Positive Sign of Things to Come?
the option4 team
This article was
originally published in the New Zealand Fishing News June 2007 edition.
of ‘more fish in the water' for New Zealand's inshore fisheries
may get a boost if amendments to section 10 the Fisheries Act 1996
submitted in support
of the Minister of Fisheries' objectives to enable a more precautionary
approach to be taken when making management decisions for our fisheries.
The amendment act is due to be implemented by August this
This is good
news for everyone who wants more conservative management of our
fisheries that will both leave ‘more fish in the water' and improve
aspect of this review process has been the opportunity to endorse
the Environment and Conservation Organisations of NZ (ECO) submission
to the Primary Production Select Committee, demonstrating that like-minded
conservation organisations can work together to improve our fisheries.
also submitted that we do not support changes to other sections
of the Fisheries Act unless they are fully consulted on.
proposal has been challenged by the fishing industry which has enjoyed
the financial rewards of the laissez faire, hands-off management
style of the Ministry of Fisheries, for years.
were proposed before the release of the High Court judgment in relation
to the judicial review of the Minister's 2004 and 2005 decisions
for the allocation of kahawai – the ‘Kahawai Legal Challenge'.
released on March 21st 2007, has now overtaken some statements made
in the Minister's statement on the intent of the proposed amendments.
Of particular relevance is Justice Rhys Harrison's reference to
the hierarchy of sustainability and utilisation, where he clearly
states in paragraph 17,
plain reading of s 8 the bottom line is sustainability. That
must be the Minister's ultimate objective.Without it, there
will eventually be no utilisation.”
court's interpretation, there is no obstacle to the Minister applying
a more precautionary approach now, without any changes to the Act.
we wholeheartedly agree with Justice Harrison and will support the
Minister in his ‘fish come first' approach to manage our fisheries.
A good place to start
implementation of this new approach would be Snapper
8, the west coast snapper stock. This fishery has been managed
at half the sustainable level for years and a whole generation of
people have missed out on access to an abundant fishery. Unquestionably
there are other important fisheries that would benefit from more
If the modification
means the days of managing inshore fisheries to satisfy purely commercial
objectives are numbered then let everyone support the Minister and
his amendments to emphasise that ‘fish come first.'
link to read the option4
submission in support of the Fisheries Act 1996 Amendment Bill.
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