PO Box 37 951
The Guardians of Fiordland have invited comment
(views) on the document “Beneath the Reflections” -
Draft Integrated Management Strategy for Fiordland’s Fisheries
and Marine Environment. The Guardians were kind enough to grant
an extension of time to present these views. That extension was
In hindsight, that timeframe has been insufficient for option4 to
adequately consult with its supporters. The far reaching and multi
faceted implications of many of the proposals contained within the
document really do demand more work to be done. However, the Guardians
are no doubt working towards (as yet unspecified) certain timeline
goals and are very likely working under time constraints of their
own. We would make the point that process timelines do need to be
more specific and detailed than otherwise contained within the document.
The unfortunate timing of presentation of the document for feedback/views
falling only 2 months before Christmas and then being extended only
one month after Christmas means that the public have, by and large,
had little chance to effectively engage. option4 strongly recommend
that additional time be offered for public input. Certainly, if
compliance is an expectation the Guardians must be aware of the
all important need for widespread public support and adherence to
whatever the outcomes are.
The Guardians have invested six years of hard work
in producing the “Draft Integrated Management Strategy for
Fiordland’s Fisheries and Marine Environment”. This
far-reaching, quite visionary document represents the views of the
Guardians of Fiordland, a group of people passionate about this
region. There is much good intention and good thinking to be gleaned
from the many pages that make up their analysis and proposals. However,
whilst they have toiled to do the best for their people and their
region, so too many of us have worked long and hard to more clearly
define the nature and extent of the rights of the public to gather
seafood to feed their families and friends. Many of the proposed
management initiatives need to be read in the context of this effort
that the Minister of Fisheries, Pete Hodgson, and his Ministry have
been so engaged with.
2. option4 ORGANISATION
option4 was formed in the year 2000 by a concerned group of recreational
fishers, in response to MFish’s invitation to participate
in the process of redefining the nature and extent of the rights
of the public to fish and gather seafood in New Zealand.
MFish, in conjunction with the New Zealand Recreational Fishing
Council, compiled a discussion document called "Soundings".
This document suggested three options for the future management
of the public's rights and access to public fisheries.
In option4’s opinion, none of the three options presented
were acceptable for future management of New Zealand’s recreational
fisheries, nor were they capable of improving the lot of non-commercial
fishers. This was because all of the proposed options in the “Soundings”
document allowed for the continual erosion of the fishing public’s
option4.co.nz was developed to ensure that the fishing public, clubs,
and organisations, as well as individuals, could send a clear message
to the Government’s fisheries managers on precisely what is
required to ensure that the rights of current and future generations
of non-commercial fishers are protected.
Since its formation more than two years ago,
option4 has gained widespread support from the recreational fishing
public, clubs and organisations of New Zealand. In 2001 over 61,000
individual submissions supporting the principles of option4 were
made to the Minister on the “Soundings” process. This
represented an overwhelming majority of 98.3% of total submissions
received on the issue. Since then, over 35,000 further individuals
have made their support known to option4. Through its nationwide
network, and with on-going support amongst recreational fishing
clubs and organisations, option4 has established that it has the
support of the majority of the recreational fishing public of New
Principles of option4
"To carry the four principles of option4 all the way through
the rights redefinition process and to have those principles enshrined
- A priority
right over commercial fishers for free access to a reasonable
daily bag-limit to be written into legislation.
ability to exclude commercial methods that deplete recreationally
ability to devise plans to ensure future generations enjoy the
same or better quality of rights while preventing fish conserved
for recreational use being given to the commercial sector.
licensing of recreational fishers.
Sector Representative Groups Consensus.
On 8/12/03 the
NZRFC, NZBGFC and option4 sent to the Minister of fisheries a “letter
of consensus”. We now quote directly from that document: -
consensus has existed for some time and is now formalised in this
developed during the Soundings process.
to non-commercial fishing as guaranteed by the cornerstone statement
in the 1989 Recreational Fishing Policy.
- Need for
legislative reform to implement the principles and preference
statement and to ensure the public sector is adequately resourced
to be an effective contributor to fisheries management.
of the capped proportional share concept.
