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Hui Report Aug 2005


 

Report

Whakamaharatanga Marae Hui

Page 3

A hui to discuss non-commercial fishing interests and Maori customary forums

29-30 August 2005

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Contents Appendices
Fisheries management Appendix One

Management input

 

Fisheries Plans

 
Conclusion  

Fisheries Management

Paul Barnes gave an overview of definitions and an explanation of terms used when discussing fisheries.

Definitions

Bmsy is –

The level of biomass, or numbers of fish in the water, that will support the Maximum Sustainable Yield (MSY).

MSY is –

The greatest 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 [1] .

Current Management

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) [2] 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 fishery rebuilds.

Fishing during spawning season

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 stage.

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.

Customary Management Tools

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.

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Management Input

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 .

 

MFish Response

"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."

Fisheries Plans

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.

 

MFish Response

"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."

Conclusion

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.

 

[1] Fisheries Act 1996

[2] 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.

 

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