Submission - Part 1
is how option4.co.nz is expressing the 4 Principles in its full
submission. This is the result of many days work by a number of
very experienced authors.
option4 Submission to Rights Working Group on Sounding
|option4 Project Leader
to option4 and the Soundings Document
A rapidly growing affiliation of concerned New Zealand citizens
and fishing people have created option4 in response to the
Ministry of Fisheries' recently published document , in
which the Ministry invites submissions from the public as
to the rights of 'recreational fishers'.
that the Ministry, in the Soundings document, has adopted
a set of preconceived and indefensible assumptions about
the relationship New Zealanders have with the seas surrounding
their lands, whilst at the same time having omitted reference
to many important issues surrounding the preexisting rights
of New Zealanders to fish and harvest these seas.
The option4 submission seeks to place the real issues in perspective
with the added force of reference to the international legal code
as expounded and documented by the United Nations.
option4 is a task force which was formed to respond to the call
for submissions and public input regarding the recently released
Soundings document. The option4 groups' membership includes individuals
with extensive recreational fisheries management expertise.
Already option4 is aware of over 50,000 individuals from throughout
the country whose submissions are based on the four principles developed
by the option4 group.
option4 is determined to ensure all possible options for the future
management of recreational fishing are considered on their merits
and are debated as widely as possible.
To this end option4 has developed a website. This site has allowed
option4 to provide a transparent forum in which anyone with access
to a computer can present their views and have them considered.
The minutes of all option4 meetings are posted on this website.
It is evident that this website has provided a powerful national
debating forum throughout the Rights Working Group public consultations.
Widespread debate and consideration of the issues has also been
promoted by option4 through articles in the public and fishing media
throughout the country with the effect of generating considerable
awareness among the fishing public who are as yet unaware of the
proposed redefinition of the public rights to harvest in the marine
environment. Extensive discussion on talkback radio has further
option4 has also fielded representatives and received overwhelming
support at the following public consultation meetings:
Kaitaia, Warkworth, Takapuna, Papatoetoe, Hamilton, Whakatane, Tauranga,
Rotorua, Thames, Gisborne, New Plymouth, Te Atatu, Outboard Boating
Club (two meetings), Matamata, Pukekohe, Orewa, Sandspit, Dargaville,
Blenheim, Nelson and NZ Angling and Casting Executive at their AGM
held in Opotiki, Big Game Fishing Council AGM held in Gisborne,
Maraetai Boating Club and Southland
The following clubs and associations have already expressed full
support for the 4 principles as represented by option4:
|NZ Big Game Fishing Council.
|Marlborough Recreational Fishers' Assn.
|NZ Boating Industries Association. (BIA)
|Council of Outdoor Recreational Assns of NZ. (CORANZ)
|Angling and Casting Club.
|Tauranga Commercial Travellers Club.
|Kaituna Fishing Club.
|Otaki Fishing Club.
|North Taranaki Power Boat Club.
|Opotiki Surf Fishing Club.
|Grandview Road Sportfishing Club Hamilton.
|Wanganui East Club Fishing Adjunct.
|Paraparaumu Pac n Save Fishing Club.
|Pirongia Angling & Diving Club.
|Taramakau Chartered Fishing Club.
|Kaukapakapa Fishing Club.
|Huntly and District Workingmens Club Fishing Adjunct.
|Waikanae Boating Club & Volunteer Coastguard Inc.
||Stokes Valley Cosmopolitan Club Fishing Adjunct.
|N.Z. Kitefishers Association.
||Bream Bay Club Fishing Section
|Clarks Beach Fishing Club.
||Nugget Point Recreational Fishing Club
|Bethells Casters and Angling Club. Hells Anglers.
||Mount Maunganui Underwater Club.
|Marlborough RSA Club Inc.
||Bay of Islands Swordfish Club
|RSA fishing section. Kaiaua Boating Club.
||Albertland Cruising Club
|Titahi Bay Fishermans Club.
||Bay of Whales Fishing Club
|Raglan Club Fishing Adjunct.
