of Commercial Fisheries?
Dear [ subscriber ]
This Update # 19 covers the following points :-
- Ministry delivers latest Fisheries Management Proposals (IPP).
- option4 makes Submission to these proposals.
- State of play with the "Rights debate" - or lack thereof.
- Comment on the election - Party Policies on record.
option4 believe the Ministry of Fisheries has effectively declared
war on all recreational fishers with its latest Position Paper.
The question must be posed - Is the Ministry of Fisheries part of
an independent public service or simply an extension of the fishing
The Ministry of Fisheries presents an annual Initial Position Paper
(IPP) on a variety of fisheries management issues to assist the
Minister in making his annual decisions regarding the setting of
the Total Allowable Commercial Catch. The Ministries 2002/3 paper
contains the most biased advice in favour of the fishing industry
that anyone in option4 has ever seen.
Fisheries Minister Pete Hodgson has stated that the greatest threat
to the public's right to fish is the poorly defined nature of our
rights versus the clearly defined and increasingly strong rights
of other stakeholders.
Well Pete, the way option4 see it, the biggest threat is actually
your Ministry of Fisheries, which seems hell bent on taking every
recreational fish it possibly can, and unashamedly gifting it to
the fishing industry.
For example, in the snapper fishery from East Cape to Wellington
(SNA 2) the Ministry clearly intend to severely reduce future non-commercial
catches, whilst giving the largely unconstrained commercial fishing
interests a massive quota increase.
Future recreational bag limits will likely have to be slashed because
the Ministry has given the Minister flawed recreational catch estimates,
which potentially massively underestimate the public's harvest.
The Ministry are seeking the publics' allocation to be based on,
and reduced to, this underestimated level of recreational catch.
Unbelievably, the Ministry advice proposes to increase the fishing
industry quota by a further 43% in this very same fishery!
It appears that this is becoming the Ministry's standard answer
to the fishing industry continuing to blatantly over catch their
quota in SNA2 - to simply give them that much quota, they can't
possibly catch too much fish.
This is not new. In 1991 the quotas were being massively over caught
prior to the last quota increase. This Ministry has conveniently
forgotten the promises made by the fishing industry in 1991 to constrain
themselves when their quota was increased from 157 tonnes to 252
tonnes - a 60% increase. If this current Ministry proposal to, yet
again, increase the quota to address commercial over fishing is
granted it will mean that the industry quota will have gone from
157 tonne to 360 tonne (an increase of 130%). Basically the proposal
is to increase fishing industry quota while the public allocation
will be slashed to around half of what they are currently catching.
Also, the Ministry fails to give due recognition to the wide range
of public conservation efforts made over the same period of time.
Voluntary efforts such as increased recreational size limits, reduced
bag limits and recreational method constraints. Are the results
of these public conservation efforts about to be gifted to the fishing
After reading the latest Ministry advice papers, option4 believes
that this Ministry should either come clean and change its name
to the Ministry of Commercial Fisheries, and give up any pretence
that suggests that there is any independence in its advice, or it
should clear it's ranks of the offending individuals.
The culture of bias and favouritism towards the fishing industry
by this Ministry of Fisheries has grown over the years to a point
where it is now totally out of control. A pattern of behaviour completely
unacceptable for supposedly independent civil servants appears to
be entrenched in their ranks. option4 believes the Minister of Fisheries
should act decisively with enough Ministry heads rolling to restore
public confidence and ensure the independence of his Ministry advice.
In accordance with its watchdog role, option4 has responded with
a submission on all proposals in the Ministry Position Papers which
affect the public's rights in inshore, shared fisheries. Please
go here for the complete Submission.
The IPP has been broken down into the various fisheries with the
Ministry Proposal, the Ministers Preliminary View and the option4
submission grouped together for each fishery. option4 has made submissions
on paua, snapper, tarakihi and gurnard.
The effort option4 has put into these submissions on your behalf
has been huge. Over 200 man-hours have been invested in our response
to the Ministries IPP. As promised, we have engaged scientists,
and lawyers may yet be required if our submission is ignored. If
you want this essential lobby for the rights of the public to continue
and you want a watchdog with BIG TEETH please read the attached
coupon and send it in with your donation. Without proper resources
we can only bark on your behalf and most of the people we are dealing
with appear to be deaf!
We intend to publish the Ministries' Final Advice Paper (FAP), which
is due out shortly along with the Ministers Decisions (due in September).
The Rights Debate
On an even more frightening note, this very same Ministry of Fisheries
is now working behind closed doors on a revamped set of proposals
on how recreational fisheries should be managed in future. If their
biased attitude and blatant favouritism toward commercial fishers
seen in the latest Ministry IPP is allowed to pervade the recreational
rights debate, we will have one hell of a scrap on our hands.
This Ministry has a poor record so far in the rights debate. Besides
putting inordinate amounts of spin on everything it says, it has
- Misreported the true outcome of the Soundings process.
- Suggested option4's primary purpose is to oppose licensing.
- During the MCG process, agreed to include "Moyle's Promise"
as the basis for ongoing discussions then removed the Promise
from the Cabinet paper - thus effectively removing the previous
Labour governments "Promise" of priority from the rights
debate process, going forward.
- Ignored recreational feedback given during the Ministerial Advisory
- Failed to include recreational representatives in the ongoing
rights definition process, as promised.
option4 will be following, and reporting on, all developments as
they emerge from the dark corridors of the Ministry of Fisheries
and become available for public scrutiny.
It quickly became clear that fisheries issues were off limits for
political debate. National delivered a very powerful and positive
Recreational Fisheries policy three weeks before the election and
then failed to make any reference to it during their campaign. Labour
did NOT have a fisheries policy as such. Outdoor Recreation New
Zealand campaigned to the best of their very limited resources.
23,500 people voted for them with some South Island electorates
polling as high as 5%. Next time round, this party could well be
a force to be reckoned with. The analysis of the political
party policies is online and is worth reading.
To those many hundreds of you who have made donations - Thank you.
To those thinking the battles are over, think again. The science
and legal resources required need to be of the highest calibre if
we, the public, are to hold our own. These people are willing to
work with us at very favourable rates but it still costs money.
Without these resources on hand our position becomes tenuous.
Please send your cheques to:-
option4 Fighting Fund
PO Box 37951
the team at option4