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Cabinet Paper Nov 2001


Recreational Fisheries Reform Cabinet Paper

Pete Hodgson

November 2001



Cabinet Paper on "Recreational Fisheries Reform" process and outcomes presented by Minister Hodgson to Cabinet Committee

November, 2001

Cabinet Finance,
Infrastructure and
Environment Committee

Minute of Decision

FIN Min (01) 2814

Copy Number: 32

This document contains information for the New Zealand Cabinet. It must be treated in confidence and handled in accordance with any security classification, or other endorsement. The information can only be released, including under the Official Information Act 1982, by persons with the appropriate authority.

Recreational Fisheries Reform
On 14 November 2001, the Cabinet Finance, Infrastructure and Environment Committee:

  1. noted that the first round of public consultation on recreational fisheries reform has been completed and the need for further work has been identified;
  2. noted that all parties to the discussion following the public consultation agree that the following objectives of recreational fisheries management provide a basis for continuing the discussions:
  1. access to a reasonable share of inshore fishery resources equitably distributed between recreational fishers;
  2. improve, where practical, the quality of recreational fishing
  3. increase public awareness and knowledge of the marine environment and the need for conservation of fishery resources
  4. improve management of recreational fisheries;
  5. reduce conflict within and among fishery user groups;
  6. maintain current tourist fisheries and encourage the development of new operations where appropriate;
  7. prevent depletion of resources in areas where local communities are dependent on the sea as a source of food:
  8. provide more opportunities for recreational fishers to participate in the management of fisheries,
  1. noted that the Minister of Fisheries has requested that the Ministry of Fisheries work closely with the recreational sector to develop a specific proposal for reform to enable implementation of the objectives outlined in paragraph 2 above, within the constraints of the current fisheries management environment which are to:
  1. avoid the undermining of the fisheries Deed of Settlement;
  2. recognise the legitimate rights of other fisheries stakeholders including the commercial and customary sectors
  3. operate within the fiscal constraints imposed by the Crown and the rules
    surrounding expenditure of public funds;
  4. recognise the explicit consideration given to sustainability of fishstocks and the environmental principles of the Fisheries Act 1996;
  5. be consistent with any outcomes of the Oceans Policy process and with the biodiversity strategy;
  1. agreed that the Ministry of Fisheries develop and implement an information strategy to improve the nature and extent of information on the recreational harvest;
  2. invited the Minister of Fisheries to report to the Cabinet Finance, Infrastructure and Environment Committee (FIN) on the outcome of further analysis and a recommended option for public consultation no later than 1 February 2003;
  3. agreed that the Minister of Fisheries report back to FIN with the outcome of public - consultation no later than 1 June 2003.


Reference: FIN (01) 216

Hamish Finlay
Secretary

Present:
Hon Jim Anderton (Chair)
Hon Steve Maharey
Hon Pete Hodgson
Hon Matt Robson
Hon Paul Swain
Hon Marian Hobbs
Hon Dover Samuels

Copies to:
Cabinet Finance, Infrastructure and Environment Committee
Chief Executive, DPMC
Peter Martin, DPMC
Secretary to the Treasury
Director-General of Conservation
Chief Executive, Ministry of Fisheries
Director, Office of Tourism and Sport (Tourism)
Minister of Maori Affairs
Chief Executive, Te Puni Kokiri
Secretary for the Environment

Officials present from:
Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet
Treasury

FIN (01) 216

Cabinet Finance, Infrastructure and Environment Committee Copy No 32c

This document contains information for the New Zealand Cabinet. It must be treated in confidence and handled in accordance with any security classification, or other endorsement. The information can only be released, including under the Official Information Act 1982, by persons with the appropriate authority.

Title Recreational Fisheries Reform
Purpose The paper reports on the outcome of the public consultation process on
recreational fisheries reform, and recommends the next steps.
Previous On 5 July 2000 FIN approved the release of the discussion document

Consideration "Sounding Out Your Views on Recreational Fishing" and invited the Minister of Fisheries to report to FIN on the outcome of the consultation process, further analysis and recommended options for change [FIN (00) M 20/3].

