Minister's Response to the Consensus Letter
In December 2002 option4, the New Zealand Big Game Fishing Council
(NZBGFC) and the New Zealand Recreational Fishing Council (NZRFC)
wrote to the Minister of Fisheries formally advising him of our
commitment to work together on issues regarding our right to fish
Read the full text of the letter here
This is the Minister of
Fisheries response to the consensus letter.
PO Box 37951
RECREATIONAL FISHING REFORM
I am replying to your letter of 8 December outlining the key recreational
fisheries management principles on which the recreational fishing
sector has achieved consensus.
It was good to meet with you and the others on Monday night to talk
through some of the reform issues. I hope it provides a useful platform
for further work on the recreational fishing reform, which, as I
indicated at the meeting, is important to improve the fisheries
management framework in New Zealand.
I believe it is good news that the sector is now speaking with one
voice on reform issues. This means we can now focus on the issues
and a constructive process to identify what is achievable and what
Your letter sets out some key principles that the sector endorses.
I think it would be useful if I went through the key points in your
letter and provided comments. Before I do so, however, I feel it
is useful to reiterate that the Crown has a few principles of its
own that will constrain what the Crown is able to deliver to recreational
The most significant of these are the Crown's obligations to Maori
under the Treaty of Waitangi and the Treaty of Waitangi (Fisheries
Claims) Settlement Act 1992. As was explained at Monday nights meeting
the currency used to settle the fishery claims was individual transferable
quota-ITQ. The Crown will have major concerns about proposals that
have the effect of undermining the value of this settlement.
I am also unwilling to accept proposals that significantly undermine
the integrity of the present quota management system and ignore
the legitimate rights of other fisheries stakeholders. The QMS is
the cornerstone of the Government's fishery management regime. By
and large the QMS is working well, certainly by comparison with
other regimes internationally, and I have no wish to compromise
the outcomes it has achieved.
It goes without saying that any reform proposal we agree must be
environmentally sustainable and be consistent with where the Government
wishes to go with its Oceans policy. I don't think this is a major
issue between us.
There are also fiscal issues. As I indicated at Monday's meeting
some of these are of concern to me but may not be insurmountable
with innovative thinking and goodwill.
Recreational Fishers Key Points
Your letter sets out four principles developed during the Soundings
You note the Government has only endorsed one of these principles-namely
that it will not be introducing licensing for recreational fishers.
I recall that we briefly touched on the others during Mondays meeting.
You will therefore have some idea of the issues that will need to
be addressed if the Government is to work with you to find mechanisms
that could effect concepts such as these. These are issues that
will need to be discussed in the reform process that I hope all
parties can commit to in the near future
As you know Cabinet has endorsed the nine national objectives set
out in the National Policy for Marine Recreational Fisheries as
providing a basis for continuing discussions on recreational fishing
reform. The National Policy document was not an approved Government
policy but a statement of how the Minister and Ministry at that
time intended to carry out fishery management policies in recreational
fisheries under the 1983 Fisheries Act. Both the text and the forward
were written prior to the Crown reaching a settlement with Maori
and therefore do not reflect current realities. My view is that
we need to develop improvements to the current regime consistent
with these realities but recognising the intentions of the 1989
policy document where this is possible.
I indicated at Monday's meeting that I saw reform of the Fisheries
Act 1996 as a likely outcome of any reform process and that this
will require me to seek a legislative slot in the Government's legislative
programme. This is something I cannot give an assurance about at
The occasional papers referred to in your letter have been mailed
directly to you by the Ministry.
I note your rejection of any reform option involving a fixed proportion
and your comments about both the need for better resourcing of the
Ministry's information gathering activities and the need to resource
the recreational sector to participate in fishery management so
it can fulfill its responsibilities arising from its fishing rights.
Thank you for attending Mondays meeting and for contributing your
ideas. I hope I will be able to meet with you again in the New Year
and we can make progress on this important area of New Zealand's
fisheries management framework.
Hon Pete Hodgson
Minister of Fisheries