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Appendix Two


Hui Report

Appendix Two

July 2005



Appendix Two

Answers to Questions posed by the Chairman of Ngapuhi, Sonny Tau


In order to gain some understanding of Maori customary and fisheries management tools a list of questions were put to the Ministry of Fisheries prior to the July hui. The following is the written answers received from MFish.

Specifics of each customary tool Are fish numbers affected?
Definition of each tool Are shellfish numbers affected?
Maximum & minimum size What is biomass and MSY?
Where are these tools being used? Our access to fish
Process, establishment and outcomes of existing tools. Purpose of daily bag limits
Minimum size limits


Questions 1 & 2

The specifics pertaining to the Maori customary tools available:

  • mataitai reserves
  • taiapure-local fisheries
  • rahui (s 186A temporary measures.


the Ministry's definitions of each of these tools.


Mataitai reserves

Mataitai reserves are identified traditional fishing-grounds that are established under the Fisheries (South Island Customary Fishing) Regulations 1999 or the Fisheries (Kaimoana Customary Fishing) Regulations 1998.

Once Tangata Kaitiaki have been appointed for an area under the kaimoana regulations, the tangata whenua who notified the Tangata Kaitiaki or the Tangata Kaitiaki may apply for a mataitai reserve within their area/rohe moana. Once consultation has taken place and should the application meet all the regulatory criteria, the Minister of Fisheries must declare an area to be a mataitai reserve.

Tangata Kaitiaki are then appointed for the area within the mataitai reserve, and they have the power to recommend to the Minister:

  • the making of bylaws to manage non-commercial fishing activities within the reserve
  • the reinstatement of commercial takes of specific species by quantity or time period within the reserve.

Bylaws for the management of non-commercial fisheries may impose restrictions or prohibitions relating to all or any of the following: species, quantity, size, method, area or areas, and any other matters the Tangata Kaitiaki considers necessary for the sustainable utilisation of fisheries resources in the mataitai reserve.

Taiapure-local fisheries

Under s175 of the Fisheries Act 1996 (the Act), taiapure-local fisheries can be established in relation to areas of New Zealand fisheries waters (being estuarine or littoral coastal waters) that have customarily been of special significance to any iwi or hapu either as a source of food or for spiritual or cultural reasons in order to make better provision for the recognition of rangatiratanga and the right secured in relation to fisheries by Article II of the Treaty of Waitangi.

Proposals for a taiapure-local fishery must explain how the area is important to local Maori, why the taiapure-local fishery is needed, what types of controls are proposed to achieve the objectives of the taiapure-local fishery, and how other users of the area are likely to be affected. The proposal then enters a three-stage process that provides for public and stakeholder consultation.

Once a taiapure-local fishery proposal has been approved, the Minister of Fisheries appoints a committee of management from those nominated by the local Maori community. The committee can then recommend regulations to the Minister for the management and conservation of fish, aquatic life or seaweed in the taiapure-local fishery.

As commercial fishing can continue in a taiapure-local fishery, this tool offers a way for tangata whenua to become involved in the management of both commercial and non-commercial fishing.

Section 186A temporary measures

Under s 186A of the Act, the Minister of Fisheries can temporarily close an area in the North or Chatham Islands, or restrict or prohibit a fishing method in respect of any species of fish, aquatic life, or seaweed for the purpose of recognising and making provision for the use and management practices of tangata whenua in the exercise of their non-commercial fishing rights.

The intention of these measures is to improve the availability and/or size of a species of fish, aquatic life or seaweed in the area subject to the closure, restriction, or prohibition; or to recognise a customary fishing practice in that area, such as a rahui.

A temporary closure, restriction or prohibition is in place for a maximum of two years, but it can be renewed once assessed against the aims outlined above. Temporary closures, restrictions or prohibitions apply to all fishing-customary, recreational, and commercial.

Temporary closures, restrictions or prohibitions are suitable as short-term measures in response to more urgent management issues, while more suitable longer-term measures are considered.

Questions 3 and 4

What is the maximum (minimum) size these areas can be?


Mataitai reserves

The kaimoana customary fishing regulations do not specify any minimum or maximum size for a mataitai reserve. However, the criteria outlined in these regulations for assessing a mataitai reserve application place restrictions on the size of a reserve, in that a reserve must be an area:

  • where there is a special relationship between tangata whenua making the application and the proposed mataitai reserve (regulation 23(1)(a))
  • that is an identified traditional fishing ground and is of a size appropriate to effective management by tangata whenua (regulations 23(1)(c)).