Summary The discussion document was released in July 2000. The consultation strategy included wide distribution of the document and public meetings and hui. The Joint Working Group (the New Zealand Recreational Fishing Council and Ministry of Fisheries) summarised the submissions and reported to the Minister with their findings of the public consultation. They are summarised on page 4.

The Joint Working Group recommends:

  • Further development of policy to better define the public share of and access to fisheries, and to improve the management of recreational fishing;
  • that further policy development does not include any form of licensing of
    marine recreational fishers;
  • that any future public policy debate would benefit from a broad scale education and information programme on NZ fisheries management;
  • improvement of the measurement of the recreational harvest;
  • improvement of the input and participation of iwi in further development of recreational rights policy.


The Minister recommends a further period of consultation with a view to developing a specific proposal for reform. It is proposed the Minister report to FIN no later than 1 February 2003 on the outcome of further analysis and a recommended option for public consultation. The outcome of that next round of public consultation would be reported to FIN no later than 1 June 2003.

Baseline Costs Implications: can be met within existing baselines.
Legislative Implications: None.
Timing Issues: None indicated.

Announcement The Minister intends to make an announcement on the progress that has been made with the reforms and the recommended path forward following Cabinet decisions

Consultation Fisheries, MfE, DOC, TPK, Treasury.

The Minister indicates that the coalition consultation Minister has been consulted and that caucus consultation is not required.

The Minister of Fisheries recommends that the Committee:

  1. note that the first round of public consultation on recreational fisheries reform has been
    completed and the need for further work has been identified;
  2. note all parties to the discussion following the public consultation agree that the following objectives of recreational fisheries management provide a basis for continuing the discussions:
    2.1 access to a reasonable share of inshore fishery resources equitably distributed between recreational fishers;

    2.2 improve, where practical, the quality of recreational fishing;

    2.3 to increase public awareness and knowledge of the marine environment and the need for conservation of fishery resources;

    2.4 improve management of recreational fisheries;

    2.5 to reduce conflict within and among fishery user groups;

    2.6 to maintain current tourist fisheries and encourage the development of new operations where appropriate;

    2.7 to prevent depletion of resources in areas where local communities are dependent on the sea as a source of food;

    2.8 provide more opportunities for recreational fishers to participate in the management of fisheries;
  3. note that the Minister of Fisheries has requested that the Ministry of Fisheries work closely with the recreational sector to develop a specific proposal for reform to enable implementation of the objectives outlined in paragraph 2 above, within the constraints of the current fisheries management environment which are to:
    3. 1 avoid the undermining of the deed of settlement;

    3.2 recognise the legitimate rights of other fisheries stakeholders including the commercial and customary sectors;

    3.3 operate within the fiscal constraints imposed by the Crown and the rules surrounding expenditure of public funds;

    3.4 recognise the explicit consideration given to sustainability of fishstocks and the environmental principles of the Fisheries Act 1996;

    3.5 be consistent with any outcomes of the Oceans Policy process and with the biodiversity strategy;
  4. agree that the Ministry of Fisheries develop and implement an information strategy to
    improve the nature and extent of information on the recreational harvest;
  5. invite the Minister of Fisheries to report to the Cabinet Finance, Infrastructure and Environment committee (FIN) on the outcome of further analysis and a recommended option for public consultation no later than 1 February 2003
  6. agree that the Minister of Fisheries report back to FIN with the outcome of public consultation no later than 1 June 2003.

Sarah Egan for Secretary of the Cabinet

Copies to:
Cabinet Finance, Infrastructure and Environment Committee
Chief Executive, DPMC
Peter Martin, DPMC
Secretary to the Treasury
Director-General of Conservation
Chief Executive, Ministry of Fisheries
Director, Office of Tourism and Sport (Tourism)
Minister of Maori Affairs
Chief Executive, Te Puni Kokiri
Secretary for me Environment

Office of the Minister for Fisheries

The Chair
Cabinet Finance Infrastructure and Environment Committee

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RECREATIONAL FISHERIES REFORM

Executive Summary

  1. This paper comprises a report on the outcome of the public consultation process, and recommended options for progressing with the reform to improve the management of recreational fishing.
  2. I recommend a further period of consultation with a view to developing a specific proposal for reform, and have instructed the Ministry of Fisheries to provide me with a strategy for further consultation. In the interim I have instructed the Ministry to develop proposals to improve the information collected on the nature of the recreational harvest.
  3. I propose reporting back to the Committee with a recommended option for public consultation no later than 1 February 2003 and subsequently to report back on the outcome of public consultation no later than 1 June 2003.