- The requirement
for improved information.
These key points
are discussed in more detail below.
developed during the Soundings process
principles are: -
- A priority
right over commercial fishers for free access to a reasonable
daily bag-limit to be written into legislation.
- The ability
to exclude commercial methods that deplete recreationally important
- The ability
to devise plans to ensure future generations enjoy the same or
better quality of rights while preventing fish conserved for recreational
use being given to the commercial sector.
- No licensing
of recreational fishers.
have been policy of the NZRFC for many years and were reaffirmed
at their AGM in July 2001.This endorsement took place at the annual
general meeting. Ministry of Fisheries staff witnessed this process
of arriving at consensus. NZBGFC have also endorsed these principles,
as have option4. We note to date that only one of these principles
has been adopted by Government with your clear statement that there
will be no licensing of recreational fishers.
statement in the 1989 Recreational Fishing Policy
The “cornerstone statement” in the 1989 Recreational
Fishing Policy, signed off by the senior Labour Party Minister,
the Hon Colin Moyle, states: -
cornerstone of the policy is presented in the first national objective:
to ensure recreational users have access to a reasonable share
of fishery resources. Government's position is clear, where a
species of fish is not sufficiently abundant to support both commercial
and non-commercial fishing, preference will be given to non-commercial
fishing. This position reflects Government's resolve to ensure
all New Zealanders can enjoy and benefit from our fisheries.”
All three organisations
are unanimous and consistent in their endorsement of the 1989 Policy,
and the Ministers forward in the form of his formal letter of introduction
and release and the cornerstone statement contained in the 4th paragraph,
now known as the “Moyle Promise”. This very important
policy document is still very much alive. It has never been repealed
by any subsequent Government, or the Ministry. It was however ignored
by the National Government and the Ministry during the 1990s.
To the recreational
sector, the 1989 Policy is the equivalent of the Treaty of Waitangi
to Maori. For many years, neither recreational/sustenance nor the
Maori sectors were recognised by the Ministry. The recreational
sector will not rest until the statement confirming preference to
non-commercial fishing (as stated by the Minister in the 1989 Policy)
is recognised by Government.
for Legislative reform
All three organisations have agreed on the need for legislative
reform and for the defining of the public’s right in the legislation.
We are open to further discussion on how this can be achieved but
before firming views and policies we have awaited the occasional
papers and legal documents that were promised in the paper “Recreational
Fishing Reform: Action Plan 2002-03” released by the Ministry
in January 2002. In that paper it was stated:
one: February - July 2002
Occasional Papers and Seminars
The consultation processes to date have identified some issues
of concern to stakeholders and the Cabinet has outlined some constraints
and objectives of future policy development. In order to address
these issues and concerns MFish will commission papers on the
issues of most concern. Where demand exists, seminars can be held
discussing the papers with stakeholders. MFish can provide experts
to speak where this is beneficial. These meetings will consist
of a presentation followed by discussion and consideration of
different viewpoints on the issue at hand.
Suggested topics include:
- The Treaty
of Waitangi and the Fisheries Settlement Act and their implications
for fisheries management
obligations, common law rights and related issues
rights and their application to natural resource management including
the QMS and the management of commercial fisheries under the Fisheries
objectives of government including the Fisheries Act and the Marine
Given that there are stakeholders around the country and participation
can be expensive, seminars will be held in the regions and only
where a demand is demonstrated. Seminars can be tailored to the
concerns of different regions and scheduled in consultation with
The objectives of this phase are to foster a broad understanding
of how options might meet the objectives and constraints that
cabinet has set for the development of options for reform. It
will also serve to make information available on the broader policy
environment. MFish encourages people to take advantage of experts
and papers that we provide and to this end MFish will publish
the papers on it's website.
MFish will be happy to consider proposals for incorporation into
the policy development process from stakeholders at any time during
this phase (prior to the formal input in the consultation phase).
Options will need to address the objectives that government has
identified and to be achievable within the constraints that have
it is now December we wonder where these papers and seminars are.
