Accord Hui Report
A hui to provide for the input and participation of tangata whenua having a non-commercial interest in fisheries, an interest in the effects of fishing on the aquatic environment and having particular regard to kaitiakitanga.
- 7 April 2006
Graeme Morrell and George Riley, Pou Hononga, Ministry of Fisheries
It was encouraging the Ministry had confirmed during the hui that the Hokianga Accord was still considered to be the mid-north Forum.
Sonny and Scott were acknowledged for their input into the Te Matau A Maui Maori Fisheries Conference, held in Napier at the end of February. The Pou Hononga had received positive feedback from that event.
The Freshwater Fisheries Forum had met recently. The issue of funding was raised early in the hui. TOKM’s Tania McPherson advised the hui that as a result of Te Arawa’s stand during the 1992 Deed of Settlement formation, a pool of funding had been reserved for freshwater fisheries development. All the iwi at the freshwater Forum regard tuna (eels) as very important, as a ‘status fishery’.
National Iwi Forum
Graeme acknowledged Ngapuhi’s input into the National Iwi Chairpersons Hui as being of great value for all Maori. Ngapuhi, through Sonny, had been tasked with reporting and assisting other iwi on environmental, customary, recreational and commercial fishing issues plus aquaculture. Forty-one of the fifty nine iwi chairpersons were at the Wellington hui in early March to hear Sonny’s presentation on fishing interests and marine reserves.
Marangai Taiamai Management
Carl Ross, the leader of the Customary Relationship Unit (CRU), Te Tari o te Kahui Pou Hononga, had confirmed there would be some assistance to help the Marangai Taiamai management team with public education and any other outstanding issues. The kaitiaki were encouraged to finalise their plan as soon as possible so they could take advantage of this Ministry offer.
Other Iwi Forums
There was intense interest in what the Hokianga Accord was doing. Other forums were watching to see what tangata whenua and Pakeha could achieve by working together. There were currently five iwi forums including one on the Chatham Islands. The eight iwi at the top of the South Island had met once to discuss the Forum concept. The Pou Hononga appreciated the work the Hokianga Accord had done for all tangata whenua around the country.
Graeme confirmed the other forums submit their own agenda for hui, as the Hokianga Accord does, but those agendas are altered to fit in with Ministry’s attendance at those hui. For the past six months tangata kaitiaki and the Forum members had taken the lead in respect of managing their own hui.
The establishment of the second Forum in Tai Tokerau was progressing slowly. Other priorities for some of the iwi involved had meant the formation of the Forum had to wait. However, they were taking an interest in the Hokianga Accord. June is the Ministry’s target date for meeting their commitment; Muriwhenua and MFish were hoping to have an iwi Forum established by then.
Iwi in the far north would attempt to re-establish the Toheroa Accord in the last week of April. The Accord was originally established in October 2004. At that time tangata whenua decided not to issue permits for toheroa, in the interests of preserving the resource.
Northern Regional Recreational Fishing Forum
Paul Batten, Mangawhai Boating and Fishing Club
The northern Forum covers the area from Mangawhai on the east coast, across to Dargaville and all the area north of that line. Members at the last meeting were John Torr (Whangarei), Craig Worthington (Russell), Geoff Stone (Russell), John Holdsworth (Matapouri), Paul Batten (Mangawhai), Simon Howard (Kerikeri), Richard Civil (Kerikeri), Keith Edwards (Whangarei), Graeme Heapy (Kerikeri), Steve Radich (Kaikohe), Des Subritsky (Dargaville), Doug McColl (Mangonui), John Chibnall (Paihia) and two Ministry personnel Stephanie Hill and Todd Sylvester.
Paul considered the people at the Hokianga Accord hui were more representative of the Northland recreational fishing community than the regional recreational Forum. It would make more sense to have the regional recreational Forum and the Hokianga Accord combined into one Forum. Many members of the regional fishing forums do not have an in-depth understanding of the important issues facing recreational fishers.
Paul advised he would be happy to share information from the regional Forum meetings with the Hokianga Accord. There had been two meetings of the regional recreational Forum to date. Until now the Ministry had asked for agenda items and had managed the meetings.
Due to the reorganisation of the day’s agenda the following day’s programme would be amended to include the presentations not already given during the course of the day. The hui closed for the night with a waiata, Te Aroha, and a karakia (prayer) by Larry Baldock
Friday 7th April
In recognition of the Ministry team’s limited availability the previous day, the scheduled Whakawhanaungatanga session acknowledging apologies and messages from people unable to attend the hui was read out at the beginning of the second day. Around thirty people were in attendance for the beginning of the session with more arriving during the course of the morning.