Background

  1. While all New Zealanders have the right to go recreational fishing, there are signs that their ability to catch fish is being eroded. The quality of recreational fishing includes access to fishing areas as well as catch rates and size of fish. Catch rates and size of fish are being affected by:
  • Increasing numbers of people going recreational fishing in popular areas, many of which are also popular commercial and customary fishing areas
  • Environmental deterioration, such as habitat destruction from land-based pollution and environmentally damaging fishing methods
  • Lack of clear guidance on what share of the available catch should go to recreational fishers versus commercial, and poor information to support that decision
  • A low propensity on the part of recreational fishers to act collectively to protect their rights and promote their interests.
  • Illegal fishing


Areas that recreational fishers can access are being affected by:

  • Marina developments, marine reserves, marine farming, and restrictions on access to wharves and private land
  1. These issues signal a need for:
  • A clearer definition of the relationship between recreational fishing, and customary Maori and commercial fishing right.
  • Improved area-based management of recreational fishing
  • Consideration of ways to ensure recreational fishers can protect their own interests and rights
  1. From a broader fisheries management perspective, all three harvest groups (customary Maori, recreational and commercial) are missing out on potential benefits. Because the Minister of Fisheries has some discretion in setting the commercial and recreational shares, both sectors lobby the Minister to protect and enhance their share. This can cause tension and divert attention and resources from working together to improve fisheries management outcomes. For example, fishing could be improved by supporting initiatives to rebuild stocks through improved husbandry, less damaging techniques and restraint.
  2. There is also a continued need to improve information on recreational take in fisheries where recreational take is significant in order to:
  • Guide and support sustainability decisions
  • Inform allocative decisions
  • Enable the development of co-operative management regimes


Previous Cabinet Decisions

  1. The objectives for this review of the management of recreational fishing are to [FIN (00) M 20/3 refers]:
  • More clearly specify the relationship between recreational and commercial fishing rights, and recreational and customary fishing rights
  • Ensure spatial allocation issues affecting recreational fishing can be addressed
  • Encourage recreational fishers to take greater responsibility for managing recreational fishing
  1. On November 2 1998, Cabinet [CAB (98) M 41/7-11 refers], inter alia:

    e) Agreed that the proposals of [...] reform of the management regime [...] of recreational fisheries be the subject of a public consultation by way of a standard Ministerial or departmental consultation document.
  2. On July 31 2000, Cabinet [FIN (00) M 20/3 refers], inter alia:

    a) Agreed that the Minister of Fisheries report back to the Committee on the outcome of the consultation process, further analysis and recommended options for change by 31 March 2001.
  3. The report back date was subsequently extended to 31 December 2001 [FIN Memo (01)1 8/5 refers].