||Golden years Fishing Club
|HBC Boating Club
||Kaukapakapa Anglers Club
|Kaipara Cruising Club
||Kowhai Lady Anglers
|Rodney Fishing Club
||Leigh Sport Fishing Club
|Warkworth Game Fishing Club
||Whangaparaoa Amateur Fishing Club
|Kawau Bay Fishing Club
||Otamatea Boating and Fishing Club
option4 has achieved a staggering level of consensus on public harvesting
rights in the marine environment. In addition to the considerable
expertise available within the core option4 team, option4's submission
draws heavily on the hundreds of written submissions posted both
on their website and mailed to the group, as well as the tens of
thousands of supportive submissions made without comments attached.
These submission comments will be available to the Rights Working
Submissions in Favour of option4 Principles
APPROX LIST OF SUBMISSIONS as at 19/12/00
WEB NUMBERS 2,000
MAIL NUMBERS 50,000
CLUB NUMBERS 35,000 plus
TOTAL NUMBERS 87,000 plus
The Soundings document proposes a series of options to address three
fundamental aspects of managing the public harvest from the marine
- The nature and extent of the public right to harvest seafood.
- The management structure to manage the newly defined public
- The funding mechanism required for the management structure.
option4 considers a sustainable healthy fishery is the overriding
objective of managing any fishery. option4 is supportive of improved
scientific research and a precautionary harvest strategy in the
absence of robust scientific information. option4 also supports
the implementation of effective monitoring and enforcement mechanisms
to ensure safe harvest limits are not exceeded.
option4 considers it is inappropriate to attempt to simultaneously
resolve the above three issues with only one round of public consultation.
option4 seeks to have the public right determined first, this will
form a transparent first step and only after the right is determined
is it appropriate to hold public consultation regarding the management
of that right. option4 along with the vast majority of those we
have consulted with, are also deeply suspicious of hidden privatisation
agendas surrounding the Soundings process. The grossly inadequate
funding provided for public consultation on an activity which over
one third of the population participates in, and which well over
half of the population get seafood from, as a result of sharing
the catch with family members, does nothing to allay our fears.
The option4 submission deals with each of the three points separately.
The major focus of this submission is on determining the right in
the first instance.
option4 has designed a credible set of four principles upon which
it believes the public's fishery rights must be built. These principles
reflect the vast majority of public opinion about current perceptions
of their rights and a refusal to accept the privatisation of any
of these rights as promoted in Soundings:
- That the priority of recreational fishers over commercial fishers
- That recreational fishers have an area-right capable of excluding
bulk commercial methods that deplete recreationally important
- A planning-right that would ensure any fish conserved for recreational
fishers could not be taken by the commercial sector.
- No licensing, levy or other compulsory funding scheme.
The area-right (option4) or recreational fishing zones (Soundings)
have wide spread support. The question is, if these zones improve
recreational catches, where will these fish come from in a fully
developed fishery? Careful planning and some level of priority will
be required for zones to be an effective management device.
The option4 concept of recreational and sustenance management plans
are introduced in this submission where fish conserved under such
plans can be set aside to provide for some, but not necessarily
all, of the future needs of recreational and sustenance fishers.
This planning approach can potentially minimise compensation issues
for the crown and minimise the amount of quota the fishing industry
will have to forego catching to allow for the future needs of the
Any planning right which cannot protect those fish conserved by
recreational fishers for the future needs of recreational and sustenance
fishers will offer no incentive to conserve and such planning processes
The type of co-operative planning suggested in the Soundings document
is rejected because there is no guarantee or sound evidence that
cooperative arrangements with the fishing industry can be formulated
on all species.
In addition to the four principles already defined by option4, the
National Policy for Marine Recreational Fisheries issued by the
previous Labour Government's Minister of Fisheries (Colin Moyle)
in June 1989 is also endorsed by option4. It is our belief that
this policy remains the current National Policy on Marine Recreational
Fishing in spite of its conspicuous absence from the Soundings Document.
If the National Policy for Marine Recreational Fisheries has been
revoked, we ask that it be reinstated as government policy forthwith.