To our knowledge none have been issued nor any seminars held. We
ask, why have the Ministry not yet delivered these documents and
when will they? Is it now the intention of you as Minister and your
Ministry to just present the sector with a fait accompli for consultation
on the Governments preferred option?
of the proportional share concept
The recreational sector has, and always will, totally and unanimously
reject a capped proportional share concept because of the Moyle
Promise referred to above. We accept that management of fisheries
will continue under the QMS but this needs to reflect the public
right of access and priority.
We reject capped
proportionalism because the fish in the sea are a public resource,
and the public right to be able to expect to catch a reasonable
number of fish on a fishing trip must come before commercial interests
within the requirements of a sustainable fishery. The surplus should
be available to the commercial sector once they have paid the Crown
for the access right to generate revenue from a public resource.
We reject any agenda to cap the recreational catch in order to preserve
some “ fixed/defined proportion” of the TAC for commercial
concerns. As the High Court stated in the judgement on SNA 1 (CA82/97)
“If over time a greater recreational demand arises it would
be strange if the Minister was precluded by some proportional rule
from giving some extra allowance to cover it, subject always to
his obligation carefully to weigh all the competing demands on the
TAC before deciding how much should be allocated to each interest
It is agreed that a fundamental element of sustainable fisheries
management is to ensure that management decisions are based on accurate
estimates of all sector’s catches. The disparity between recent
estimates of recreational harvest and the historical recreational
harvest estimates that have been used for fisheries management decision
making to date, clearly indicate the need for more resources to
be deployed to prevent errors of such magnitude occurring in the
future. It is also agreed that better information regards “all
other forms of fishing related mortality” by all sectors need
to be developed.
Until the rights of the public are clearly defined the public role
in the management of New Zealand’s fisheries cannot be determined.
If we are to become involved in management, surely we have to define
what it is we will be managing.
We accept that the recreational sector needs to play its part in
managing stocks to sustainable levels and suggest there is already
adequate evidence to that effect. The recreational MLS and reductions
in bag limits in the past are examples of our resolve to support
sustainability. At the same time the playing field has to be levelled
and the public sector representative organisations need to be assured
that adequate resourcing is available for the level of management
responsibility that comes out of the rights definition process…
Fishing Rights Reform/Definition Process.
16th 2002, representatives from the various Recreational Fishing
Representative Groups met with the Minister and his official from
the Ministry of Fisheries.
The Minister writes (21/1/03) ….. “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 is not.”
On January 29th
2003, those same representatives met with Ministry officials to
work on developing a process that can achieve public fishing rights
reform/definition. At that meeting, it was made very clear that
defining the rights of the public to fish their fisheries was of
primary importance. Changes to regulations in the interim were also
discussed at length and the public sector representatives were very
clear; any changes to regulations whilst right reform/definition
process was underway would only serve to distract and undermine
the considerable effort already invested and planned to be invested
in order to achieve this reform/definition outcome.
Concerns with the Guardians Proposals.
All or Nothing Approach
The Guardians are quite clear in the “Implementing the Strategy”
section (7.1) that “the negotiated package of measures contained
in the strategy be implemented as a whole without
compromising underlying principles and balances”. The Guardians
then go on to say “should it be compromised the integrity
of the strategy will be compromised”.
These are strong
words – almost non-negotiable words. Where one sector (we,
the public) is giving so much and other sectors so little, this
is not a good place to go in a consultation process, never mind
a pro-active role in identifying and advocating research and information
We note the
lack of comprehensive historical catch and catch effort data (as
available already) contained within the document
“Ensure that the rights of tangata whenua, recreational, charter
operators, commercial and other user groups are identified and recognised
and that these groups are involved in fisheries management decisions
including access to the fisheries resource – (page 3)
Nowhere in the
document is there reference to the fact that the public (including
Maori who are fishing without the benefit of a customary fishing
permit) are currently fully engaged with the Minister and his Ministry
in work designed to define (identified) the nature
and extent of the publics right to fish. This is of serious concern.
also states that “Ensure that ….. these groups are identified..”
Nowhere in the document are the public sector representative groups
identified. This is of concern. Please reference to section 5.5
of this submission. - Representation of the Recreational Fishing
Sector on the Guardians.
also states “Ensure that ….. these groups are involved…”.