— Apologies & Support
Sonny Tau, Chairman
Tainui’s Tom Moana
had sent through an apology and a series of questions that were
put to the Ministry personnel the previous day. Sonny read the apology
from the co-chair of Nga Hapu O Te Uru Forum in full (Appendix
One). Next was an apology and message of support from the New
Zealand Recreational Fishing Council president, Keith Ingram (Appendix
Two). Another encouraging message was read to the hui, this
one from NZRFC Board member, Bill Ross (Appendix
Apologies were also received and acknowledged from Richard Baker, Hugh Barr, Terry Beckett, Stuart Cameron, Geoff Cope, Jonathan Dick (MFish, Nelson), Don Glass, Naida Glavish (Chairperson, Ngati Whatua), Rendt Gorter, Laly Haddon (Chairman, Ngati Wai), Annette Hall, Robert Willoughby, Richard Jordan, Ron Hepworth, Lionel Sands (Haines Hunter), Mook Hohneck (Ngati Manuhiri), Peter King (Mayor, Kaipara DC & KHSMG), Mike Lee (Chairman, ARC), Richard Lintott, Geoff Manks, Clive Monds, Stephen Naera, Dave Pattemore (Forest & Bird), Steve Radich (reporter, Northern Advocate), Lew Ritchie (Northland Conservation Board), Rob Ritchie, Stuart Ryan, Pete Saul, Mark Solomon (Chairman, Ngai Tahu), Edward Sundstrum, John Torr, Metiria Turei (Green Party), Wiremu Wiremu and Tom Hunsdale.
Set Net Review
Paul Barnes, option4
There had been numerous concerns expressed about set netting and whether it was an appropriate method to catch fish. Around 1992 a taskforce was established to discuss the issue and Paul was part of that group.
The taskforce produced a set of recommendations including alternative mesh sizes and closed areas, particularly for sensitive reef areas. They secured a set net ban around the Mokohinau Islands and around parts of both Barrier Islands. A code of practice was suggested to reduce wastage.
The current review is to ensure the set net controls were achieving the objective of reducing wastage, and if not, what measures were required to address that.
Input and Participation - Working Group Process
Trish Rea, option4
Trish has been participating in the Ministry of Fisheries’ Working Group processes for the past three years. With the assistance of John Holdsworth, Trish had represented recreational fishing interests at fifteen to twenty meetings. Not once had there been any input and participation by tangata whenua with a non-commercial fishing interest at those meetings. There had been the occasional attendance of Maori commercial interests, supported by TOKM.
While the meetings were very focussed on the science of fisheries management it was important tangata whenua participated and had their say at these meetings. John Holdsworth is the expert and is very helpful in explaining the more science-based arguments.
Reports are written after these meetings and are available for tangata whenua to read. Anyone wanting to receive the reports, to understand what was happening in fisheries of importance to non-commercial fishers, were encouraged to let Trish know directly so she could arrange for that to occur.
Clive Monds, of Thames, was acknowledged for his valuable contribution to the Working Group meetings. He had been involved in the sustainability processes since the early 1990’s and had a great depth of knowledge of fisheries management and the environmental impact of fishing.
Working Group Process
Before tangata whenua could have meaningful input into fisheries management it was important to understand the processes that supported management decisions. Tangata whenua were encouraged to get involved.
The review of a fishery through the Working Group process usually occurred over several years. Depending on the outcome of the review the Ministry then decide whether to issue an Initial Position Paper (IPP) setting out their suggestions for management changes. The public, including tangata whenua, have a set timeframe (around six weeks) to write submissions in response to the Ministry’s proposal. Submissions are collated, summarised in advice to the Minister and the Minister decides what management changes are required, based on the Ministry advice.
Generally IPP’s are issued around January and May in order for the Minister to make decisions for the commercial fishing years beginning on April 1st and October 1st.
Part of the scoping exercise the 'short line-out' had planned could include a session on mapping out the fisheries management process to answer questions such as timing of IPP’s and the annual sustainability round.
New Zealand Big Game Fishing Council
The Ministry manage the Working Group process for all stakeholders. The purpose of these groups is to:
- Request science or new information on fisheries
- Review this science or new information
- Incorporate this information into a Working Group report
- The Working Group report is reviewed annually, in May, at a Plenary session
At the last snapper Working Group meeting held in Auckland John was the only non-commercial fishing representative in attendance. Clive Monds represented environmental interests at this meeting. The remainder of attendees were research providers such as NIWA staff reporting back on research projects and Ministry of Fisheries personnel.
