Group - 2nd Meeting
The Reference Group consists of individuals from option4, the New
Zealand Big Game Fishing Council (NZBGFC) and the New Zealand Recreational
Fishing Council (NZRFC). This group was formed after a meeting with
the Minister of Fisheries in December 2002. It was an attempt to
progress the reform of recreational fishing. The process involved
representatives from the Ministry of Fisheries and the recreational
sector working through documents and trying to find a workable solution
to resolve the outstanding issues for the recreational sector including
the 4 principles.
Notes of issues discussed and decisions made.
|Amateur fishers (AF):
The meeting commenced at approximately 1.30pm at the Bucklands Beach
There were two main agenda items:
- Matters arising from the 29 January meeting;
- Development of reform options consistent with the constraints
set out in the Minister of Fisheries letter of 21 January 2003
and the principles set out in the joint letter dated 8 December
Notes from the
Notes from the last meeting were accepted with amendments to the
spelling of several alternate members of the group.
Actions arising from the last meeting:
|Provide a list of the quota transferred to Maori
as part of the interim settlement.
||Referred to Service Delivery within the Ministry for action.
|Provide option4 with an electronic and hard copy of a recently
released discussion document by the Ministry for the Fisheries
Services Plenary and to ensure option4 is on future mailing
||option4 now has document.
|Send out draft meeting notes within three working days of
the meeting and finalised meeting notes within two working days
of any corrections being received.
||(Fisheries Management) Ministry of Fisheries to action.
|Provide a paper setting out where the right to fish came from,
how (and at what point) this right to fish became eroded and
subservient to other statutory rights and obligations.
||Submitted at meeting.
|Combine the occasional papers into one Word document with
consecutively numbered paragraphs and email this document to
Reference Group members.
||Sent to reference group members by email on 31 January.
The paper setting out how (and at what point) the right to fish
by amateur fishers became subject to constraints was discussed.
AF thought it didn’t think it covered a key issue originally
raised about the right to fish for food or sustenance. O indicated
that the law didn’t distinguish between amateur sport and
sustenance fishing. AF asked about the legal status of the paper.
Had it been reviewed by the Ministry’s legal section. O indicated
the paper was largely historical in its scope. The legal aspects
were addressed in the occasional papers-paragraphs 25-51. This paper
had been peer reviewed by Crown Law and the Ministry for Foreign
Affairs and Trade. A wide-ranging discussion followed about the
difficulties of managing a shared fishery where the groups sharing
the resource had different needs and significantly different access
rights. AF raised the issue of the Crown’s obligations to
provide for sustenance fishing under various UN conventions. Officials
stated that these “soft law” statements did not bind
the Crown. [This issue is addressed in paragraphs 44-49 of the occasional
papers.] Officials undertook to provide a further paper specifically
addressing when the right to fish for sustenance purposes became
subject to constraints.
Development of Reform Options
A “talking points” paper prepared by officials was circulated.
[Attached as an appendix to these notes.] This focused on the nature
of the principles from the 8 December letter and the constraints
set out in the Minister’s letter. AF made it clear that any
papers to be discussed at the Reference Group meetings needed to
be emailed at least three days prior to the meeting in order to
ensure meaningful discussion. Officials accepted the desirability
of this but noted that it might not always be possible.
AF indicated that the priority right referred to in the joint letter
shouldn’t be read in isolation from the other principles particularly
the principle relating to the ability to devise plans. Amateur fishers
were not seeking an absolute unconditional priority right. It will
be conditional on not wasting or squandering the resource. What
they are seeking is a planning process to improve the utilisation
of the resource. The right to develop plans and sustainability measures-
[changes as appropriate to method or gear use, size limits, bag
limits etc]- to achieve improved utilisation of the resource.
If the stock assessment suggested the need to reduce take both commercial
and amateur fishers should be given the opportunity to implement
measures that reduced fishing mortality and wasteful fishing practices.
If, after the implementation of these measures, it was apparent
that the abundance of fish was insufficient to meet the needs of
commercial and amateur fishers, then the priority would be invoked
and a reallocation take place to restore the “recreational”
allowance to a level that provided a reasonable daily bag limit.
Any allocation process needed to ensure that those groups who contributed
to sustaining and rebuilding fish stocks benefited according to
their contributions. AF felt all to often the benefits of their
contribution to rebuilding fish stocks were appropriated by the
The concept of a limited spatial priority as suggested in the “talking
points” paper was discussed. AF expressed the need for the
priority right to reflect the nature of the fish stocks. Some popular
recreational species were migratory (kingfish). A limited spatial
right might not prove effective in these circumstances. Other species
were more sedentary (shell fish and crayfish). Spatial priority
might be appropriate in these circumstances.