The Joint Working Group on Recreational Fishing Rights

  1. Over the past decade recreational fishers became increasingly concerned about some aspects of marine recreational fisheries management, with much of their frustration focusing on access t their local fisheries.
  2. Recreational fishers made their concerns known to the previous government. The Minister of Fisheries came to the conclusion that more clearly specifying the harvesting and management rights and responsibilities of recreational fishers could resolve many problems. The government was already following this course of action for customary and commercial fishers. It is also a course comparable countries have followed, including many Australian states.
  3. At the New Zealand Recreational Fishing Council (NZRFC) annual conference in July 1998, the Minister challenged the NZRFC to work collaboratively with Government to test the public's views about better defining recreational fishing rights and management responsibilities.
  4. The NZRFC responded positively and accepted this challenge. A joint NZRFC/Ministry of Fisheries working group (JWG) was formed to develop options to identify and secure New Zealand recreational fishing rights and responsibilities.
  5. Regular meetings of the JWG were held in late 1998 and early 1999 to develop background papers for discussion with NZRFC members. Six papers on recreational fishing rights were discussed during workshop sessions at the 1999 NZRFC annual conference in Auckland. Following the workshop sessions the JWG continued to meet to develop a draft public discussion document based on the feedback received. In December 1999 the JWG met with SeaFIC, Te Ohu Kai Moana, ECO and Royal Forest & Bird to seek their views on the draft document.
  6. The JWG prepared a revised draft public discussion document, based on the feedback received from the workshops and the meetings with the other sector groups. As part of the process of obtaining Cabinet approval to release the discussion document, the draft was circulated to government departments for comment in May and again in June 2000.


Public Consultation

  1. I released the discussion document-Soundings the NZRFC annual conference in Nelson on 21 July 2000. The consultation strategy included wide distribution of the discussion document and public meetings and Hui. About 14,000 copies of Soundings were distributed over the public consultation period. Thirty-five public meetings were held throughout the country. In addition a number of clubs organised meetings of their own and invited speakers from the JWG and option4 Group*. In response to growing public interest, the deadline for submissions was extended from 30 November to 20 December.
  2. A total of 62,117 submissions were received. The overwhelming majority of all submissions received were from recreational fishers (99%). A significant feature of responses is the form letter distributed by the option4 Group, which affected a total of 61,178 submissions. In addition to this, 950 other submissions were received (610 Soundings submission forms and 329 letters from individuals and organisations). An independent contractor prepared a summary of the submissions.
  3. In early August, the JWG sent a letter to iwi inviting tangata whenua to comment on issues and options raised in Soundings and seeking their views as to how they wanted to be consulted. By mid February 13 hui had been held. In the South Island hui were held with representatives from Te Tau Ihu and Te Runanga o Ngai Tahu. In the North Island 11 Hui were held, and a number of other tangata whenua groups were contacted but they sought no Hui.
  4. The Joint Working Group presented me with a summary of submissions and a report outlining the process undertaken and the Group's interpretation of the submissions. Their findings are outlined below.

    * Option4 are a group of recreational fishers who formed in response to the Soundings public discussion process, specifically to oppose licensing and promote other options within the package.


Findings of the Joint Working Group

  1. The key lessons and conclusions that the JWG presented to me are as follows:
  • There is widespread support for change. The public wants to improve the quality of recreational fishing and recognise a need for better specification of rights, in particular Tights to participate in the management of recreational fishing. Views about the way forward were diverse, and in some cases contradictory. While the nature and extent of the necessary change is still unclear, it is evident that the status quo is unsustainable.
  • Recreational fishers do not support licensing
  • A lot more work is needed to engage iwi in the debate about better specification of recreational fishing rights. This has not proved an easy task and, as a consequence, the JWG still does not have a full appreciation of iwi views.
  • The commercial sector acknowledges the public right to go recreational fishing. Some of the customary sector acknowledges this right but others consider it a privilege. Both sectors do not want the process of better specification of rights to be done in a manner that adversely affects their current rights.
  • People are passionate about recreational fishing. The majority just want to go fishing, and do not wish to participate in the complexities of fisheries management.
  • There is, in general, a poor understanding about how we manage fisheries in New Zealand. There is also a poor understanding, and acceptance, of the nature of customary fishing rights.
  1. The recommendations of the JWG were as follows:
  • Support the further development of policy to:
  • Better define the public share of and access to fisheries, and,
  • Improve the management of recreational fishing (note, there is widespread support for statutorily mandated national and regional representative bodies, which are government funded).
  • Agree that further policy development does not include any form of licensing of marine recreational fishers.
  • Note that any future public policy debate on the recreational share, access and management would benefit from a broad scale education and information programme on NZ fisheries management.
  • Support exploring ways to improve the measurement of the recreational harvest.
  • Support the need to improve the input and participation of Iwi in the further development of the recreational rights policy


