Big Question, Big Picture Answer
by John Holdsworth
The characteristics of a fishery resource from a management perspective are that it is
a) open access, and
The fundamental problem to be addressed in the management of a resource with the characteristic of fisheries are
a) How to control access
b) how to set sustainable yield levels
c) how to ensure sustainable yield is maintained?
Big Questions, Big Picture answer.
Managing wild stock fisheries is all about managing people not fish. We have no control over the fish, it's food supply and it's environment. But we do have impact on fish populations through, disturbing or destroying some habitat, acting as a competitor by catching prey species or acting as a predator and catching part of the population. Controlling access, setting sustainable limits and not exceeding those limits are key issues for the fisheries managers
option4 is a group trying to give recreational and subsistence fishers a voice. We are working on an overall structure that will help the fisheries managers make decisions on access and sustainable limits (Whether we want to be the fisheries managers is another question). This structure includes having a recreational priority right in law. This right will lead to a fair allocation of the sustainable yield to the Public. This right should also give the public more say in what objectives are considered when setting the level of the sustainable yield.
This right should give the public more say in local fisheries plans.
Now to the questions
a) How to control access.
Through public involvement in fisheries plans, possible area closures, and in some cases reduction of commercial quota for stressed species.
b) how to set sustainable yield levels.
Through the Ministry of Fisheries science based fisheries management process but we will insist that social and economic objectives are used to balance the commercial objective of Maximum Sustainable Yield.
c) how to ensure sustainable yield is maintained.
By monitoring recreational, subsistence and customary and commercial catches and adjusting the following:
- Allocation of catch entitlement eg commercial to recreational
- Management controls in high use areas
- Closing some areas to some methods.
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