The National Policy for Marine Recreational Fisheries objectives
are as follows:
- To ensure recreational fishers have access to an adequate share
of the fisheries resource
- To ensure that the recreational catch is shared equitably amongst
- To improve where possible the quality of recreational fishing
- To reduce conflict between commercial and non-commercial fishing.
- To improve participation by recreational users in the management
of recreational fishing
- To improve public awareness and knowledge of the marine environment
and the need to conserve the fisheries resources
- To develop a comprehensive information base on recreational
- To improve management of recreational fishing
- To recognise and facilitate the potential contribution of marine
resources to tourist.
- To recognise the dependence of some local communities to on
the sea as a source of food in the management of both commercial
and recreational fisheries.
The Nature and Extent Of The Public
Right To Harvest Seafood
option4 believes that the Ministry, in the Soundings document, has
adopted a set of preconceived and indefensible assumptions about
the relationship New Zealanders have with the seas surrounding their
lands, whilst at the same time having omitted reference to many
important issues surrounding the preexisting rights of New Zealanders
to fish and harvest these seas.
The following option4 document seeks to place the real issues in
perspective with the added force of reference to the international
legal code as expounded and documented by the United Nations.
Overview Of Public Rights To Harvest
A challenge was laid down to recreational fishers in July 1998 by
the deputy chief executive of the Ministry of Fisheries. He said
that recreational rights and access were being eroded and that "if
we don't move to protect these rights - and improve them - that
vital part of our culture will slowly be degraded."
He had his own views on how we might achieve this from a Ministry
of Fisheries perspective. option4 is a group of experienced recreational
fishers who have come up with a plan that really will protect the
public's right to fish.
option4 have identified the problem. Managing a nation's commercial
fisheries under a property-rights based system such as the New Zealand
quota management system (QMS) can erode the food gathering, social,
economic and customary rights of the wider community. Such erosion
will occur when the commercial component of any fishery is so great
that it hinders the existing rights of the people to have access
to historical food gathering or harvesting or adversely affects
other preexisting social, economic or customary rights.
The creation of individual transferable commercial fishing rights
in perpetuity has been clearly identified as an erosion of preexisting
Maori Traditional and Maori Commercial fishing rights.
Acknowledgment of the pre-existence of both Maori Traditional and
Maori Commercial rights has since been given management effect through
the customary provisions in the current Fisheries Act and the Treaty
of Waitangi (Fisheries Claims) Settlement Act 1992. However, the
pre-existing rights of the remaining New Zealanders have not been
well defined in law. An attempt to resolve and define these outstanding
rights issues through the "Soundings" consultation process,
which discusses recreational fishing rights, is underway. option4
believes many of the fundamental arguments that led to the successful
implementation of priority Maori Traditional rights are exactly
the same as those made by the fishing public.
Soundings ignores these rights in all three options it presents.
Option 1 allows the continual erosion of these rights, Options 2
and 3 seek to privatise all noncommercial harvesting except for
Traditional Maori fishing.
Any argument against public priority in the fishery is an argument
in support of the privatisation of the fishery. It is an attempt
to tell people how much seafood they can provide for themselves
and how much of this public resource they will have to purchase
from the commercial sector to fulfill their needs.
New Zealand has a small population base and a huge 200 mile economic
zone. This zone produces far in excess of the seafood needs of the
population. While a small amount of seafood is sold locally, most
is exported. The public of New Zealand who wish to purchase their
seafood, are tied to paying international market prices for it.
Nothing in this submission will affect the ability of the fishing
industry to supply fish to the public.
What is Meant by "Recreational
Fishing" in Soundings?
Before debating "recreational" fishing rights, option4
has first attempted to determine what is meant by the term "recreational"
fishing as used in the Soundings document and explored which other
public rights may be affected in redefining noncommercial fishing
The proposition in Soundings that these rights do not currently
exist because they have not been defined, and the attempt in Soundings
to place starting boundaries on these rights before they are defined,
is considered by the option4 group to be seriously flawed. The statement
on page 6 of the Soundings document, that "neither recreational
nor commercial have priority over one another", along with
the statement in the Joint Working Group's vision on page 4, that
it is perceived as a "collective right" (i.e.: the right
to fish) and therefore not an individual right, attempts to predetermine
the outcome and limit the debate prior to defining the right.
