Pakeha Recreational Fishing Perspective
the option4 team
2 April 2007
speech was prepared by the option4 team for delivery at Te
Matau a Maui Maori Fisheries Conference on 2nd April 2007. Unfortunately
it was not delivered due to time constraints.
nga mana. E nga reo, rau Rangatira ma, tena koutou, tena koutou,
tena koutou katoa. He honore tino nui tenei ki tenei Pakeha humarie
nei e ngakau nui ana kia whai korero ki roto i tenei hui nui. Ngati
Kahungunu, te mana whenua o tenei rohe, tena koutou, tena koutou,
tena koutou katoa. Nga mate, haere, haere, haere atu ra. Te hunga
ora, tena tatou katoa, ka huri.
kaumatua, kuia, iwi and hapu leaders and delegates.
It is my
pleasure to again be invited to update you on a pakehas recreational
man, woman and child - both Maori and tauiwi - possesses
a non-commercial common law right to fish for
food (‘the peoples' common law right to fish').
common law right is recognised and protected in our fisheries law,
and must be ‘allowed for' by Minister of Fisheries to ‘enable people
to provide for their social, economic and cultural well being'.
my address to this conference last year I explained what option4
– an unincorporated non-commercial fishers lobby
group stands for.
In a nutshell, I explained
that option4 stands for:
- More fish in the water;
- Protection of every New Zealander's common law right to fish
for food subject to regulations on bag limits, fish size, and
has happened since February 2006?
Since the February 2006 conference
two important things have happened in the realm of New Zealanders'
The publication by
the Government and the Ministry of Fisheries (MFish) of the
‘Shared Fisheries proposals for managing New Zealand's shared
fisheries: A public discussion paper' (‘Shared Fisheries');
The hearing of the
application to the High Court of the NZRFC and NZBGFC for a
judicial review of the Minister's decisions relating to kahawai
in the years 2004 and 2005 (‘the kahawai challenge'), and the
decision of the High Court handed down on 21 March 2007.
is the second attempt by the Government and MFish in only 6 years
to obtain New Zealanders' agreement to a change to the peoples'
common law right to catch fish.
that it is unsure how many fish New Zealanders are catching as non-commercial
fishers, and that this so called lack of information is compromising
MFish' efforts to properly manage our fisheries to provide plenty
for all New Zealanders.
MFish proposes that the peoples' common law right to fish be replaced
by something else; a ‘baseline allocation' coupled with ‘a basic
right' to fish.
bare details of the proposal are given by MFish.
As well as
the peoples' common law right to catch fish being removed and replaced
with this new ‘idea', we have no assurance that this will work to
put more fish in the water, and more kai on our tables.
request to New Zealanders to give up their common law right to catch
fish is made against a backdrop of the ability of New Zealanders
to actually catch fish by exercising their right having been eroded
in important fisheries by:
The Minister, on MFish'
advice, not properly allowing for the peoples' common law right
to catch fish;
Such fisheries not
having been improved as intended by the Quota Management System
(QMS) introduced in the mid 1980's to rein in an expanding commercial
One of the reasons that has
made ‘Shared Fisheries' so hard to get to grips with, including
those who know something about fisheries management, is that ‘Shared
Fisheries' does not explain:
MFish has previous publications
on the peoples' common law right to fish and how that right must
be ‘allowed for' by the Minister so that people can provide for
their well-being. However ‘Shared Fisheries' says:
‘Shared Fisheries' section 4.1-
The basic right to catch fish
New Zealanders feel that the freedom to cast
a line to catch a fish is a cultural tradition
that should be maintained. They are concerned
that changes to the management of shared fisheries might mean
restrictions or limitations were placed on this tradition
. This value is part of our national
identity and should be protected”.
then, MFish is asking everyone of us on this Marae today to trade
our common law right to fish for an ‘idea' without, as will be seen
in a moment from the recent kahawai challenge decision, that right
having been fully and properly ‘allowed for' for years.
legal challenge decision
Two important purposes of bringing the Kahawai legal challenge
were to obtain the Court's guidance on:
We had been advised and understood
It was just
that most New Zealanders we talk to do not understand what their
common law right to fish means, and how it is allowed for'. This
‘uncertainty appears to be played on in ‘Shared Fisheries'.
The Court emphatically agreed
on both counts in the case of kahawai.
In particular, the Court:
Recognised that recreational
fishing interests as "rights" stem from the common
Held that commercial
ITQ property rights are subject to the statutory obligation
that the Minister must first provide for [recreational] fishing
interests before setting the total allowable commercial catch
(TACC) - this reaffirms that commercial property rights are
not paramount or inviolate when setting the TACC;
Held that allowing
for peoples' wellbeing - people's health or physical welfare
- is the 'starting point' when setting the TACC;
Held that it is open
to the Minister to set the TACC at zero but not the allowance
for [recreational] fishers, and that both Maori and [recreational],
must be provided for where they exist. The same does
not apply for commercial interests;
Held that given that
a TACC is a means of ‘providing for the utilisation [use] of
enabling people ‘to provide for their social, economic and cultural
wellbeing' is a mandatory consideration at this stage of allowing
for recreational interests;
Held that when setting
a TACC the statutory starting point is to identify and make
an appropriate allowance for recreational interests by reference
to the social, economic and cultural value of the resource to
Held that when setting
a TACC for kahawai, the Minister must have regard first to the
TAC and then allow for non-commercial fishing interests in the
much more in the decision including application in other fisheries,
but that is all time today permits me to talk about.
does the kahawai challenge decision mean to ‘Shared Fisheries'?
The Court has made it clear
All New Zealanders
possess a non-commercial common law right to fish; and
That it is incumbent
on the Minister and MFish, as adviser to the Minister, to properly
‘allow for' peoples' common law right to fish by enabling them
to provide for their wellbeing.
This right is precious to
me. When more New Zealanders understand that firstly:
then they too will want the
right fully and properly ‘allowed for'.
in the Kahawai decision held that the Minister's decisions in 2004
and 2005 were unlawful to the extent, amongst other reasons, that
the Minister fixed the TACC's for kahawai for all kahawai areas
without having proper regard to the social, economic and cultural
wellbeing of the people.
It is my view that ‘Shared Fisheries' has been overtaken and made
redundant by the Court's decision.
much work to be done with MFish, commercial fishers, and non-commercial
fishers both customary and recreational to decide on the mix and
match of fisheries management tools and mechanisms to both improve
our fisheries and enable people provide for their wellbeing by catching
kai for the table.
We will be
at Oturei marae on the 19th and 20th of April for the 8th Hokianga
Accord hui where we will continue the quest for clarity and pathways
forward. All are welcome.
On behalf of the option4
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