Dear [ subscriber ]
The Minister of Fisheries, Pete Hodgson, has presented his Cabinet
Paper to the Cabinet Finance, Infrastructure and Environment (FIN)
Committee. The full Cabinet
Paper may be read on our site.
option4 is concerned this Cabinet Paper does not present the full
picture to this very important Cabinet Committee. Without all the
facts the FIN Committee cannot make fully informed decisions on
the future of recreational fishing reforms. option4 still stands
by its 4 principles of -
* Priority right over commercial fishing
* Planning right
* Area right
* No licensing
The FIN Committee has been told there is a "lack of clear guidance
on what share of the available catch should go to recreational fishers
versus commercial, and poor information to support that decision."
Section 21 of the Fisheries Act 1996 is very clear - the Minister
" shall allow" for recreational take before setting the
Total Allowable Commercial Catch (TACC). For full text of this section
of the Act please read:
Better Information on Recreational Harvest
The Minister has instructed the Ministry of Fisheries to implement
better information gathering strategies to improve the nature and
extent of information on recreational harvest. To that end the following
strategies are to be implemented.
- Double the frequency of Recreational surveys - from four years
to two years - additional cost - $250,000 per annum.
- Require charter boats to report the nature and extent of their
fishing effort - annual coat expected to be $250,000 - no mention
of set up costs.
These strategies were put forward at the Ministerial Consultative
Group phase of consultation. The feedback offered to Ministry is
at odds to the strategies being recommended. The confidentiality
conditions that the Ministerial Consultative Group was set up under
make full reporting of policy proposals and subsequent recommendations
unavailable. The Minister did assure us in the Ministerial Consultative
Group that the strategy to require charter boats to report was definitely
not a preliminary move to somehow or other bring charter operators
into the QMS, as has been suggested as necessary by some submissions
to the Soundings process. The full detail of these recommendations
may be read at the option4 site in the Cabinet
Paper Paragraphs 38-41.
The FIN Committee has been told there is "a low propensity
on the part of recreational fishers to act collectively to protect
their rights and promote their interests". Through your support
option4 had 61,178 submissions to the Soundings process. There is
unprecedented support from the public, NZ Recreational Fishing Council
and the NZ Big Game Fishing Council. These submissions were ignored
in the review process, which was seriously flawed in its recommendations.
It is noted the response to the Aquaculture reform process was a
total of 242 submissions. This is another good reason why option4
will continue to lobby the Minister on our 4 principles. We do have
your support and continue to gather more supporters every day.
The Ministers perception of option4
Unfortunately the FIN Committee have also been told in the Cabinet
Paper "option4 are a group of recreational fishers who formed
in response to the Soundings public discussion process, specifically
to oppose licensing and promote other options within the package".
We do not agree with this statement. option4, as its very name suggests,
is not about promoting other options within the package. It is clearly
intent upon securing a priority right for the fishing public over
the fishing industry. The area right and planning right we promote
are quite different from Soundings proposals. Sure, we are not in
favour of licensing, however to say we formed "specifically
to oppose licensing" is false and unfair. At many of the public
meetings we addressed we were quick to point out that licensing
was a non-issue, licensing has nothing to do with your rights to
fish. This opinion has subsequently been well aired and it is with
some concern that we now read in the Cabinet Paper that this is
how the Minister perceives the option4 initiative and all it stands
for. For a refresher on the option4
Submission to Soundings.
MCG and Moyle's Promise
option4, NZ Big Game Fishing Council and NZ Recreational Fishing
Council representatives were involved in the Ministerial Consultative
Group (MCG) process from July-October 2001. There were 5 meetings
in total. A great amount of time and effort went into responding
to the Ministry's reform papers presented to the MCG. To date we
have not had the courtesy of either acknowledgement of points made
or relevance to current Ministry thinking.
The Minister had acknowledged we agree to continue discussions based
on the principles contained in the National Policy for Marine Recreational
Fisheries 1989 - otherwise known as "Moyle's
However the really important part of the promise, omitted from the
Cabinet Paper to the FIN Committee, is " Preference will be
given to non-commercial fishing in areas readily accessible to and
popular with the public, where a species is not sufficiently abundant
to support both non-commercial and commercial fishing." This
will be the starting position, from option4's perspective, for continued
Timeframe to produce a new reform proposal
It is proposed that a new reform proposal will be put to the FIN
Committee by 1st February 2003. There will then be a consultation
with the public and results reported back by June 01, 2003. The
concern is the short time available, 3 months, to consult with the
public and report back to the committee. option4 would not want
to see a repeat of the grossly inadequate public consultation phase
of the Soundings process. More on this next month.
What can YOU do NOW?
- The Fighting Fund needed to pay for both the Human Rights legal
challenge and the fisheries scientist watchdog is steadily growing.
Your financial support is vital. If you would like to support
the fight for your rights and the rights of your children, please
send your donation to:
option4 Fighting Fund, PO Box 37951, Parnell, Auckland.
- "Promote a Mate" - get stuck in and spread the word.
I know this sounds repetitive, however, numbers are our greatest
strength. One good thing about the prolonged nature of this debate
is the opportunity to bring our friends and families up to speed
before any real damage is done. http://option4.co.nz/promote.php
2002 will be the defining year for all concerned about our fisheries.
It is also election year for all the Ministers and MPs involved
in this process. There is much work to be done to secure our rights.
The option4 team