The Ministerial Consultative Group

  1. As a consequence of these broad findings I sought to continue the process of consultation with the recreational sector by establishing a Ministerial Consultative Group (MCG). This Group was composed of representatives from the NZRFC, Option4 and other major recreational groups who submitted to the Soundings process. This group acted as my sounding board for policy proposals as officials developed them.
  2. The MCG met five times in total and received a large amount of information from the Ministry of Fisheries. This included a detailed policy package developed by the Ministry of Fisheries drawing on the contents of the Soundings document and the findings of the JWG.
  3. The MCG concluded that the process of further defining rights and management responsibilities would require more tune to reach consensus. This would allow the recreational sector to achieve a greater level of understanding of the problems they currently face and to allow a full assessment of the risks involved in any proposed changes.


Objectives of recreational fishing management

  1. The Hon. Colin Moyle, Minster of Fisheries, released the National Policy Statement on Marine Recreational Fisheries Management in 1989 and this included the objectives of recreational fisheries management. The Ministerial Consultative Group and I agreed these objectives provide a sound basis for continuing discussions on identifying an agreed reform proposal. There was also recognition of the need for more comprehensive information on the nature of recreational harvest.
  2. Objectives of marine recreational fishing management can be derived from the policy statement on marine recreational fishing made in 1989 by the then Minister of Fisheries, the Hon Colin Moyle. Since that time major changes have occurred to the fisheries management environment including the Fisheries Act 1996, the Deed of Settlement Act and the shift in focus from centralised planning to locally based planning through new mechanisms such as Fisheries Plans which entail a much greater role for stakeholders. lt is useful to restate the aim and objectives of the policy statement in light of the new constraints imposed, and opportunities presented, by the new environment.
  3. The aim of fisheries management is: "To enable the fishery resources of New Zealand to be utilised in a manner that maximizes the benefits to the social, economic and cultural well being of New Zealanders while ensuring sustainability."
  4. "The National Objectives for marine recreational fishing are:
  • Access to a reasonable share of inshore fishery resources equitably distributed between recreational fishers
  • Improve, where practical, the quality of recreational fishing
  • To increase public awareness and knowledge of the marine environment and the need for conservation of fishery resources
  • Improve management of recreational fisheries
  • To reduce conflict within and among fishery user groups
  • To maintain current tourist fisheries and encourage the development of new operations where appropriate
  • To prevent depletion of resources in areas where local communities are dependent on the sea as a source of food
  • Provide more opportunities for recreational fishers to participate in the management of fisheries"
  1. The National Objectives provide the framework for recreational management. However, the method of implementation needs to be developed within the current environment.


The next phase of reform

  1. The consultation process undertaken thus far concludes the first phase of reform. The process considered a wide range of possible policy options. These options included licensing and devolution of management responsibilities. Some of these options, particularly any form of licensing, are now confirmed as inappropriate in the New Zealand environment at this time.
  2. New groups representing the recreational sector have emerged as a direct result of the consultation process. This has improved the extent of representation available to the sector. The good relationship that has been developed with the JWG through the Soundings consultation process does not however exist with these new groups to the same extent.
  3. It is now possible to build on the progress made and develop a specific proposal for reform within this new environment. This second phase of reform will require a focus on building a consensus around a specific proposal. There is a need to continue to work closely with the recreational sector and build on the improving relationship with the Government.
  4. The development of a reform proposal will require further work, recognising both the national objectives and the constraints imposed by the wider fisheries management environment. It is proposed that after a period of further consultation I report back to the Committee with a specific proposal in the form of a consultation document no later than 1 February 2003. Public consultation will then be sought and the results of that process will be reported to this Committee no later than 1 June 2003.
  5. The development of a final policy package for reform will be constrained by a requirement to:
  • Avoid the undermining of the fisheries Deed of Settlement Recognise the legitimate rights of other fisheries stakeholders including the commercial and customary sectors
  • Operate within the fiscal constraints imposed by the Crown and the rules surrounding expenditure of public funds
  • Recognise the explicit consideration given to sustainability of fishstocks and the
    environmental principles of the Fisheries Act 1996
  • Be consistent with any outcomes of the Oceans Policy process and with the biodiversity strategy
  1. This public consultation will carry a fiscal cost which would be met within existing baselines. Initial estimates of these costs are $125,000.