It cannot be said that the public sector has been involved (adequately)
at this stage.
“Prevent uncontrolled expansion of effort/harvest by all groups”
All groups currently exercise their rights with varying degrees
of control and mechanisms to achieve that control. There is no uncontrolled
“Adopt a cautious and responsible approach to proposals…”
The fisheries regulation proposals tabled, are, in the opinion of
option4, beyond cautious as they pertain to the public sector’s
rights to fish for food.
Developing the Draft Strategy
5.2.1 Gathering information
Despite emphasis of the Guardians intent to gather information,
the Draft Strategy document makes no reference to the relative harvest
of each fishery by each sector. Lets be clear, if sustainability
is at stake, the public will share the load of addressing that issue.
Before that is contemplated however, the causes and extent of the
threats to sustainability must be clearly documented. It is ludicrous
to expect the public to buy in to wide ranging cuts to their rights
to feed their families on the basis of fears that the public might
be a threat to sustainability at some unspecified point
in time in the future, unaccompanied by any tabulated summary of
extractions, historic catches or tonnages. Lets be told what % of
each fishery we are, have been and are likely to be before any changes
to our existing rights are tabled. Before the public can contemplate
any cuts we expect information every bit as detailed and objective
as would be required by the fishing industry to justify cuts to
does not deliver in terms of historical catch and effort data. Whilst
other publications might contain additional data, the document itself
does not satisfy the needs of those being invited to submit their
views. Until comprehensive data (as available already in various
forms) is made readily available, this document fails in this respect.
The document details much in terms of information gathering method
employed, sources tapped and process used and then fails to tabulate
the most basic information one might expect.
We are particularly
concerned that proposed regulation changes that are so detrimental
to the public’s rights to harvest fish for food are based
on anecdotal reports from a few individuals. The
proposed changes appear to be trying to predict and manage future
fishing scenarios that may not even occur and in doing so are eroding
our rights to harvest fish for food now, clearly unnecessarily.
of the submission will be covered more comprehensively when and
if the need for more information is acknowledged by the Guardians
and they choose to engage/explore additional data requirements.
Time constraints prevent further elaboration in this submission
of this most fundamental view/criticism.
5.2.2 Defining “special nature”
The passion of the Guardians is to be acknowledged and applauded.
They are privileged to enjoy a remarkably unspoilt environment.
However, every one of us, in the big picture, share to varying degrees
the privilege of occupying and enjoying the very “special
nature” of New Zealand itself and the marine environment surrounding
Perhaps it is time we all took a leaf out of the Guardians book
and focused on the “special nature” of our own regions,
throughout New Zealand. Thankyou Guardians for a very well presented
outline of your region. The document, as it describes Fiordland
and many of its features, would make a first class text for all
schools. There is much value in “Beneath the Reflections”.
The draft Integrated Management Strategy: Fisheries
Here we get an insight into the Guardians. Quick to point out that
they see accumulation of daily bag limits as merely a “defence
mechanism” contained within the Fisheries regulations as opposed
to an existing right that we, the public, hold very dear and, by
and large, treat with respect and care.
Why is accumulation detrimental? (3.6.4) – they ask.
The document states “The present accumulation regime encourages
excessive harvesting of some species….” NO.
The present accumulation right allows members of
the public to accumulate fish from one day to the next, up to, but
not exceeding those fish that they harvest on any one given day.
The use of the words “encourages excessive harvesting”
is totally inappropriate and out of place in a document that purports
to reflect the truth of the public’s right to fish for food.
The right to
accumulate daily seafood bag limits makes voyaging into places like
Fiordland a worthwhile exercise for many New Zealanders who wish
to see their families enjoy food from the sea. Is this practise,
this cultural and social fabric of New Zealand, causing sustainability
issues? If so, to what extent? The Guardians fail to offer any specifics
at this juncture. The arguments put forward by the Guardians are
centered entirely on assumption i.e. what we could do in theory
in terms of maximum harvesting. The reality/practise however is
quite different. Weather, fisher ability, freezer capacity, individual
needs/attitudes and practises are all variables that combine to
see fishers return to their homes with far less fish than what the
Guardians would have us believe.
