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
Questions 1 &
The specifics pertaining
to the Maori customary tools available:
- mataitai reserves
- rahui (s 186A temporary
the Ministry's definitions
of each of these tools.
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.
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
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
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
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
What is the
maximum (minimum) size these areas can be?
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
- that is an identified traditional fishing ground and is of a
size appropriate to effective management by tangata whenua (regulations
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
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.
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
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.
Where are these tools
being used elsewhere in the country?
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.
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
- 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
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
- 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
- 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.
The processes, establishment,
and specific outcomes of these tools being used?
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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
An explanation of biomass
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
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.
An explanation of how
this management strategy affects our access to be able to fish for
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.
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:
of bag limits fall into this category.
- constrain recreational take to a predefined limit (allowance):
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.
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
- constrain recreational take to a predefined limit:
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.