18 April 2001
Licensing - obviously we have misunderstood the extent to which
the public have linked this clumsy funding mechanism with the rights
debate. At no point has licensing had anything to do with our right
to fish. We were surprised at the number of fishers who stated that
a change in fisheries management was required. The removal of licensing
is just one of the issues needing to be addressed about future management.
Licensing is OFF THE MENU.
This leaves the real issue still outstanding - the clear and unambiguous
definition of where the public right to harvest seafood from the
marine environment fits within the overall scheme of things. Maori
Customary rights have been clearly defined. The Commercial sector
have the Quota Management System. Soundings asked the public if
they would be happy with the leftovers.
Where do we stand in relation to the fishing industry? As far as
option4 is concerned, the public right follows immediately behind
customary fishing rights and immediately ahead of commercial fishing
rights as prescribed by the Quota Management System (QMS).
What stage are we at right now?
We have met with the Minister again. On 22/3/01 we had a very frank
session where the need to establish the rights debate as a primary
objective was thoroughly worked over.
Despite what appears to be an overwhelming workload (11 portfolios)
the Minister appears to be fully engaging in this debate/issue.
He has decided to put together a Ministerial Advisory Group reporting
directly to him. This group is to be made up of representatives
of the public/recreational fishing fraternity ONLY.
Please visit the option4 web site to read the complete
minutes of that meeting
We have subsequently written to the Minister on 2.4.01. Essentially
we are keen to participate and give our all to this initiative of
the Minister if, and only if, the terms of reference for the group
are to determine ways to define the right.
The following extract from our letter to the Minister illustrates
"option4 is keen to become involved in balanced, well-focused
discussions. To that end we discount the findings of both the Independent
Review Consultants and the subsequent recommendations from the (now
disbanded) Rights Working Group because it is clear that their statistical
analyses have not weighed the response from the public accurately,
and their recommendations have not promoted the need for recreational
fishers rights to be a clear priority.
Definition of the right of the public to harvest seafood from the
marine environment is, in our opinion, the essential first step
if we are to know what we will protecting and managing. Previous
proposals by successive administrations have failed because they
neglected that step. The public rejected the Soundings process for
the same reason: although it purports to deal with the definition
of public rights, it is really about management and structure. Hence
Regardless of how we got here, we are now in a position to move
forward on the real issue and your Ministerial Advisory Group could
well be the ideal vehicle to achieve it. All that remains to be
done is to give clear, unambiguous terms of reference to empower
the Group to thoroughly debate the nature and extent of the public's
right to harvest seafood. Progress will not be made if we are limited
to thrashing out management issues.
option4's mandate is presently constrained to issues contained in
its submission. If the Ministerial Advisory Group's findings are
significantly different from the position outlined in option4's
submission, it will be essential to have a further round of public
consultation prior to implementing any recommendations"
Please visit the site to read the Proposed
Terms of Reference
We can expect a response any day. Cross your fingers.
A big thankyou
Plumbing Supplies and the participants in their Fanatical Fisho's
contest for their very real support.
Also, Bill Cooke was privileged to take receipt of a substantial
contribution from the Northland Amateur Fishers Association on 31st
March. Thank you Northland Amateur Fishers Association for your
substantial contribution. There is so much at stake here and it
is gratifying to see you people acting so clearly.
Finally, please take the time to visit the excellent site at www.fishing.net.nz.
Peter Francis, the manager of this site has been of real support
to option4 from the beginning. If you take the time to really drill
into this site you will be well rewarded with a vast amount of useful
information. Please consider registering for the VIP services available
- really worthwhile. www.fishing.net.nz/vip/register.cfm.
This will allow them to keep you up to date with regular emails
of developments and other industry issues, as well as fishing reports
from your specific area.
The team at option4