The Shared Fisheries Project focuses on improving the management of New Zealand’s “shared fisheries” – the fisheries where customary, amateur and commercial uses meet. Most shared fisheries are inshore fisheries (including snapper, blue cod, kahawai, rock lobster and paua) but also include offshore fisheries such as game-fish and freshwater fisheries such as eels.
The project’s overall goal is to increase the value obtained from the use of shared fisheries. Value encompasses both market and non-market values associated with commercial, amateur and customary fishing. The project is wide in scope and addresses some complex issues. The project’s two key objectives are to:
- Increase certainty in the allocation framework; and
- Better recognise non-commercial values.
The Shared Fisheries Project is focused on improving the management of New Zealand’s “shared fisheries” – the fisheries where customary, amateur and commercial uses intersect. Most shared fisheries are inshore fisheries (including snapper, blue cod, kahawai, rock lobster and paua) but also include offshore fisheries such as game-fish and freshwater fisheries such as eels.
The project’s aim is to increase the value obtained from the use of shared fisheries. Value encompasses both market and non-market values associated with commercial, amateur and customary fishing. The project is wide in scope and addresses some complex issues. Two key objectives are to increase certainty in the allocation framework and to better recognise non-commercial values.
In October 2006 the Minister of Fisheries released “Shared Fisheries: A public discussion paper” for public consultation. The discussion paper proposed new ideas to enable increases in value from the use of shared fisheries resources and called for public submissions. The consultation period ended on 28 February 2007.
Summary of Submissions
Most submissions received during consultation supported the need to resolve one or more of the issues raised in the discussion paper. While there was general support for change there was no broad consensus on some important proposals. The issues of greatest concern to stakeholders related to allocation decisions.
Subsequent to the shared fisheries consultation, the Minister of Fisheries received a proposal from a group of key stakeholders, offering to form a working group including tangata whenua, commercial, and amateur stakeholders to develop a consensus on proposals to address key policy issues. The Minister has accepted the offer and is encouraged at this cross-sector collaboration on such contentious issues. The group has since expanded their representation from the amateur sector, and is currently working towards reporting to the Minister by the end of June 2008.
In October 2007 Cabinet approved the Minister’s plan to proceed to implement several non-contentious proposals, subject to funding support in the 2008 budget. These initiatives included:
- establishing an activity and catch reporting system for recreational charter boat operators;
- increased funding for a long-term research programme to improve information on amateur catches; and
- establishment of an Amateur Fishing Trust to assist existing representative organisations to improve their governance and capacity to have input into fisheries management, and to work with the sector on a long-term self sustaining structure for effective representation of amateur fishing interests.
Unfortunately, funding was not allocated in the budget for these initiatives, but the Ministry is proceeding with further consultation and regulations this year to enable recreational charter vessel registration and reporting.
The Minister is intending to report back to Cabinet on how to proceed in addressing the remaining issues consulted on in the shared fisheries public discussion document following the receipt of a final report from the stakeholder group.
Policy Commitments of New Government
The new Minister of Fisheries, Phil Heatley, has confirmed commitments made in the election campaign in respect of Shared Fisheries. These commitments are in three areas:
- Better information on amateur catches
- Amateur-only fishing areas
- Recreational charter vessel reporting
Options for increased funding support for research on amateur catches will be considered in the budget to be announced in May 2009. In addition, MFish is organising a series of workshops for the current year to improve national catch estimation survey methods, drawing on local and international expertise.
The Minister of Fisheries has initiated discussions with stakeholders and a process to develop proposals to implement amateur only fishing areas. Consultation on proposals is likely to occur later in 2009.
The Minister of Fisheries is committed to working with stakeholders on the implementation of recreational charter fishing vessel reporting. Results of the consultation on proposed regulations are being considered by the Minister. He intends meeting with key stakeholders to discuss options in the near future. See the following section for links to the initial position paper and summary of submissions.
Charter Boat Reporting
Consultation on Initial Position Paper Completed
The Initial Position Paper (IPP) on recreational charter fishing vessel reporting was released in September 2008 and submissions closed on 17 November. MFish thanks all those stakeholders who took the time to provide their views. The IPP document is available through the link below.
Download Initial Position Paper (PDF 224KB)
The IPP put forward a proposal to introduce regulations requiring all charter vessels to register with MFish and report their activity on a trip by trip basis. Catch reporting for a few species was also proposed. A wide range of views was evident in submissions, from opposition to any regulation of the sector to full support and suggestions to include more stocks in the catch reporting requirements.
Points made in submissions have been considered in formulating options for final decisions by the Minister of Fisheries. Before making these decisions the Minister will be meeting with key stakeholders from the sector to discuss alternatives for providing the required information.
Preliminary proposal and feedback from focus-group meetings
One of the Shared Fisheries decisions taken by Cabinet in October 2007 was to have the Ministry of Fisheries consult on the introduction of activity and catch reporting by recreational fishing charter boat operators.
To move ahead with this initiative, focus group meetings with charter boat operators were held throughout the country during February and March. The purpose of the meetings was to obtain pre-consultation feedback on issues that need to be taken into account when a detailed proposal is developed for consultation during mid-2008.
