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Hui Report Nov 2005

Whakamaharatanga Marae Hui
Page 8

(PDF 450Kb)

A hui to discuss non-commercial fishing interests and Maori customary forums
10 - 11 November 2005


Spatial Issues

Paul Barnes, option4

The "race for space" is driven by the fact that the amount of area closed by marine protection management tools is limited to a level below what will displace commercial fishing effort. That is, the test that is used by MFish during a marine protection investigation considers whether the closure will "adversely" affect commercial fishers ability to harvest their quota within the Quota Management Area.

This implies that there is a limit on the total amount of area that can be given marine protected status. Eventually, it would not be possible to have a marine protected area without exceeding the threshold.

Currently, the Department of Conservation is filling the available space (for marine protection) with marine reserves. The outcome of this strategy is that there is less area available for tangata whenua to have a mataitai or taiapure in.

Maori are losing the opportunity to choose the best areas for Maori management tools. DoC is confiscating these areas for no-take marine reserves, forever.

One of the ways to deal with this situation is to reverse the order so Maori have the first choice of management. This could be achieved through standard principles being included in every hapu/iwi management plan for the whole of the country's coastline.

One of the principles should include the stipulation that before the Minister approves any marine reserve application Maori are given the first opportunity to investigate whether a customary management tool such as a mataitai or taiapure could achieve the same objective/s as the proposed marine reserve.

This strategy effectively means Maori would be given the first option to manage the important area and DoC are left with the whatever space is leftover before the "adverse" impact effect is taken into account.

The Ministry has failed to implement strategies to give effect to the Treaty of Waitangi (Fisheries Claims) Settlement Act 1992 for 13 years. DoC had been given a head start in the race to grab the best parts of the coastline.

This marine protection strategy is a golden opportunity for MFish to discharge its responsibilities to tangata whenua by providing for the true and meaningful "input and participation" of Maori in this process. It would also restore some goodwill into the process on MFish's behalf.

Iwi/Hapu Plans

If the principles were included in every iwi/hapu plan then there would be consistency around the country. If the management plans are accepted by the statutory bodies such as regional or local councils, the Minister of Fisheries is then obliged to consider the plans when making concurrence decisions.

If the Minister (or Ministry) does not consider the plans before giving concurrence then he can be held accountable.

Tangata whenua do not need DoC telling them where they can have a mataitai or taiapure by pushing a marine reserve in before any customary management tool can be implemented.

Maori need to demand the same respect as commercial fishers are given in terms of thresholds of acceptability. Why should commercial fishers be considered in the current tests for adverse effects and not the effect it would have on tangata whenua's ability to exercise their kaitiakitanga?

Currently MFish considers the effect on customary fishing but not the effect on the loss of space to implement Maori customary management tools.

In the Great Barrier Island scenario the marine reserve includes over 60% of the east coast rocky hard shoreline and extends out to the 12-mile limit. The displacement of the fishing effort (commercial, customary and recreational) to the remaining coastline would have inevitable adverse impacts on that part of the coast. This displacement effort has not been fully considered.

It also unlikely, with a marine reserve of this size, that a mataitai would be approved on the east coast of the island.

It would be appropriate to include a threshold in the iwi/hapu plans stipulating the amount of area that is required to satisfy tangata whenua's aspirations to exercise their kaitiakitanga. That way MFish and DoC would know what is acceptable to Maori before they initiate their own plans.

Fisheries Focus

The second principle required in iwi/hapu fisheries plans is to do with fish species of importance. The plan should identify all the species of fish in the area that the plan covers. The list should be broken into two categories:

  • Fish that are reasonably important.
The plan should state that to provide for customary fishing it is imperative that these fisheries are always managed above the biomass required to produce maximum sustainable yield (Bmsy). And never managed below Bmsy.
  • Fish that are very important.
As a principle of the plan, these fisheries should always be managed above or significantly above the biomass required to produce maximum sustainable yield (Bmsy). And never managed below Bmsy.

The driver that creates the support for marine reserves is fisheries mismanagement. It is the frustration from the environmental sector that the Quota Management System and its implementation by the Ministry has failed to achieve its objectives.

If the iwi/hapu plans include the two perspectives, to use customary tools as a priority if they can achieve what the MPA is supposed to achieve, and, to manage the fisheries at healthy levels then the pressure for more marine reserves would be reduced.

The ideology that if people are given a property right they will look after the asset has failed in the QMS. The economic drivers in the commercial industry forces fishers to look at the short term returns rather than take a long-term view.

There is no recognition in the QMS of best practice; the most gains go to the most economic fisher not those who look after the fishery.

If the Ministry follow the proportional allocation model there will be no incentive to conserve as all cuts or gains would be equal regardless of fishing behaviour.

If these principles are included in every iwi/hapu plan around the country, are accepted as management initiatives and therefore implemented it would disempower those who are constantly attacking the publics right to fish and tangata whenua's right to manage themselves. All this because the fisheries are being mismanaged. Maori have the tools to address both these fundamental issues.




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