There is no
mention of any of the very positive aspects of the right that allows
us to accumulate what we catch from one day to the next i.e. the
ability to feed our families or give a friend a feed of fish as
a result of making the effort to harvest those fish. The incredible
joy and satisfaction derived from harvesting, in a sustainable manner,
seafood that is essentially off the menu for most New Zealanders
who now find themselves competing with world markets for our crayfish,
paua and hapuka. There is no argument; nothing comes cheaply from
the sea. The sheer distance and time required to fish the abundant
waters of Fiordland would make it seemingly the last region in New
Zealand where accumulation would be so blatantly attacked. Lets
be frank. The fishing industry desperately want to see the public
of New Zealand capped in terms of how many fish they are allowed
to eat. The less we catch and eat, the more there will be available
to industry to export as and when our precious inshore shared fisheries
make recovery from the boom and bust commercial fishing practises
of the past. Just when some sanity appears to be returning to the
management of our commercial fisheries, the boot goes in to the
public’s right to fish for food for their families and friends.
then go on to describe, in detail, a particular charter party’s
behaviour. This is not balanced writing. There are no references
to the excesses of the fishing industry anywhere in the document.
No, lets just get stuck into the public again and paint them in
the worst possible light.
There is no
mention of the widespread practise of commercial fishermen giving
fish to whomever they choose whenever they choose.
has the potential to eliminate overnight fishing for food voyages
into Fiordland. We believe it is totally unreasonable to eliminate
accumulation throughout Fiordland.
a particularly unbalanced and disappointing segment of the Guardians
Bag limit changes outside the habitat line have little to justify
any change to current take. Small regional population, remoteness
and prevailing weather all offer natural barriers to excessive catch.
Once again there is no science and in this case even anecdotal evidence
that further restrictive recreational fishing measures are necessary.
It is unacceptable that no reduction in the commercial take is deemed
while the recreational take is severely slashed, particularly for
multi day trips. Will the result just be better fishing for commercial
operators, an increased commercial CPUE therefore an increase in
proportion of quota caught in Fiordland? A reduction to recreational
take outside the habitat lines is an unfair and unnecessary expectation
for the public fisher to bear.
The split bag
limits suggested by the guardians do not meet the criteria in Appendix
4 MFish compliance objectives and strategies that include:
• Understanding and accepting the rules as fair and necessary.
• Believe that rules are being administered fairly and equitably.
• There is a reasonable chance of any cheating being detected.
• There is a high probability of being successfully prosecuted
objectives state that they're trying to encourage a shift in harvesting
pressure from inside the fiords to the entrances and outer coast.
option4 believes the document as written encourages people not to
fish in Fiordland at all. The restriction on bag limits and non-accumulation
discourages all fishing.
Our individual rights to harvest fish for food within the limits
of sustainability are no less important than the fishing industries
rights granted under the QMS to harvest fish to sell. Therefore
we ask for the same decision making standards and process as demanded
by and granted to the fishing industry before any changes to TAC’s
or TACC’s are contemplated.
1. Robust scientific evidence of all factors pertaining to the proposal
2. Full consultation with all affected users
3. Involvement in the decision making process
All of the documents thus far have failed to deliver the necessary
quality of information, consultation and involvement necessary for
us to agree with the proposals made.
We need robust
scientific projections that support the claims made in the documents
produced to date that current or future levels of public fishing
for food will affect sustainability.
5.5 Representation of the Recreational Fishing Sector on
There are three people who are labelled “Recreational Fishing”
in the Guardians group. We have not heard from them. They are not
appointed by NZRFC or NZBGFC. Whilst they are free to describe themselves
however they like, it cannot be said that they are representative
of the public who fish for food if they have not adequately briefed
and consulted with the organisations that are so obviously set up
to do just that.
The NZRFC have
been very visible for a very long time. The NZBGFC have solid club
affiliations throughout the South Island. option4 have made no secret
of their commitment and availability to helping to resolve the public
“right to fish for food for family and friends” debate.
are not represented on the Guardians group. Nor can it be said that
these organisations have been “involved” to date.
