Everything in life
is a balance of risk and there is no such thing as a risk-free
existence. As confirmed during the Kahawai Legal Challenge,
the Minister is obliged to adhere to the purpose of the
Act, which is to provide for the sustainable utilisation
of fisheries to enable people to provide for their social,
economic and cultural wellbeing. Wellbeing was described
by the High Court as “the state of people’s
health or physical welfare”.
The Minister has to apply the environmental principles of
the Act - to manage fisheries sustainably - while mitigating
any adverse effects on the environment; conversely he has
to enable people to meet their current and future needs.
DoC and MFish admit that the nature and extent of the threats
is highly uncertain so the Fisheries Minister will have
to balance the sustainable utilisation factors against the
impacts of his decisions on people’s wellbeing.
Intensifying the debate has been the publicity campaign
spreading misinformation about the threats and calling for
a nationwide set-net ban. Franklin District Council on the
southern shores of the Manukau Harbour were one such body
that originally supported an Auckland Regional Councillor’s
call for such a drastic measure. The FDC and other councils
were convinced that a total prohibition was required to
achieve sustainable management.
After representations from concerned locals the FDC has
retracted their stance and now support the status quo for
set-net fishing within the harbour, the trawling prohibition
out to four nautical miles and the options regarding drift
netting in the Waikato River.
Undoubtedly the Minister has a dilemma of weighing the sustainability
and utilisation objectives of the Fisheries Act. Amateur
and commercial fishers are encouraged to participate in
the independent survey to measure what the potential impacts
of the proposals are likely to be on their social, economic
and cultural wellbeing.
Aranovus Research NOW.