Whakamaharatanga Marae Hui
A hui to discuss non-commercial fishing interests and Maori
10 - 11 November 2005
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
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.
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
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
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.
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
- 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
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
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.