It is possible that consideration of other criteria in the kaimoana regulations could result in changes being made to the boundaries of a proposed mataitai reserve. These criteria assess any impacts the proposed reserve would have on the ability of the local community to take fish, aquatic life, or seaweed; and any prevention on commercial fishers taking fisheries resources, as well as those persons who take for non-commercial purposes (regulation 23(1)(e)).

In practice, the three established mataitai reserves, outlined below, are relatively small in size. The outstanding applications cover areas that vary significantly in size, with one extending from the coastline to the 12-nautical mile territorial sea and another covering the coastal area, possibly only the inter-tidal zone. It should be noted that these applications are being assessed on a case-by-case basis.

Taiapure-local fisheries

The Act does not specify any minimum or maximum size for a taiapure-local fishery. Section 174 of the Act restricts a taiapure-local fishery to estuarine or littoral waters that have been customarily of special significance to any iwi or hapu either as a source of food or for spiritual or cultural reasons. Estuarine and littoral waters are not defined in legislation, however, a definition of both may be provided in the forthcoming High Court judicial review proceeding for a taiapure-local fishery application in Akaroa Harbour.

It is possible that the boundaries of a proposed taiapure-local fishery could be amended in response to the impact it might have on the general welfare of the community in the vicinity of the area that would be declared a taiapure-local fishery, or due to the impact on those persons having a special interest in the same area, as outlined in s176 of the Act.

Section 186A temporary measures

Section 186A of the Act does not define the size of the area that can be considered for a temporary measure. However, the purpose of a temporary measure is either to improve the availability or size (or both) of a species in the area subject to a particular measure, or recognise a customary fishing practice in that area. Meeting this purpose will, therefore, restrict the area in which the measure will apply.

Question 5

Where are these tools being used elsewhere in the country?


Mataitai reserves

There are three mataitai reserves, all of which are in the South Island. The first mataitai reserve was declared on 18 December 1998 at Rapaki Bay, Lyttelton Harbour (Banks Peninsula). The second reserve was declared in December 2000 at Koukourärata Harbour, Banks Peninsula, and the third was declared in December 2004 at Te Whaka a Te Wera Rakiura, Paterson Inlet on Stewart Island.

Taiapure-local fisheries

There are seven taiapure local-fisheries throughout the country. The first taiapure-local fishery was established in July 1995 at Palliser Bay on the south Wairarapa coast. Taiapure local-fisheries have been subsequently established at:

  • Maketu in the Bay of Plenty (September 1996)
  • Porangahau in southern Hawkes Bay (December 1996)
  • Waikare Inlet in the Bay of Islands (December 1997)
  • East Otago (July 1999)
  • Kawhia Harbour on the west coast of the North Island (May 2000)
  • Delaware Bay, north of Nelson (February 2002).

Section 186A temporary measures

There are six 186A temporary measures throughout the North Island. These include:

  • Mt Maunganui-closed to the take of green-lipped mussels
  • Pukerua Bay (north of Porirua)-all methods prohibited except hand-lining
  • Hicks Bay-closed to the take of shellfish, kina and rock lobster
  • Ohiwa Harbour-closed to the take of green-lipped mussels
  • Western Coromandel Peninsula-closed to the take of pipi and cockles
  • Kaipara Harbour-closed to the take of scallops (effective in July 2005 prior to the start of the commercial scallop season).

The Kaikoura area has a temporary closure to the take of all species. Temporary measures for South Island waters are made under s186B of the Act.


Question 6

The processes, establishment, and specific outcomes of these tools being used?


Mataitai reserves

The process for establishing mataitai reserves is outlined in the customary fishing regulations. The kaimoana customary fishing regulations only apply in the North and Chatham Islands. Copies of the kaimoana regulations will be available at the hui planned with Ngapuhi at the end of July.

Regulations 18-22 of the kaimoana regulations outline the mataitai reserve application process, and regulation 23 outlines the criteria for assessing an application.

Taiapure-local fisheries

Taiapure-local fisheries are established under Part IX of the Act, sections 174 to 185, including ministerial appointments of nominated members of a taiapure-local fishery committee of management, and their powers to recommend to the Minister the making of regulations for the conservation and management of the fish, aquatic life, or seaweed in the taiapure-local fishery. Copies of this part of the Act will be available at the hui planned with Ngapuhi at the end of July.

Section 186A temporary measures

Section 186A of the Act outlines the criteria considered to establish temporary measures (closures and restrictions or prohibitions on fishing methods). The establishment of such measures includes consultation, as outlined in section 186A(7)(a). Copies of s186A, which is contained in Part IX of the Act, will be available at the hui planned with Ngapuhi at the end of July.


Question 7

Have these tools been sufficient to have an effect on finfish populations?


