from the Fisheries Economics Course
Held in Auckland 20th & 21st November 2003
Prepared by Trish Rea
for option4 and the NZ Big Game Fishing Council (NZBGFC)
Venue: Auckland University , 1 Short St , Auckland
Presenter: Basil Sharp
Subject: Fisheries Economics
MFish policy division Wellington (1), Sanford Ltd (1), Ngai Tahu Seafood
(1), Endurance Fishing
Ltd (2), Cawthron Institute (1), Fine Food Brokers (2), Iwi rep (1),
An overview of pre-European fisheries management was provided. William
Firth has written a book suggesting a form of property rights existed
in the pre – European system. The history of unsustainable fisheries
management was discussed in more detail including subsidies, the impact
on the fish stocks and foreign fishers within our coastal zone from
the 1960's through to 1985. During the introduction of the QMS the government
sought to push part-time fishers out of the system by setting a minimum
income level from fisheries activity. All those who did not pass the
threshold were not considered for the issuing of ITQ's. Some fishers
surrendered their harvest and were compensated to leave the industry.
The government paid out $42M in two tender rounds to buy back harvest.
Recreational and Maori interests were put in the “ too hard basket”
during the establishment of the QMS due to the difficulty in accommodating
those interests in a commercial model.
Being a fisheries economics course the major focus was on property rights
and the value of those rights. The constraints on economic development
due to the unregulated nature of the public harvest were discussed in
more detail. From an economic perspective it is more valuable to have
fully tradeable rights in the entire fishery and let the market determine
the value. The Coase Model is used by economists to work out the most
efficient use of tradeable rights in any given situation. There was
some discussion around the value in having licensing to pay for quota
so the recreational sector could harvest fish. The commercial representatives
clearly resent having to pay for research and management of the fishery
when they perceive the public being managed by the government at no
cost to the harvester.
Non – Market Values
The 1999 survey by the South Australian Centre for Economic Studies
(REC9801) is the only formal measure of the value of recreational fishing
that has been conducted in New Zealand . Non – market values are
very hard to quantify and have not been adequately measured in relation
to recreational interests in the fishery. Interesting to note that courts
in the UK and US are now recognising non – market values in cases
(particularly environmental) being decided. These values have not been
tested through our court system yet.
The three options in Soundings were reviewed along with option4's principles.
The increasing, unconstrained recreational take was concerning to the
commercial representatives as it is obviously in competition with their
interests. Fisher prevalence figures presented by Basil were outdated,
his information showed 400,000 fishers nationwide. We agreed that most
of the effort is concentrated in the top half of the North Island .
Industry were keen to know where option4 got the mandate to speak on
behalf of the public considering the lack of fishers belonging to fishing
clubs. It was explained that option4 do not have members but as a result
of Soundings we have option4, NZRFC, NZGBFC and NZACA working together
in talking with the public.
Allocation of Shares
Mention was made that there was no priority in the allocation process
in regards to shares in the fishery. It was explained that the process
involved in setting TACC's did in fact demonstrate preference to non
– commercial interests. Neither the commercial representatives
nor the MFish rep made any comment on this subject.
Bycatch is a concern for many commercial fishers. They felt the system
restricted their ability to catch their quota or limited their profitability
by not being able to purchase enough ACE to cover their bycatch species.
Aquaculture is increasing along with competition for coastal space.
Discussion focussed on the competing rights of ITQ holders, recreational
and aquacultural harvesters. The complex nature of the current foreshore
and seabed issue, the Oceans policy development and the impact of coastal
farming in overseas countries were covered. Until some of the issues
are decided at a national level Regional Councils will struggle to meet
the increasing demand for coastal waters.
A very interesting two-day course. The opportunity to listen to the
commercial fisher's perspective was of value. Information covered in
the course was provided to all in attendance. With the focus on economics,
overseas trade and tariffs it is not a course that would interest most
recreational fishers. Some of the data presented was well out of date
and would need to be updated to be of any real use for future reference.