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option4 update #
What does option4 stand for
Lets be very clear, option4 formed up quite spontaneously as a reaction
to option's 1, 2 and 3 as proposed by the Soundings Public Consultation
Document released in July 2000. By December 2000 over 61,000 members
of the public and many, many clubs and national representative organisations
such as New Zealand Big Game Fishing Council and Yachting NZ had
either submitted in support or directly endorsed the Principles
of option4 in their own submissions. What were, and are, those 4
- A priority right over commercial fishers for free access to
a reasonable daily bag limit in legislation.
- The ability to exclude commercial methods that deplete recreationally
- The ability to devise plans to ensure future generations enjoy
the same or better quality of rights while preventing fish conserved
for this purpose being given to the commercial sector.
- No licensing of amateur fishers.
What has been achieved?
Firstly, licensing has been ruled out as an option by this
Government. Secondly, the proportional share approach promoted in
option's 2 and 3 has been delayed. We say delayed, because there
is a very strong desire on the part of both Ministry and the fishing
industry to see you, the public, capped with a specific allocation,
a quota if you like, that future generations of New Zealanders would
have to learn to live with.
In December 2002, option4, NZBGFC and NZRFC signed off on a powerful
letter of consensus that further emphasised the need to relentlessly
pursue the Principles. Subsequently, representatives of those organisations
have met 4 times with the Ministry in order to give more meaning
and effect to the Principle. Progress has been good. It is great
to see the Ministry engaging so fully in this debate and demonstrating
a real willingness to listen and consider the wishes of the public.
We would like to report back to you soon with tangible results of
Meanwhile, the good work being done on the rights issue is being
unceremoniously trampled by the Department of Conservation who are
quite clearly not interested in good process. Their politically
driven agenda of 10% of the coastline into "no fishing for
ever" status, acting in contempt of the current legislation
and misrepresenting the state of the marine environment leaves option4
in a position of no choice but to get stuck in and do what we can
to stop this lunacy. Already, those online have received 3 Alerts
that have provided extensive Background Information to 3 different
"Proposal" type public consultations. These have resulted
in an average of 450 submissions being sent in to each proposal,
almost all of which have opposed and offered personal comment. Who
knows whether or not the recipients will treat your submissions
respectfully. Hhistory tells us that the agencies proposing have
very predetermined outcomes in mind and find it hard to deal with
opposition. Certainly the recently announced Te Matuku Marine Reserve
at Waiheke received a lot of opposition - sadly all ignored. Only
time will tell. Remember, these proposals option4 has engaged in
have all been non-statutory phase. Iif the promoters are silly enough
to go to Statutory Stage, ie an Application, we need to be ready
to draw a line in the sand and STOP them in their tracks. 56,000
hectares on the East Coast of Great Barrier is the latest cab off
the rank - outrageous. Next month we will have an Alert issued that
will offer signifigant information and insight as to how trult arroganr
this proposal is - blatantly stripping away the freedoms that define
us as New Zealanders.
The Minister of Conservation seems only too willing to test the
public to the limit. He is receiving increasingly clear messages
from the public that ad hoc, uncoordinated Marine Reserves based
on spurious and indefensible arguments will only meet with public
opposition and, perhaps more importantly, low level respect and
compliance. Marine reserves in the wrong place for the wrong reasons
will only destroy the credibility of those who promote them, leading
to an ultimate failure in their purpose - this includes both the
Minister and the Departtment of Conservation.
The Local Government and Environment Select Committee are hearing
submissions on the Marine Reserves Bill as we write this. Heaven
help us if the Minister of Conservation is given the authority to
declare Marine Reserves without concurrence from the Minister of
Fisheries. Never forget - these marine reserves are supposedly forever.
As fisheries management matures and we enjoy the benefits of stock
rebuilds and overall abundance, as we are with many fisheries already,
these most precious places will be off limits and out of bounds
Forest and Bird recently stated "Research is showing that
marine reserves are an essential part of a sustainable marine management
regime." What research. Possibly relevant in countries with
unsophisticated management tools, open access type fisheries. Not
relevant to our fisheries. It is
Database is everything
The option4 database is growing daily as people realise their right
to fish for food is coming under increasing threat from so many
different directions. These include ad hoc proposals for marine
reserves, overfishing by the commercial sector and poor management
decisions. By being in the option4 online database you receive information
as it becomes available, on time and often before it has been in
Information is power and option4 email supporters get the full
story in the most effective manner possible. Use the online tool
to put your friends and family and those who you consider would
be concerned, into the loop. For those who have already used the
tool, well done. It is through your efforts that the public will
stay on top of the fishing for food debate. Hopefully this debate
will be wrapped up and our rights secured for future generations
in the very near future.
Rights Reform Process - Reference
Ministry of Fisheries officials have been meeting with several of
the option4 team, NZ Big Game Fishing Council (NZBGFC) and the NZ
Recreational Fishing Council (NZRFC). The objective is to define
what "priority" means when it comes to the publics right
to fish for food. Progress is steady and another meeting is scheduled
for this week. The priority option4 refer to includes the ability
for fishers to have access to a reasonable daily bag limit within
the recognised limitations of regulations and sustainability. option4
are sticking by the four principles and are hoping for a successful
outcome. At least the Ministry are engaging in what seems like meaningful
discussions. Will keep you informed as the process develops.
Tiritiri Matangi Reserve Proposal
The close off date for comments to NZ Underwater regarding their
proposal for a marine reserve at the end of Whangaparaoa has now
passed. Representatives from the Tiri Action Group, NZBGFC, option4
were present when over 6000 written submissions were passed to Peter
Crabb from NZ Underwater. NZU have informed the Tiri Action Group
that it will take around six months to review all the submissions
including the online submissions that have come through the option4
website. NZU are keen to meet with all interested parties once they
analysed the comments. They have also agreed to provide a copy of
the budget for this project and also a timeline for future plans.
We look forward to seeing the analysis of comments and an independent
review of all submissions.
Great Barrier Reserve - Alert Coming
While groups such as the Tiri Action Group and local iwi argue for
a more coordinated approach to marine reserves another proposal
has been put forward. This time for an area around Great Barrier
Island which covers almost 53,000 hectares (that's 136 square nautical
miles)! Where will it end? Where will we fish if the prime areas
around our coast are taken up in marine reserves? Without a corresponding
decrease in fishing effort the areas left for fishing will be under
so much pressure it is likely these areas will suffer a huge decrease
in fishing quality. Standby for more info. We will have an alert
out to you in the next few weeks so you can respond online.
If you would like to have a look at the proposal go to http://doc.govt.nz/Whats-New/Consulting-On/index.asp.
Anyone wanting to get a copy of the discussion document and questionnaire
should contact DOC Auckland Conservancy or Great Barrier Island
Area Office. Community Relations Manager Warwick Murray on (09)
3074855 or Great Barrier Island Area Manager Dale Tawa (09) 4290065.
The return date for questionnaires is June 30, 2003.