Soundings is also unclear on what rights are being defined and what
is meant by "recreational fishing". Is "recreational
fishing" fishing for fun and sport, or is "recreational
fishing" inclusive of every noncommercial harvest taken from
the sea except the Maori Traditional harvest?
There are grave concerns among the wider community that, while Soundings
debates "recreational" fishing, it is deficient in dealing
with other components of the noncommercial harvest. e.g. food gathering
and fishing for subsistence and sustenance purposes.
The importance of noncommercial fisheries to local communities along
with the economic and social well-being that flows through to the
wider public from noncommercial fishing, also appears to be largely
ignored. Also ignored is the cultural importance of noncommercial
fishing to a vast number of native born New Zealanders. The N.Z.
Government must realise that "recreational fishing" is
merely a component of a much wider range of existing public rights
to harvest seafood from N.Z's. marine fisheries.
The portion of the public who have an interest in harvesting from
the sea have become very aware that it is not just "recreational"
fishing that is being debated, but the rights of the population
at large to harvest from the sea, regardless of race or creed. In
short, in many respects, it is a fundamental Human Rights issue.
International Law and New Zealand
The New Zealand Government is signatory to:
1. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights
2. International Covenant on Economic, Social
and Cultural Rights
3. Maastricht Guidelines on Violations of Economic,
Social and Cultural Rights.
4. Limburg Principles
Accordingly, the N.Z. Government should take note of its obligations
under these international agreements before modifying or limiting
any pre-existing public rights to harvest from the marine environment.
Social, Economic and Cultural Factors
Relating to the Rights of All New Zealanders to Fish
The option4 group considers the Soundings document is deficient
in not considering the social, economic and cultural importance
of non-commercial fishing activities to all New Zealanders.
The document mentions the existence of only three user groups, Commercial,
Maori Traditional and Recreational. No mention is made of any other
harvesting sector in the wider community or of any subsistence or
If the term "recreational fishing" as used in Soundings
is inclusive of all types of legitimate non-commercial harvesting
in the marine environment (as stated on page 8 of Soundings) then
the Government has certain obligations to consider.
On page 8 of Soundings recreational fishers are defined, "Recreational
" fishers include many Maori who may be unable to fish under
a customary permit, or who choose not to do so on occasions.
Recreational fishing occurs for a variety of reasons, including
the challenge, getting away from it all in our marine environment,
and for food.
A variety of methods are used, such as hook, line and sinker, scuba,
pots and dredges. Recreational fishers may fish from the shore,
from a private boat or pay to go fishing on a charter boat."
Soundings has omitted the following methods:
1. hand gathering of shell fish
2. diving for shell fish and crustacea without scuba
3. netting for flounder and mullet etc.
4. longlining for snapper and terakihi etc. from boat or shore.
5. drop lining for hapuku
We are surprised that these additional and well-established customary
and traditional food gathering subsistence and sustenance methods,
as well as others option4 may be unaware of, used by the general
public since this country was first settled, and the many "Maori
who may be unable to fish under a customary permit," are not
included in the Soundings document.
In the opinion of option4 the failure of the Soundings document
to make a distinction between different types of non-commercial
harvesting must be corrected.
If the people harvesting fish or shellfish do so primarily or substantively
for food, then the issue is not about recreational fishing, it is
about the public right to gather seafood from a public resource
for subsistence and sustenance purposes, to share that food with
family and friends and, whether or not that right has priority over
commercial use of that same resource. It is also about the existence
of well-documented prior access to those resources forming the foundation
of that right and the customary nature of prior access where that
forms a part of the culture and tradition of the people.
It is about the right to food, the right to access one's food and
to harvest food for subsistence and sustenance purposes. It is a
core responsibility of Government not to interfere with these rights
or enact legislation that allows others to interfere with those
rights. Where the government has eroded these rights, it is also
a core role of the government to undo that injustice.
