Management Programs (AMP's)
More increases of
commercial quotas at the cost of non-commercial access.
An Adaptive Management
Program (AMP) is a scientific process developed for low value fisheries
that do not warrant having more comprehensive, expensive science
such as tagging surveys done. It is a simple process whereby the
fishing industry is given permission to apply a large, additional
catch effort in a fishery and the reaction of the stock is measured.
Generally this is gauged on the reduction in Catch Per Unit of Effort
(CPUE). It's all about hurting the fishery and measuring the pain.
The insanity of it is that along with an inevitable reduction in
commercial catch rates, non-commercial catch rates will decline
similarly. The Ministry of Fisheries have stated that to be effective,
an AMP necessitates a real shock to be applied to get a measurable
result – i.e. an increase of 30% catch or more.
In any AMP decision making
process in a shared fishery, it is essential to have a baseline
CPUE measure for the other stakeholder groups, i.e. recreational
and Customary Mäori. Failure to measure non-commercial CPUE concurrent
to the AMP experiment renders the result futile because you don't
know whether the catch is a sustainable increase or a direct transfer
of catch from one sector to another.
In summary, AMPs in shared
fisheries effectively transfer catching rights from non-commercial
to commercial. If it is determined that AMPs in shared fisheries
are essential we would suggest that industry consider not catching
a substantial amount of their quota (30% plus) for a period of time
and measure the rebuild rate through CPUE changes. This strikes
us as much more equitable.
In September David Benson-Pope
approved a number of Adaptive Management Programs – some of
which apply to inshore shared fisheries, namely tarakihi Area 2
(TAR 2) and Area 3 (TAR3). Before we analyse this years decisions
lets go back a mere 2 years to when industry and Ministry promoted
an AMP for the neighboring tarakihi fishery in Area 1 (TAR 1).
When declining that application
the previous Minister, Pete Hodgson said in his decision letter
"Submissions from recreational fishing interests confirmed the
importance of the fishery to them, and their concerns that the proposal
could affect recreational and customary interests in the fishery,
both in the Bay of Plenty and east Northland regions. The AMP framework
is designed to allow for 'trial' fishing within an administrative
system, to derive information from fishing subject to careful monitoring.
In shared fisheries like TAR 1, I am inclined to be cautious, because
those who gain no benefit from the increased TACC in the short term
also carry the risks attendant on the increased fishing. It is also
more difficult to cater for the different harvesting strategies
of the sectors in the uncertain circumstances of such 'trial' fishing..."
We acknowledge Pete Hodgson
for that wisdom and clarity. Thank you Pete for that good decision
– amongst others. The essence of Hodgson's decision is to
be very cautious about practicing AMP management on inshore shared
Fast forward to a new Minister
being briefed by the same old crowd at Ministry and yet another
set of AMP proposals. David Benson- Pope writes in his decision
letter 2004 -
" I have approved a
proposal from the Area 2 Inshore Finfish Management Company Ltd
to increase the TACC from 1 633 tonnes to 1 796
tonnes under an AMP. The new TACC will reflect
recent commercial catch levels and will enable fishers to better
balance catches with ACE.
I do not consider the
new TACC will pose a significant sustainability risk, as it should
result in only small, if any, changes to effort and catch. I also
expect the TACC will not affect the size and availability of tarakihi
for non-commercial fishers, as the spatial distribution of commercial
catches has been stable over time, and any changes are expected
to be minor.
I have also agreed to
set a TAC of 2 082 tonnes, which includes allowances of 100 tonnes
for customary Mäori interests and 150 tonnes for recreational interests.
These allowances recognise that the TAR 2 fishery is an important
shared fisheries resource. The TAC also includes an allowance of
36 tonnes for other sources of fishing-related mortality"
So what does all this mean?
Firstly, the commercial sector has successfully used the AMP framework
to achieve an increase in their Allowable Catch in this very important
inshore shared fishery. The Minister would have us believe that
by increasing the commercial catch there will be no change to non-commercial
size and/or availability. How bizarre!
At the same time the non
commercial sectors interests have been "allowed for" for the first
time in this fishery. No changes to bag limits therefore no issue,
one might say. Not so. This is the thin edge of the wedge yet again.
Another example of the "one way valve" favouring commercial in the
management of shared fisheries.
The tragedy is that this
nonsense could have been tossed aside at Science Group level if
we had the resources to represent ourselves well and argue these
issues – year after year – or, alternatively, if the
Ministry had acted in good faith with the understanding they already
have about the inappropriateness of AMPs in inshore shared fisheries
In the moment, in the short
space available and with little or no resources all we can really
aspire to do is to "bear witness" to the debacle of fisheries management
under this Ministry of Fisheries and ensure a good record is maintained
for future judgement. A comprehensive record of the tarakihi Fisheries
Management manoeuvres can be found online under Fisheries Management
Developments support for option4
Composite Developments and
Marty Johanson have recognised the work option4 is doing with a
generous contribution. Thank you for this most timely and much appreciated
support. Be assured, we will continue to maintain the pressure on
those who have chosen to threaten our right to fish for food.
option4 have formally affiliated
with the Council of Outdoor Recreation Associations of New Zealand
in an effort to add value to their charter as it pertains to saltwater
fishing for food. We look forward to a mutually beneficial relationship.
Dr Floor Anthoni has worked
tirelessly on what can only be described as a treasure trove of
commentary and observation on the health and threats to our marine
environment. Sadly, all this effort does not warrant comment by
DoC or other marine reserve promoters on any specifics – it
is merely dismissed in passing as "ill-informed assertions".
What is it going to take to get these
people to address specific concerns? Just because it challenges
the ideology and "science" supporting marine reserves does not mean
that this remarkable body of work be written off so easily by the
pro-marine reserve lobby. Thank you Floor for your most valuable
and comprehensive body of work.
Please visit www.seafriends.org.nz
for a great source of reference material covering so many relevant
aspects of the need for marine protection.
Great Barrier Island
marine reserve Application
The all too brief and rigidly
adhered to 60 day objection period is over – our OIA request
for copies of the objections is in and appears to have been accepted.
Community Relations Manager for the Department of Conservation,
Warwick Murray, has confirmed to the Auckland Conservation Board
meeting on 28/10/04 that DoC wish to forward the Application to
the Minister before Christmas. Clearly, DoC Auckland are on a steamroller
journey to ram this through despite the clear understanding that
a coordinated and integrated approach to marine protection is widely
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