What follows is a summary of a Ministry of Fisheries paper on Fisheries Plans.
In Many places I have simplified the language and probably the meaning.
This does not represent my own view and the Ministry may have changed some of their views since, but this is all I was sent following a request for an update in early Feb 2001.
Fisheries Management in the Future.
Fisheries plans are an opportunity for people with an interest in a fishery to develop and set down a common understanding about fisheries management. They will provide for a greater say in fisheries management by commercial, Maori and recreational fishers. Fisheries plans will not override existing customary management practices. Fisheries plans will provide an opportunity for customary values to be recognised, not just in respect of traditional fisheries, but also in terms of the management of the resource as a whole. Fisheries plans will also provide greater flexibility to respond to local initiatives so that those directly involved in a fishery can determine how best to manage the fishery. Fisheries management decisions will continue to be made by the Minister on an annual basis. The Minister's decisions must take into account the aims and objectives of an agreed plan.
Fisheries plans can apply to:
- one or more fish species OR
- an area of sea
- a medium to long term time frame.
Fisheries plans are:
- a statement of the medium to long term management objectives, and the ways of achieving these, for a specific area or fishery
- a statement of how "sustainable use" will be acheived for a particular area or fishery
- a guide for fisheries management decisions in that area or fishery.
A fisheries plan should contain statements about key areas such as:
- Setting a safe level of harvest
- Achieving environment objectives for
- associated or dependent species
- biological diversity
- habitats of particular significance for fisheries management
- Ways of policing and researching the fishery or area effectively.
Fisheries plans should provide commercial, Maori and the Public with:
- greater certainty about long-term fisheries management goals
- a way to manage fisheries in a cooperative way
- ability to use fisheries resources to provide for their own social, economic and cultural well being, so long as the use of fisheries is sustainable
- encouragement, where appropriate, to be more responsible and accountable for fisheries management.
The Ministry of Fisheries want to create an environment in which people can determine how best to provide for their own needs, where fisheries are used sustainably but in a way that does not stop innovation or new opportunities.
The Ministry of Fisheries want fisheries management in the future to allow for commercial, Maori and the Public to develop harvest plans, or research and compliance plans themselves.
They say it will allow commercial, Maori and the Public to determine how their interests about a fishery can be best taken into account.
Development of Fisheries Plans
Stakeholders are able to work on fisheries plans for fisheries other than those identified by MFish as case studies. A plan does not always need to be written by MFish.
However a plan should be developed in an open process that provides for all those with an interest in the fishery in a meaningful way. The inability to demonstrate that the interests of all participants were taken into account is likely to be an important factor in the Minister's consideration of a plan.
Both MFish and stakeholders have at any one time a limited time and money to develop fisheries plans. As a result a joint approach to the development of fisheries plan is not only desirable but most practical way for all concerned.
The Fisheries Plan Project
What is happening?
A MFish project team has been formed to develop a framework for fisheries plans. To assist with developing the framework, MFish will work with stakeholders to develop four fisheries plans as initial case studies.
What will the fisheries plan framework do?
The framework for fisheries plans will detail three broad areas:
- contents of fisheries
- plans processes to develop, approve, and monitor fisheries plans.
- The framework will provide a guide for people that want to start their own fisheries plan.
The case studies will provide working examples to aid the development of the general framework. Two of the case studies have been selected in order to give effect to Ministerial directions:
- Paua 5B (Stewart Island) to be co-ordinated by the Dunedin office urgent sustainability issue, requirement to rebuild the fishery, support from stakeholder organisation for a fisheries plan
- Oreo (for all New Zealand waters) to be co-ordinated by the Wellington office opportunity to integrate species management issues with adjustment of management areas, support from stakeholder organisation for a fisheries plan
Additional case studies will be co-ordinated by the Auckland and Nelson offices. The case studies for these offices have yet to be finalised.
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