It cannot be
said that “recreational fishers” have agreed to the
proposed management measures as is claimed in section 3.7 –
sadly, merely wishful thinking. Agreement to measures such as these
will require far more meaningful consultation, completeness of information
presented and respect for existing rights to be seriously considered
The document itself is unique in that it is much more than a fisheries
plan complete coastal management strategy for the region likes of
which have not been introduced elsewhere in NZ. As with all new
innovations being tested, caution should apply on implementation
for unexpected and/or adverse results may occur that were not the
intention of the Guardians or more importantly the very people who
use Fiordland and coastal area the most, the locals.
the draft document there has been a lack of wide consultation among
In discussion with many fisherman, they have never heard of GOFF
or the document under discussion.
The meeting at the Working Men's Club in Invercargill was not widely
advertised. The SSFC had to make contact with GOFF and ask to attend.
The SSFC was not invited to the launch of the draft document, which
is unusual as it’s the Southern most sport fishing club with
Fiordland as its home waters. This typifies the lack of consultation
that has taken place.
initiated by the Guardians to date does, in our opinion, represent
The section of the Strategy entitled “Implementing the Strategy”
has as its Key Objective
negotiated package of measures contained in the strategy be implemented
as a whole without compromising underlying principles and balances.”
It is interesting
to consider this approach with what the Wellington Airport case
says consultation should be.
New Zealand definition on effective consultation was contained in
the Court of Appeal decision arising from the case between International
Airport Ltd and Air New Zealand (CA 23/92, 73/92 1 NZLR 671).
The relevant section of the decision is as follows:
must allow sufficient time, and a genuine effort must be made. It
is a reality not a charade. To consult is not merely to tell or
present. Nor, at the other extreme is it to agree. Consultation
does not necessarily involve negotiation towards an agreement, although
the latter not uncommonly can follow, as the tendency in consultation
is to seek at least consensus. Consultation is an intermediate situation
involving meaningful discussion. Despite its somewhat impromptu
nature I cannot improve on the attempt at description, which I made
in West Coast United Council v Prebble at p. 405:
involves the statement of a proposal not yet fully decided upon,
listening to what others have to say, considering their responses
and then deciding what will be done.’
the concept is a requirement that the party consulted will be (or
will be made) adequately informed so as to be able to make intelligent
and useful responses. It is also implicit that the party obliged
to consult, while quite entitled to have working plan in mind, must
keep its mind open and be ready to change and even start afresh.
Beyond that, there are no universal requirements as to form. Any
matter of oral or written interchange which allows adequate expression
and consideration of views will suffice. Nor is there any universal
requirement as to duration. In some situations adequate consultation
could take place in one telephone call. In other contexts it might
require years of formal meetings. Generalities are not helpful.’
the Guardians for the opportunity to make these submissions, and
looks forward to your reply. We have taken on this task in the full
knowledge that the public are, to a large extent, oblivious to what
you are proposing. The limited response from the public can be sheeted
home to the limited efforts made by the Guardians to ensure the
public are informed.
is still much work to do.
any specific threats to sustainability is urgent and immediate.
of the public’s right to fish for food and the process to
further define that right that has been going on for four years
is basic “good faith” and essential.
information requirements beyond the information offered in the
Draft is very important.
on the specifics of likely future scenarios, rather than trying
to deal with non-specific future scenarios will likely allow for
proposal that have a chance of broad public acceptance and adoption.
not expect any recommendations to change any regulations until the
concerns outlined in this document are addressed.
We would like
to be included in any future correspondence and meeting notification.
We firmly believe
that the Guardians have a responsibility to the people of New Zealand.
To that end we would strongly recommend that you hold at least one
meeting in both Wellington and Auckland to outline the basis for
any recommendations that come about as a result of work done to
the Reflections” response coordinator
on behalf of the team and supporters of option4
PO Box 37 951
- Southern Sports Fishing Club, NZBGFC, NZRFC and the many, many
option4 supporters who have contributed to this submission.