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Norwest recreational forum minutes Feb 2006

Meeting Report

North Island West Coast (Kaipara-Mokau) Recreational Fishing Forum

13 February 2006


This report was prepared by Trish Rea 10 March 2006


Introduction Regulation Review 2006 New MFish Website
Management Issues Kahawai Compliance
Statement of Intent Area 8 Survey Shared Fisheries
Marine Protected Areas Strategy QMS Introductions Summary
Appendix One Appendix Three  
Appendix Two Appendix Four  


MFish: Jodi Mantle (Senior Fisheries Management Advisor) chair, Todd Sylvester (Fisheries Analyst), Sharon Dawbin (Fisheries Analyst), Graeme McGregor (Fisheries Analyst), Matt Cowan (District Compliance Manager, non-commercial), Paul Robinson (Fisheries Officer, Hamilton), Robin Connor (Senior Policy Analyst, Wellington).

John Forrest (Outdoor Recreation Party), Stuart Hogg (NZACA & Bethells Angling and Casting Club), Allan Jones (Mokau Fishing Club), Keith Snow (Orua & Wattle Bay Ratepayers Assoc), Sheryl Hart (NZRFC, Manu Bay Fishing Club), Trish Rea (option4).

Apologies: Alan Moore (NZMTA), Stuart Cameron (Manukau SFC), Bernie Ward (Muriwai SFC).

Time: 4 – 9:00pm
Venue: Ministry of Fisheries office, 608 Rosebank Road, Avondale, Auckland

Update group on fisheries management, marine protection processes underway or planned processes, requiring input.

Discuss regional issues, in particular matters raised at previous Forum meeting - TRE7 and local fisheries management tools.

Gain greater understanding of compliance issues.

Understand and have input into the Shared Fisheries Policy Development process.


Jodi Mantle, Senior Fisheries Management Advisor

Jodi Mantle opened the meeting with a welcome and a quick introduction from all participants followed. No feedback was given regarding the summary from the previous meeting. The meeting summary (Appendix One), taken by MFish, will be posted on the Ministry’s website soon. Members agreed that the summary and future records of meetings could be posted on the Ministry website – names to be included. A copy had already been distributed to Forum members and they were welcome to distribute the summary as required (eg. club newsletters, etc).

Forum members were given the opportunity to share with the group concerns from their local area. Ministry were asked for their feedback or action.


  • Some novice landbased fishermen risking their lives fishing from unsafe places as the fish are not available in the traditional fishing areas
  • Experienced surfcasters report they are catching smaller and fewer snapper on the west coast, particularly in northern SNA8 area.
  • Albacore are scarce out west
  • Kahawai abundant further south. People taking bag limits of kahawai on west coast, should be taking less because of sustainability concerns; some clubs limit members to 10 fish per person, per day
  • Severe impact of proposed Great Barrier marine reserve on landbased fishers through significant loss of fishing grounds accessible via public land
  • SNA8 commercial catch for year ending 30 September 2005
  • After-hours callers to 0800 4 RULES not accessing MFish personnel
  • Lack of iwi representation on Ministerial Advisory Committee
  • Overall catch of trevally on west coast seems to be low, but there were varying reports of abundance. Trevally localised pockets fish well, but there is an ongoing concern about trevally at a management level
  • Paraninihi Marine Reserve in North Taranaki has been approved, but most locals still object to the establishment of this reserve



Ministry committed to providing the group with the final catch totals for snapper 8, they had not seen any final data for the year ending in September 2005.



The 0800 4 RULES number is only manned during work hours. MFish accept this is not ideal but are constrained by budgets. Matt Cowan advised a call centre is being established in Wellington that will eventually be the receiving centre of all calls to the 0800 numbers.


Ministerial Advisory Committee

MFish were asked who was representing iwi on the Recreational Fishing Ministerial Advisory Committee.