Meetings were held with charter boat operators in a number of locations:
- Havelock - 13 February
- Christchurch - 19 February
- Ohope – 3 March
- Auckland – 4 March
- Paihia – 31 March
The preliminary proposal is that all charter boats be registered with the Ministry of Fisheries and that obligations be placed on charter operators to provide reports on their activity and, if requested, their passengers catch.
The key elements of the proposal are set out in the diagram below.
Feedback from charter boat focus-group meetings
Feedback from consultation on the Shared Fisheries public discussion paper, released in 2006 showed that there is broad stakeholder support for proposals to improve information on amateur catch. Most of the charter operators we met with were reasonably positive about the proposal to provide information on their activity and catch. However, there was a general guardedness about government’s long-term intent and the possibility that the result might be an overly complex and expensive system. Some charter operators were strongly opposed to the proposal on these grounds, whereas others volunteered to work more closely with MFish to develop a practical and effective system.
More detail on the feedback from the meetings (PDF 74KB)
The material set out in this paper simply aims to record the issues raised, not to provide analysis or a response from MFish. The forthcoming IPP (September) will provide the next stage of analysis (see link previous section).
Are you on our contacts database?
If you were unable to attend one of our focus-group meetings but would like to be involved we would like to hear from you. You may wish to provide your contact details and/or provide your views directly to us using the dedicated email address of email@example.com
Joint Stakeholder Group makes final report to Minister
The Joint Stakeholder Group on Shared Fisheries (see older news here) formed in 2007 made its final report to the Minister of Fisheries in early November 2008. The task of coming to agreement across commercial and non-commercial fishing sectors on key shared fisheries issues has proved difficult. The Group has yet to reach conclusive agreement on the issues and has decided to delay doing so and revealing their views until they have fully considered the full range of their agenda. The group has been working hard and covering a lot of complex ground, but wisely has chosen not to rush such important considerations.
The work of the Group has been affected by the progress of the legal challenge to decisions on kahawai made by the Minister of Fisheries in 2005. The amateur appeal to the Supreme Court was heard during February with a decision currently anticipated by May 2009.
Shared Fisheries Cabinet Decision Discussed At Regional Recreational Forum National Hui
Representatives of the seven regional recreational forums discussed the implications of the recent Cabinet decisions on shared fisheries at the regional recreational forum national hui held in Wellington in November.
Discussion focussed on the establishment of an amateur fishing trust and on the introduction of activity and catch reporting to the marine recreational fishing charter vessel sector.
Key themes of reform discussed at national hui (PDF 21KB)
Shared fisheries policy moves ahead
The management of shared fisheries took a significant step forward in November 2007 when the Minister of Fisheries announced decisions taken by Cabinet on the next steps to progress reform.
Read the Minister's press release
The Minister has announced plans to:
- expand research to better estimate amateur fishers’ catch and values in key stocks
- establish an amateur fishing trust to assist the development of improved capacity for representation of amateur fishing sector interests
- consult with the sector on introducing activity and catch reporting by recreational charter boat operators
Joint stakeholder working group
Cabinet also agreed to delay the Minister’s report back on recommendations for advancing other aspects of shared fisheries policy reforms until July 2008.
The Minister has secured this delay to allow time for a joint stakeholder working group (comprised of Te Ohu Kaimoana, the Seafood Industry Council and the New Zealand Recreational Fishing Council) to develop joint policy proposals on shared fisheries reform.
The Minister supports this initiative as it provides a significant opportunity for the fishing sector to work together cooperatively on issues of common interest.
The working group is expected to provide its recommendations to the Minister in April 2008. After taking final advice from MFish the Minister will report back to Cabinet in July 2008 with recommendations on how best to advance the shared fisheries policy.
Download MFish Advice Paper to Cabinet (PDF 1MB)
Please note: this is a large document and may take time to download
MESSAGE FROM THE MINISTER
Fishing has always been important to New Zealand and New Zealanders. It is a major component of our economy and a central part of our heritage, our culture and our national identity.
Those of us who go fishing have a lot in common. Whether we fish for fun off the beach, to earn a living, or to put food on the table, we all share the same resource and the same interests in ensuring it is managed well.
The policy proposals introduced below, and set out more completely in the discussion document, focus on our “shared fisheries” – the fisheries where customary, recreational and commercial uses intersect. Here, the common interests of these users can be easily forgotten in the face of competing demands for access.
The challenge before us is to manage these important shared fisheries in a way that ensures New Zealand and New Zealanders get as much value as possible from them, not only today but into the future.
The ideas set out in the discussion paper represent some new proposals to unlock greater value from our shared fisheries. We face significant problems in these fisheries, and new approaches and decisive action are required.
All New Zealanders have and will continue to have a basic right to catch fish. But that accepted, we need to make some major changes if we are to achieve greater certainty in allocation decisions, build management capacity and produce more overall value from the fisheries.
It is important that we get the policy and legal framework right and this is where you, the fishers, come in. I encourage you to get involved with the process and play your part in moving the policy discussion ahead.
Please read the discussion paper, think about the proposals and options raised, and send us your views. All submissions will be carefully read and considered as part of the policy development process. You can be sure that your voice will be heard.
I look forward to hearing your thoughts over the next few months.
Hon Jim Anderton
Minister of Fisheries