hui to discuss non-commercial fishing interests and Maori customary
Paul Barnes gave an overview
of definitions and an explanation of terms used when discussing
Bmsy is –
of biomass, or numbers of fish in the water, that will support
the Maximum Sustainable Yield (MSY).
MSY is –
yield that can be achieved over time while maintaining the stock's
productive capacity, having regard to the population dynamics
of the stock and any environmental factors that influence the
stock  .
A virgin fishery is a fishery
that is unfished. In NZ fisheries management terms they usually
use 1931 as the year fish stocks were in their original state, unfished
commercially on a large scale. There are lots of big fish and very
few small fish in a virgin fishery.
As you fish the fish stock
down it is like cutting your lawn. Fisheries management aims to
a level between 20 to 25% of the original (virgin) stock size. This
means around 75% of the fish are extracted from the water. Fisheries
managers consider the 20-25% level to be the most productive level
for a fishery. There will be lots of small, fast growing fish left
in the water. We do not believe that small, fast growing fish are
what Maori customary or other non-commercial fishers want.
Snapper 8 (SNA8) 
on the west coast of the North Island is down to 10% of the
virgin stock size, 90% of the stock has been removed. The outcome
of this management strategy is there are fewer fish, the fish are
more dispersed, making them harder to catch and there are fewer
year classes. There are also less big fish available.
The Minister addressed the
NZRFC earlier in the year and said that he wants to manage shared
fisheries above Bmsy or significantly above Bmsy. This means more
than 25% of the virgin stock size will be left in the water making
the yield slightly less than what it is now.
Maori need to be aware that
managing fisheries above Bmsy could mean cuts to commercial and
possibly non-commercial limits, including customary take, as the
Fishing during spawning
Fishing during spawning season
makes very little difference to the numbers of fish in the water.
More important is water temperature. If the water is warm then most
of the eggs that are produced hatch and survive. In colder years
the majority of these eggs die. Warm water on the east coast of
the North Island can result in up to 25 million snapper making it
through to become one-year old fish due to the water temperature.
In a cold year only half a million snapper may survive to the one-year
Fishing during spawning season
only results in a small percentage of the total fishery being removed
from the water therefore only a small amount of eggs have been lost
from the water. We don't have a shortage of eggs in the snapper
or scallop fisheries. What we need is the right environmental conditions
for those eggs to survive i.e. Warm water, good water quality.
At the previous hui we
all agreed (including MFish) that mataitai and taiapure were potentially
excellent tools for managing sedentary species but were unlikely
to have much effect on mobile finfish stocks.
With the limited resources
being offered by the Ministry to the Hokianga Accord we should consider
concentrating our efforts, the Extension Officer's efforts and formulating
Fisheries Plans to focus on these tools.
Managing vast areas of coastline
using mataitai and taiapure does not seem to be an effective strategy,
at this stage. If aspirations cannot be met using mataitai or taiapure
then the Forum needs to look at promoting the subdivision of the
Quota Management Areas (QMA'S) into smaller areas.
Recent history has proved
that areas such as the Kaipara Harbour require much finer scale
management that is currently being used. With smaller QMA's commercial
quotas can be set to allow a fishery to rebuild. The management
toolbox we have at the moment is inadequate for finfish species.
An obvious flaw that we need
to consider with a mataitai is the issue of commercial take. Initially
commercial fishing is prohibited from a mataitai. If approved, commercial
fishers can be allowed to fish within a mataitai but no specific
fisherman can be nominated. There is no provision to give existing
fishers first priority to continue their activity within the mataitai
area. This could conceivably create opposition from commercial
operators who could be fulfilling the needs of the local community.
This is an unnecessary impediment to the creation of a mataitai
that we will need to discuss.
Achieving our objective for
finfish stocks means the Forum will need to have input and participation
in the fisheries management processes.
The value of the Hokianga
Accord is that we can pool our resources, bring in other people
from different iwi to work with us, learn from those more experienced
and collaborate to achieve the fisheries outcomes we want - fisheries
managed above Bmsy. "more fish in the water".