These rights, customs and traditions are not based on race, religion,
property or any other segregation of society.
We refer the reader to the following excerpts regarding the above
See Appendix 1
for excerpts from the United Nations High Commissioner for Human
Rights' Fact Sheet No.16 (Rev.1),
See Appendix 2
Maastricht Guidelines on Violations of Economic, Social and Cultural
Rights Maastricht, 22-26 January 1997.
In the absence of any specific mention of these values, option4
has interpreted the word "recreational" fishing in the
Soundings document to be inclusive of subsistence and sustenance
fishing and gives consideration to economic, social and cultural
values associated with the public's harvest of our marine fisheries.
Sport fishing, big game fishing and recreational fishing are included.
option4 is certainly not claiming that all public harvesting is
done for subsistence, sustenance or cultural reasons. The point
is that public harvesting for these reasons clearly has priority
over commercial harvesting rights, and if the creation of the rights-based
QMS (Quota Management System) in the midst of these pre-existing
rights has eroded or undermined such subsistence, sustenance or
cultural rights, then it is clearly the Government's responsibility
to undo, refine or modify such legislation to meet its international
treaty and convention obligations. If the end use of the harvested
seafood is used as a guide it will be found that an overwhelming
majority of public harvest is taken for food.
Each successful non-commercial fisher will always share his catch
with immediate family, and on occasions with extended family and
possibly friends. All who receive benefits from amateur harvesting
of seafood will be affected by any change in the way the public
share of the fishery is defined. In excess of three million people
are likely to be affected.
The obvious priority pertaining to some of the rights included in
the term "recreational" fishing as used in the Soundings
document raises several issues that the Soundings document has not
attempted to address. option4 supporters want these rights addressed
and protected in law.
Many fishers fish for relaxation, the outdoor experience, getting
away from it all, peace and quiet, etc. Campaigns like "Take
a kid fishing" also give our young the opportunity to escape
the Playstation, drugs and alcohol scene and enjoy a healthy outdoor
activity. Health benefits accrue not only to those who share in
eating the catch, but also from the outdoor exercise necessary to
catch or harvest the seafood in the first place.
However indefinable, the pleasure and pride of achievement in being
able to provide fresh seafood for the family table and the enjoyment
of eating seafood caught by a family member, should not be underestimated.
It is a fundamental part of the culture and custom associated with
Many coastal communities dependent on inshore commercial fishing
are now struggling to survive under the privatised quota system.
Large corporate quota holders who control most of the quota, charge
high quota lease fees and pay low prices to their fishermen for
their catch. Because of the poor returns from harvesting fish, many
experienced fishers are moving out of the industry often to be replaced
by less experienced fishers or novices. This results in higher levels
of wastage while these inexperienced fishers are learning how to
avoid by-catch of species they do not hold quota for, and also causes
high levels of juvenile fish mortality. This has an adverse effect
on the community, other users and the fish stock and allows continued
further erosion of noncommercial access despite the QMS.
Since the introduction of the QMS many people cannot afford to purchase
their preferred species of fish from the fish shop as prices are
inflated by around 30%. This 30% is the cost to the fisherman to
lease the right to harvest the fish from a quota owner. With snapper
retailing at up to $32/kg in metropolitan supermarkets catching
or harvesting their own seafood is the only way many New Zealanders
can still eat their preferred species.
Recreational fishing, and all it encompasses, creates a vast number
of jobs throughout the economy. Many small communities rely fully
on this economy, e.g. charter boats, bait sales, tackle stores,
wholesalers, import/export traders, camping grounds and many other
associated jobs. Many of these jobs are in regional economies that
have been hard hit in the last 10 years.
Boat and fishing gear manufacturers often start out supplying recreational
fishing vessels to local markets and then branch out to export their
Some local communities are, to a large degree, dependent on seasonal
revenues generated either directly or indirectly by noncommercial
fishing and the associated accommodation, travel, dining, charter
vessels, souvenirs, tackle and bait sales, fuel and boat maintenance,
electronics, restaurants, hotels/motels etc. e.g. Bay of Islands,
Tutukaka, Tauranga, Whitianga, Coromandel, Northland etc.