AF suggested it might be useful to test priority options by looking
at the likely outcomes for key recreational species such as snapper,
kahawai, blue cod, kingfish, rock lobster, scallops. Working through
an example produced the following important issues:
- Need to research biomass, harvest levels and sustainability
- If harvest is above sustainable levels, need to look at alternative
ways of accommodating harvest but with reduced impact on sustainability
e.g gear changes [commercial sector still using diamond netting
was used as an example], and performance standards. Might need
to poll amateur fishers on the options and outcomes;
- Recreational demand is highest near population centres so fishery
management may need to be different in these localities;
- AMP programmes were not appropriate in shared fisheries unless
all sectors shared in the benefits
- Other innovative ways to retain recruitment (such as closures
after those year where recruitment is very abundant to give these
juveniles are better chance to mature and add to the biomass);
- Population growth in regions such as Auckland leads to increases
in overall fishing effort in fisheries accessible from Auckland
and to increased harvest take;
- Incentive structures not working as well as expected. Competitive
pressures were seen by officials as a disincentive in some circumstances
to work collectively;
- Msy v Mey ; sustenance needs v sports (larger fish) needs;
- Need for fishery management processes to be such that amateur
fisher contribution to sustainability were recognised and secured
and not given to other sectors;
- If after available fishery management tools not successful in
improving sustainability of fish stock then allocative criteria
needed to give effect to amateur priority through a gradual reallocation
over time from commercial to recreational.
- Officials and amateur fishers agreed that some aspects of the
incentive structures implicit in the QMS model are not working
as well as expected. For example, the incentives commercial fishers
had to fish on sustainable basis were not totally effective. Commercial
fishers still used diamond netting in the snapper fisheries that
resulted in many undersized juvenile fish being landed, increasing
mortality levels and negatively impacting on the sustainability
of the fishery;
- Commercial and amateur fishers have different demands-catch
rate generally more important to amateur fishers;
- Two important rights for New Zealanders-to harvest sea food
for your family, and to be able to purchase fish for your own
The operation of s311
was discussed and the outcome of implementing measures leading to
a spatial priority for amateur fishers. AF dislike the process because
it is resource intensive and AF lack resources. Officials indicated
use of s311 had lead to priority for AF being implemented in three
Officials suggested that specific allocation criteria should be
a key component of any reallocation process and drew attention to
a section in the occasional papers outlining possible criteria.
[See paragraphs 15-17]. At present the Fisheries Act 1996 was silent
about the matters the Minister should take into consideration when
making allocative decisions. Specifying the matters the Minister
had to take into consideration, such as equity issues arising from
the actions of particular user groups in contributing to or undermining
sustainability efforts; participation rates; population trends;
fishing practices was important. These were all issues that had
been raised in the discussion but amateur fishers felt were not
adequately reflected in current allocative decisions.
Point of agreement
- Criteria to guide allocation decisions would be useful
- Amateur fishing rights not adequately specified in legislation;
AF consider how fish are
utilised is an important allocative issue particularly given the
wastage that occurs in commercial and to a lesser extent in amateur
fishing. Officials noted that in Australia amateur fishing organisations
had been contracted to develop a code of practice for amateur fishers,
part of which covered utilisation issues. It was possible this could
be done in New Zealand.
Point of agreement
- Officials and amateur fishers agreed that equity is an important
consideration in any allocative decision. It is inequitable if
one group’s contribution to ensuring a sustainable fishery
is not reflected in its allocation. Similarly, it would be inequitable
if all groups were expected to bear the burden of sustainability
measures (such as reduced allocations) necessitated by the actions
of one group;
- Sectors need security about fishery management outcomes to provide
incentives to take proactive management initiatives.
Decisions to reduce the take for other than sustainability reasons,
or decisions that have the effect of reallocating take might attract
compensation claims. The issue of compensation; when it might be
payable and how it might be funded was discussed. O explained that
the protections in s308 did not apply to non-sustainability decisions.
Whether, and the amount of compensation payable when decisions for
non-sustainability reasons were made was for the Courts to decide.
Compensation was an issue for the Crown to consider in any decision
involving reallocation for non-sustainability reasons.
The issue of whether the s 308 protection applied to decisions to
set a TAC for the first time to fish stock already in the QMS [such
as the recent SNA2 decision] was discussed. O indicated it did not.
This lead into a discussion about how these circumstance came about.
[QMS was established under the 1986 amendment to the 1983 Fisheries
Act but there only existed a provision to establish a TACC under
this legislation. Quota were for fixed amounts, with compensation
provided for reductions in quota. In 1990, this changed to a regime
of proportional quota.] Officials undertook to provide a paper on
the regime changes that took place at that time. AF requested that
this paper include purpose and intent of changes to legislation,
consultation process followed and summary of said consultation results.
Officials indicated that the project didn’t have the level
of resources necessary to provide this degree of detail.
Officials suggested that in many respects the arrangements in place
to manage amateur marine fishing in some of the Australian States
(New South Wales and Victoria in particular) had addressed the issues
(such as allocation and compensation) the Reference Group was debating
and that it might be useful to draw on their experience. The possibility
of sponsored travel to Australia to talk with amateur fishers and
officials was raised. Officials undertook to prepare a paper setting
out fishery management structures and processes in a range of Australian
The meeting concluded at 5.15pm
Officials undertook to provide a further paper specifically addressing
when the right to fish for sustenance purposes became subject to
Officials undertook to provide a paper on the fishery management
regime change implemented through the Fisheries Amendment Act 1990.
AF requested that this paper include purpose and intent of changes
to legislation, consultation process followed and summary of said
consultation results.[As indicated above officials did not agree
to provide a paper with this level of detail.]
Officials undertook to prepare a paper setting out the fishery management
structures and processes in a range of Australian states.
Minutes of other Reference Group meetings here