Collectively we can consult
widely and submit jointly on Ministry proposals. There is no reason
why the Forum cannot suggest measures such as GPS monitoring for
commercial fishing activity in inshore waters.
The Hokianga Accord should expect the Minister to meet his obligations
according to section 12 of the Fisheries Act that stipulates he must
provide for the input and participation of tangata whenua
and shall have particular regard to kaitiakitanga .
"We have only just
started, in the last couple of years to look at a planned approach
to fisheries management. It went to laisser faire with quota.
The responsibility went to commercial fishers, Maori and everybody
to look at their own rights and exercise them. It worked to an
extent but it didn't work for the fisheries. Our new Chief Executive
[John Glaister] has taken a step back and said no,
he wants the Ministry to retain a role in there, lead the development
of structured fisheries plans including targets but they must
include everybody's aspirations. That's where he wants to go."
The development of fisheries
plans was discussed over the course of the hui. Several iwi/hapu
have initiated their own plans for their rohe, with one almost completed.
After some discussion it became obvious that additional funding
will be required to implement and maintain the plans. Funding will
also be required to assist with research requirements.
Historically, developing fisheries plans in conjunction with commercial
fishing interests has not proved successful. One recreational representative
explained his experience of attending over 70 consultation meetings
with commercial fishing representatives for no tangible outcome.
"The Minister still
has discretion with fisheries management decisions but the Ministry
are recommending the Forum puts together fisheries plans for species
of importance. The Minister has to take those plans into consideration.
If passed, other departments such as the Department of Conservation
and local authorities will have to consider that plan as well
when they make decisions."
The evaluation section of
the hui is always the best time to judge the value of a hui.
As the participants individually stood and expressed how they had
been touched by the issues discussed at in the Forum. Some
of the comments were magnificent and the growth of individuals was
tangible. Some of the conclusions will be raised again in future
hui as more often than not individuals find something to say after
hearing others first express their views.
One particular comment is
memorable – "Don't forget us young people, we have so much
energy and desire to contribute." Beautifully said and an absolute
challenge for all involved. It is critical we bring forward new
people, young people to become involved as early as possible.
The two-day hui had been
another successful event for Maori customary, Maori recreational
and non-Maori recreational fishing interests. The presence of the
MFish team was appreciated, as they were able to respond immediately
to the many questions put to them. The facilitator, Sonny Tau, had
done another outstanding job and was well supported by Graeme Morrell.
There is a good relationship
developing amongst participants to these hui aided by the free and
frank exchange of information. Tangata whenua and non-Maori alike
continue to learn a great deal from each other.
Using our collective strengths
and skills to address common issues is a prospect worth striving
for and the commitment from all parties is encouraging.
The contribution and leadership
being shown by the kaumatua is deeply appreciated. It is particularly
significant as the venue, the Whakamaharatanga Marae, was a fisheries
wananga (learning institute) in previous times.
The true test of the Hokianga Accord's success will be when we follow
through with our first mataitai, taiapure or temporary closure application.
The response will be a measurable outcome of what we have achieved
and what needs reviewing. Participants to the Forum are very aware
that there are many sceptics who will need educating in the benefits
of what we are trying to collectively achieve.
Working Groups will be drafting
the Terms of Reference and Memorandum of Understanding for distribution
and feedback from Forum participants. The final drafts will be presented
at the next hui for further additions and endorsement.
This hui did not have time
to develop a strategic plan for the Forum as discussions focussed
on the Principles, Terms of Reference and the MOU. The strategy
will become more obvious once these documents and the Forum participants,
including the executive, are appointed.
The facilitator thanked all in attendance
with a special thanks to Keith Ingram, President of the New Zealand
Recreational Fishing Council for making himself available to the
hui. The Council will become an integral part of the Forum as we
squeeze the Ministry into actioning our concerns. MFish were also
well represented and the Forum certainly appreciates their input.
The next hui will be held
from 10th to 11th November at a venue to be confirmed.
Fisheries Act 1996
The SNA8 fishery is in a very vulnerable state at the moment
and has been for some time. Consultation is currently underway on
future management of this species. The Minister is expected to make
a final decision before October 1st 2005.