at regional level.
The current work programme covers:
- fisheries plans
- review of fisheries sustainability and other measures
- introduction of new fish stocks into the QMS
- regional iwi forums
- regional recreational advisory groups
- the Fiordland marine resource management plan
- customary fishing regulations
- marine reserves
- cost recovery
- devolved and contracted registry services
- aquaculture permit decisions and implementation of the aquaculture reforms.
Ensuring that people and companies comply with fisheries laws and regulations is the task of Fisheries Compliance staff. This group includes Fisheries Officers and Fisheries Prosecutors, who are located in district and local offices throughout New Zealand. The group’s enforcement services include surveillance, investigation and prosecutions, as well as education and liaison.
The group manages and trains Honorary Fisheries Officers. The group’s work programme and priorities include:
- enforcing and promoting compliance with recreational fishing rules
- targeting of poaching and black market activities, including a multi-agency approach
- protecting paua and rock lobster stocks
- enforcement of commercial, customary and international fishing rules
- maintaining a Ministry/Industry compliance committee
- working with New Zealand Defence Forces and other enforcement agencies
- ensuring the health and safety of Fisheries Officers.
Corporate Services delivers communications, human resources, legal, financial and information services within the Ministry and provides corporate monitoring, and management and administration of corporate resources.