Information on recreational harvest

  1. The achievement of the above goals and the future management of recreational fisheries will rely to a large extent on the quality of information available on the nature and extent of recreational harvest. This will be true irrespective of the final outcome of the current review of recreational fisheries management. All participants in the consultation process recognised this and they also recognised that there are some gaps in the information currently collected.
  2. Therefore there is a clear need in the short term to address the issue of information regarding the recreational harvest. I have instructed the Ministry of Fisheries to address these issues within the current Fisheries Act 1996 framework.
  3. The Ministry will develop an information strategy that addresses the information demands of sustainability, the integrity of the harvest rights of stakeholders and other management requirements. This strategy will incorporate at least the following two areas where a need for improved information has been identified:
  • The nature and extent of the harvest from charter vessels
  • The frequency, consistency and accuracy of the recreational harvest surveys
  1. These initiatives will carry a fiscal cost that the Ministry will meet within existing baselines. Indicative costs of potential elements of the strategy are:

    Doubling the frequency of the four yearly recreational harvest survey ($1,000,000 per survey)
    $250,000 pa

    Requiring reporting from charter boat operators
    $250,000 pa

    Total
    $500,000 pa

Consultation

  1. This paper has been prepared in consultation with the Ministry for the Environment, The Department of Conservation, Te Puni Kokiri and the Treasury.


Financial Implications

  1. The fiscal costs arising from the recommendations in this paper amount to $625,000 in 2002/3 and $500,000 in the out years. These costs will be met from within existing baselines.


Treaty Impacts

  1. The recommendations in this paper are consistent with customary fishing rights and the fisheries Deed of Settlement.


Publicity

  1. I intend to make an announcement on the progress that has been made with the reforms and the recommended path forward following cabinet decisions.


Regulatory Impact Statement and Business Compliance Cost Statement

  1. There are no regulatory impacts or business compliance costs associated with the recommendations in this paper.


Recommendations

  1. It is recommended that the Committee:
  1. note that the first round of public consultation has been completed and the need for further work has been identified
  2. note all parties to the discussion following the public consultation agree the following objectives of recreational fisheries management provide a basis for continuing the discussions:
  • Access to a reasonable share of inshore fishery resources equitably distributed between recreational fishers
  • Improve, where practical, the quality of recreational fishing
  • To increase public awareness and knowledge of the marine environment and the need for conservation of fishery resources
  • Improve management of recreational fisheries
  • To reduce conflict within and among fishery user groups
  • To maintain current tourist fisheries and encourage the development of
    new operations where appropriate
  • To prevent depletion of resources in areas where local communities are dependent on the sea as a source of food
  • Provide more opportunities for recreational fishers to participate in the management of fisheries
  1. note that I have requested that the Ministry of Fisheries work closely with the recreational sector to develop a specific proposal for reform to enable implementation of the objectives outlined in (b)) above within the constraints of the current fisheries management environment which are:
  • Avoid the undermining of the fisheries Deed of Settlement
  • Recognise the legitimate rights of other fisheries stakeholders including the commercial and customary sectors
  • Operate within the fiscal constraints imposed by the Crown and the rules surrounding expenditure of public funds
  • Recognise the explicit consideration given to sustainability of fishstocks and the environmental principles of the Fisheries Act 1996
  • Be consistent with any outcomes of the Oceans Policy process and with the biodiversity strategy
  1. agree that the Ministry of Fisheries develop and implement an information strategy to improve the nature and extent of information on the recreational harvest
  2. agree that the Minister of Fisheries report back to the Committee on the outcome of further analysis and a recommended option for public consultation no later than 1 February 2003
  3. agree that the Minister of Fisheries report back to the Committee with the outcome of public consultation no later than 1 June 2003


Hon Pete Hodgson
Minister of Fisheries

 

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