A recent survey (conducted by) for the Ministry of Fisheries estimated
the value of New Zealand recreational fisheries for five key species,
snapper, kahawai, kingfish, blue cod and rock lobster. It was estimated
that an annual recurrent expenditure of $973 million for these species
occurred. Using regional multipliers, the value to the national
economy would be two to three times higher. What is more these figures
do not take account of capital expenditure into fishing equipment
Limiting or capping the non-commercial fishing public under a quota
management system as proposed in Soundings will constrain growth
and limit future employment opportunities in these communities.
While the Soundings document tells us that commercial fishers won't
be happy if quota is reduced to allow for the public harvest, the
reality is that, commercial fishers catch around 500,000 tonnes
versus the public harvest of around 15,000 tonnes. The commercial
take generates around $1.3 billion in exports and profits are not
all retained in N.Z. Expenses include many imported goods such as
vessels, fuel, electronics equipment, bait, motors, fishing gear
etc. The fishing industries catch call of the mid 1990's, $2 billion
in exports by 2000 has fallen silent and well short of its mark.
A clear sign to option4 that wild fisheries have fallen below their
ability to deliver peak commercial catches.
The recreational and sustenance take of less than 15,000 tonnes
generates almost one billion dollars of internal revenue on just
5 species it creates many employment opportunities and can potentially
grow considerably further.
Using these figures it is clear that the economic value of inshore
recreational and sustenance fishing far exceeds that of the inshore
commercial fishery. Unduly limiting or constraining recreational
harvest could seriously undermine income for local communities and
businesses, prevent growth in these industries and severely affect
internal revenue gathered by the Government.
While acknowledgment has been given to Maori Traditional and Customary
fishing, the Government has yet to acknowledge the culture and tradition
that surrounds other forms of customary fishing handed down through
generations of native born New Zealanders. Consideration also has
to be given to Maori who may be unable to fish under a customary
permit, as mentioned in Soundings.
It cannot be disputed that since European settlers arrived in New
Zealand, harvesting from the sea or shore to feed friends and family
has been an accepted and well established part of what it means
to be a New Zealander.
During the Soundings consultation round option4 representatives
have had many discussions with fourth and fifth generation New Zealanders
who have developed historical, and intergenerational family traditions
and customs around harvesting seafood. They are now teaching these
traditions and customs to their children in the hope that they will
in turn teach their children and their children's children.
Unduly limiting or constraining customary and traditional noncommercial
harvest for all of the public while giving Traditional Maori an
uncapped customary right will be seen as a further and unnecessary
form of racial division and may in fact be contrary to the Human
Part 1 Conclusion
Because of the wide range of public rights that are being debated
and the obvious priority nature of some of the rights as discussed,
it is option4's firmly held opinion that a priority public right
is the only reasonable and just way of ensuring the needs of ALL
non-commercial rights holders are adequately expressed. Conversely,
if a priority right for all non-commercial users cannot be given
then it would be necessary to divide the specific types of non-commercial
marine harvesters into sub sectors with each sub sector having its
rights expressed in separate legislation, with some sectors, user
groups, or individuals receiving priority over commercial fishers
and possibly other sectors of society who fish in the marine environment.
Such an approach may be unnecessarily divisive and, categorising
which group or groups individuals belong to, could be prohibitively
expensive and raise further human rights issues.
has devised two foundation principles on which this necessary priority
could be given management effect:
A priority right that is equal to or, in
recognition of the Crown's Treaty of Waitangi obligations, slightly
lesser than Maori Traditional rights, while being above, or
in priority to, Commercial fishing rights.
An area right which will allow for the exclusion
of Commercial methods that deplete fish stocks in areas important
to the noncommercial fishing public, or hinders their ability
to reasonably access those fish stocks in which they have an
interest. option4 believes that, by incorporating these two
rights in any redefinition of noncommercial fishing rights,
the Government will fulfill its international obligations, reduce
any chance of racial division over access to marine resources
and enjoy overwhelming public support for such decisions.