The Ministry cannot determine whether or not these tools have been sufficient with respect to having a positive effect on finfish populations, due to the lack of data and the relatively short timeframe since these tools have been in place. In time, the Ministry will acquire a more comprehensive understanding of the effect these tools have had on such populations.

The Ministry does not currently monitor the performance of mataitai reserves, taiapure local-fisheries and temporary measures with respect to their effect on finfish populations. The effect of restricting the take of a finfish population will depend on more than one parameter, including the particular customary tool in question. Additional parameters, such as the biology of the particular species and stock size, recruitment, food supply, habitat and climatic influences will also affect a population.

The intention of customary fisheries management practices is to provide tängata whenua with the ability to sustainably manage local fisheries resources. The effect of the particular customary tool used will vary, depending on the situation. For example, if the desired effect is enhancement of stock populations, different finfish species will display varied reactions, depending on the particular measures used. Benthic territorial finfish species, such as blue cod, may respond to an area restriction within a shorter timeframe due to their biology and life history, whereas it may be more difficult to detect stock changes for species which move around a lot.

Question 8

Have they been effective on shellfish, paua and crayfish?



Again, the effectiveness of any particular fisheries management tool cannot be determined based on a single parameter, such as a restriction on the take of a species in question. Other parameters must be taken into account, such as stock size, reproduction, recruitment, food supply, habitat and climatic influences. Due to the recent establishment of these customary tools, it would be inappropriate to make any conclusions about their effectiveness to date.

It should be noted, however, that the temporary closure to the take of all species at Kaikoura has led to an increase in the size and abundance of paua and booboo stocks.  

Question 9

An explanation of biomass and MSY.


In a fisheries context, biomass is the total weight of a stock or biological unit of fish or a defined fraction of it. For example, recruited biomass relates to the weight of fish above the size of recruitment (age or size first exploited); spawning biomass is the weight of fish of spawning age or size. Factors that contribute to or extract from biomass are outlined in the figure below.



MSY or maximum sustainable yield is defined in the Act as follows: "Maximum sustainable yield' in relation to any stock, means 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".

A number of factors contribute to the determination of MSY for a species.   These include how fast they grow, when and how they reproduce and the pattern of harvesting in the fishery.   Typically MSY for a fish stock is also variable over time because of changes in productivity and environmental factors

The terms biomass and MSY are combined as a reference point for fisheries as the biomass that will produce the maximum sustainable yield (B MSY )

This relationship is illustrated in the figure below.

Question 10

An explanation of how this management strategy affects our access to be able to fish for our babies.


The management target (strategy) for many New Zealand fish stocks, is to maintain them at or above BMSY or to move them upwards or downwards to this level.

As illustrated in the figure above MSY is achieved at biomass levels well below the unfished level (BMAX ). The exact proportion of the unfished biomass that produces MSY will vary by species, but is often between 25 and 35 percent of unfished biomass. The effect of this strategy is that while yield (or annual surplus production) is maximised there are less fish in the water to produce that yield. The reduction in biomass in order to achieve MSY can affect the catch rate and availability of fish from a fish stock.

Again, with reference to the illustration above, as abundance declines below the MSY level both yield and the availability of fish declines. As biomass increases above the MSY level catch rates, availability and the average size of fish can be expected to increase but the yield declines.

Question 11

What is the purpose of daily bag limits?


The purpose of daily bag limits varies by species. It can be either to:

  • provide a reasonable limit for daily take to ensure resources are shared within a sector and to provide an overall constraint on catch for a fish stock:
the majority of bag limits fall into this category.
  • constrain recreational take to a predefined limit (allowance):
an example is SNA 1, in which the bag limit of nine was assessed to provide a percentage reduction in total recreational catch for the stock.
  • set a boundary between legitimate non-commercial fishing and unlawful commercial fishing:
this has general application. Under current legislation if a fisher exceeds amateur daily bag limits by more than three times they are deemed to have committed a commercial offence and commercial penalties apply.


Question 12

What importance does the minimum size limit have on fish populations?


The purpose of a minimum size limit may vary by species. For some species (shellfish in particular) a minimum size limit can be a critical measure to ensure the sustainable management of a fish stock. General applications of a minimum size limit are as follows:

  • provide an opportunity for fish or shellfish to breed at least once (on average) before they become vulnerable to the fishery
  • to optimise the yield from a fishery by preventing harvesting of a species until it has past the size/age at which it grows the fastest
  • constrain recreational take to a predefined limit:
examples are SNA 1, in which the size limit of 27cm was assessed to provide a percentage reduction in total recreational catch for the stock, and kingfish for which an increase in minimum size was intended to achieve a reduction in total recreational catch.


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