of Fisheries Response
Reference Group Letter
Office of Hon Pete Hodgson
MP for Dunedin North
Minister of Energy
Minister of Fisheries
Minister of Research, Science
Minister for Crown Research
Associate Minister for Industry
and Regional Development
Associate Minister of Foreign
Affairs and Trade
Convenor, Ministerial Group
on Climate Change
19 DEC 2003
NZ Big Game Fishing Council
PO Box 93
Thank you for your letter
of 1st December, providing a careful and comprehensive response
to the reform proposal that were last discussed in October.
I am most appreciative of
the time that you and your members have spent on these issues, and
the way you have actively worked together to develop a consensus
on the proposal for progress. I believe that the process of working
together in this way, has allowed constructive dialogue to develop,
which we can build on in the future.
At the end of the October
meeting I asked the Reference Group to see if they could reach a
consensus on the level of support that you would be able to provide
for a number of specific areas of reform, including amendments to
the Fisheries Act.
Your response indicates that
there is consensus within your group to support some parts of the
package, but not others. In particular you are unable to support
the proposal to alter section 21 of the Act, to set out specific
criteria for the Minister to have regard to, when making allowances
before setting a "Total Allowable Commercial Catch" (TACC).
I am heartened by the support
you have indicated for most parts of this proposal. I note your
opposition to reform of section 21, which I saw as a central element
of the reforms. The proposed amendments to s21 would improve the
certainty and transparency around the provision of the allowance
for recreational fishers, and thereby give better specification
of the nature of the recreational right. Given the position explained
by the Reference Group, the conclusion I reach is that the option
of using legislation to effect reform of recreational fisheries
will have to be postponed for the immediate future.
As I indicated at our meeting,
legislative reform would only be successful if it had a substantial
degree of stakeholder acceptance.
Given the already tight legislative
program for next year, and the time that has elapsed, I think we
have missed the chance of clarifying allocation decisions as they
relate to recreational interests, by altering the Act, and we need
to make progress by other means on the issues where we are in agreement.
It may be that, in the future,
we can revisit the allocation issue and continue to try and reach
agreement, using the very useful background work that we have carried
As I noted earlier, I am
heartened by your agreement to provide support for other proposals
because I believe that there are several areas where we may be able
to make significant progress. These are;
on recreational fishers and fisheries
about decisions in respect of recreational fisheries
Review of specific
It seems clear that the allocation
decisions under the present Act, as well as decisions in respect
of other measures, such as section 311, and sustainability measures,
would benefit from improved information on recreational fishing
activity. This information will provide for the better recognition
of recreational interests and a better platform for future decisions.
I note that work is underway
within the Ministry to identify specific research projects and I
have indicated my support for obtaining increased funding to obtain
improved information. When we have improved harvest estimates, these
can be used as a basis for decisions on existing allocations. The
proposal for cooperative development of a recreational CPUE type
database is worthy of further consideration in order to develop
a workable option.
More clarity about
decisions affecting recreational fishers
There are several developments
underway which will assist in providing a better understanding of
recreational fisheries management.
- An agreement by the Fisheries Management business of the Ministry
of Fisheries, to develop a more transparent process for the consideration
of proposals, including those from the recreational fishing sector,
for inclusion in the Ministry sustainability review process.
- The development of stock strategies. These documents will, over
time, outline the management objectives for the stock, and the
various measures put in place to work towards attaining those
objectives. It is intended that these strategies will set out
specific management objectives, including those for recreational
fishers. The strategies will provide for the involvement of all
sectors in setting the objectives for the fishery.
Review of specific
I understand that the Ministry
has already approached your group with an invitation for you to
put forward ten specific regulations for review, and has committed
to initiate the review.
While the full detail of
these measures is not yet developed, I am confident that they will,
over time, improve the management of recreational fisheries, particularly
in respect of the integration of decision-making.
Looking back over the process
of the last 18 months or so, it seems to me that we have reached
the end of a particular stage. We have had a series of, at times
robust, but productive discussions which have improved our ability
to work constructively together. While there hasn't been enough
of a consensus to proceed with legislative reform; we have nevertheless
had positive results in identifying a number of particular areas
where the management of recreational fisheries can be improved.
In the next stage, Ministry
officials will continue, with your assistance, to work on the issues
we have identified, particularly the proposals to improve the accuracy
and scope of information on recreational fishing. I have no doubt
that, while there is still work to be done in creating more certainty
and transparency in respect of recreational rights, the work so
far is a positive step.
Thank you once again for
the very significant time and effort that you have put in voluntarily
on behalf of recreational fishers.
Hon Pete Hodgson
Minister of Fisheries
Read the complete text
of the letter sent to the Minister on December 1st 2003 from the
Rights Reference Group here » »
Back to the Reference Group index
page » »