A greater understanding of fisheries is gained through attending these meetings that are chaired by MFish staff. John pointed out some interesting trends in Snapper 1 catch, the snapper stock on the east coast of the North Island from North Cape to Cape Runaway on the East Coast.
Snapper 1 (SNA1)
Less snapper are being caught by longliners and the trend is towards higher catches of snapper by trawlers. Trawling is a much more economical way of catching fish than longlining. The iki jime market for New Zealand snapper in Japan had collapsed so the demand for premium quality fish had declined. The Japanese are farming snapper to supply their own needs.
The trend to more trawling could be good for Northland as there were many areas off the north east coast that cannot be accessed by trawlers. Longliners have far more flexibility about where they can set their gear.
Another discernable trend is the shift of focus from the traditional Hauraki Gulf area as the main snapper fishery within SNA1, to the Bay of Plenty. As the Bay of Plenty fishery had recovered more fish were being taken commercially, from that area, than out of the Gulf or the north east coast.
The noticeable increase in the catch of smaller snapper in east Northland could be attributed to the increased longlining effort concentrated around the lower Northland coastline rather than in the far north. It was also likely that this was evidence of a strong year class coming through the fishery. This was probably due to a warm year with good sea conditions several years ago that resulted in more snapper larvae surviving and growing big enough to be caught.
Currently there are a good number of six-year-old fish coming through the fishery and becoming available to northern non-commercial fishers as 27cm fish. There is also a strong year class of nine-year-old snapper so the future prospects for snapper fishing are looking relatively good for Northland fishermen.
Changes in catch rates for different methods could also be attributed to changes in fishermen’s behaviour. The move from longlining to trawler caught fish could produce catch trends that could be interpreted as increasing catch rates for trawlers. Unless non-commercial fishers attend the Working Group meetings to point out this trend commercial fishers could easily argue the fishery was improving, when it was only a change in fishing patterns that had occurred.
The trend to more trawling could also improve the catch rates of longliners still in the fishery. With less competition in the areas suitable for longlining the catch trend is likely to increase. This trend could also be interpreted as an improvement in the fishery, when in fact it would only be a change in fishing patterns that had created the perceived increase in catch rates.
There had been some discussion about conducting a tag, release and recapture programme in Area 1. This would determine the size of the snapper population i.e. how many tonnes of snapper were in the fishery. Commercial interests were likely to object to paying the costs for this survey as it is an expensive exercise that they would be expected to contribute to.
- Non-commercial fishers endorse the need for a snapper tagging programme in area 1.
- Non-commercial fishers highlight that the Hauraki Gulf and Bay of Plenty snapper stocks are currently below the target stock level that the Ministry require under the Fisheries Act 1996.
- A stock assessment is urgently required in snapper 1.
Industry had over caught their quota in Snapper 1 by 137 tonnes over the past year. In Snapper 2 (East Cape to Wellington) they had exceeded their quota by 26% over the same period. The over catch rate in Snapper 8 (West coast North Island) was 11% during the last fishing year.
Although the Ministry set quota catch levels the fishing industry were allowed to overrun these levels as long as they paid a penalty fee called a deemed value. Non-commercial fishers needed to highlight that snapper is an important shared fishery and a stock assessment is required to determine how many fish are in the water and the impact the excess catch is having on the sustainable level of snapper.
Input and Participation
There were other Working Groups that option4 attended on behalf of non-commercial fishers and John would welcome the opportunity to mentor anyone from the Hokianga Accord who would like to get involved in this process.
The opportunity exists for the Hokianga Accord to accept the reports written by John and Trish after the Working Group meetings and adopt or reject the recommendations contained within those reports. This would give John and Trish the ability to return to the Working Group process with a mandated position on behalf of the Accord.
Ngapuhi would discuss the need to have a presence at these Working Group meetings to gain an understanding and have input and participation, later.
Ultimately the cost of having a presence at these meetings would need to be shared. Currently option4 and the NZBGFC bear the costs and are happy to continue to do so. If the charitable trust discussed earlier in the hui is properly organised there may be an opportunity to have that trust support this type of activity as it would be provision of “input and participation” in fisheries management. Ngapuhi assured the hui that they would cover their costs of involvement.
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