The people on the RFMAC had been appointed exclusively by the Minister according to the following terms of reference, “members will be appointed on the basis of their expert knowledge of recreational fisheries, and issues affecting the recreational fishing sector. It is desirable, although not essential, that members can demonstrate that they are representative of one type of recreational fishing or of recreational fishing in a particular location .

Robin Connor’s response to this exchange was “the RFMAC was not set up to be representative. It was set up to be an expertise-based set of appointments to advise the Minister on strategic level issues. So it’s not dealing with on the ground, local issues. They are dealing with policy framework, how can we get this thing really going overall, how to get the system to work better. It was never purported to be representative of the whole of recreational fishing or anything else. It’s just a technical advisory committee”. 


Management Issues

Todd Sylvester, MFish Fisheries Analyst

A very brief summary was given about the latest sustainability round, regulation review changes, upcoming sustainability round, fisheries plans, Sharing the Fish conference and current marine protection measures in place or in progress around the country. Brochures of the new bag limits for SNA8, applicable from 1st March 2006, and changes to regulations were given to all Forum members. More brochures are available on request. Keith Ingram has been appointed to attend the Sharing the Fish conference in Perth from 26th February to 2nd March 2006 as the recreational representative.


Statement of Intent

Jodi Mantle, Senior Fisheries Management Advisor

The Forum was advised that feedback to the Statement of Intent (SOI) document was required by the 28th of February. Objections were raised by members about the lack of notice on consultation on the SOI, as there was only two weeks to this deadline. The Ministry has had this group’s details for many months and the SOI was not flagged at the previous Forum meeting in October 2005. Jodi assured the Forum she had done her best to gain an extension, had not been successful, but was hoping there will be more time given to comment on next year’s SOI. 

Robin Connor advised that consultation on the SOI was at a national level with stakeholder groups. Robin did stress it was an ongoing process and there will be another process next year. Trish Rea indicated option4 had received a copy of the SOI, however this was incorrect, option4 had not received the SOI but a copy of the 2004/05 MFish Annual Report.

The SOI had been available through many forums, not just recreational forums, and “it’s on the website. It’s not going to be posted out to every stakeholder….. This Forum is not about SOI level work, it’s very general discussion,” advised Robin Connor.


Marine Protected Areas Strategy

Robin Connor, Senior Policy Analyst, Wellington

Jodi Mantle, Senior Fisheries Management Advisor

The MPA policy and implementation plan has been released for about a week. This is a joint initiative by the Department of Conservation and MFish after the Ministry’s policy section had spent considerable time with DoC to get a different approach. The MPA strategy offers a range of options to deal with biodiversity and consultation is not expected till June 2006. Classification of areas is underway now.

Regional marine protection forums will be set up around the country. At present there are three in operation, including the Hauraki Gulf group. MFish do not have the resources to fund more regional groups at this stage. Groups have been formed for the sub-Antarctic Islands and west coast of the South Island. No one at this meeting was aware of who the recreational fishing representative on the Hauraki Gulf Forum is. Jodi advised this process was an outcome of reactions to the overall marine reserve process, for example the concerns about the Aotea (Great Barrier Island) reserve.


Regulation Review 2006

Jodi Mantle, Senior Fisheries Management Advisor

The Ministry are working with the New Zealand Recreational Fishing Council (NZRFC) to review another four regulations. The four that have been nominated are:

  • Define take (in relation to tag and release or undersized fish)
  • Disabled permits regulation and review
  • Regional – difference in size limits, and bag limits
  • Legal size paua west coast North Island

The Forum can have input on the choice of regulations to be reviewed by contacting the NZRFC directly or the Forum co-ordinator, by mid-March. A workshop for MFish and NZRFC to discuss priority issues for review will be held in April. By May an options report should be available for discussion. If necessary, an Initial Position Paper (IPP) and consultation process will follow.



There were differing reports of the abundance of kahawai. It seems that there are no problems with kahawai number out of Raglan and further south. Manukau and landbased fishers within the harbour and off the coast report very few kahawai recently. One member reported bigger schools and sized kahawai in the Hauraki Gulf. Ministry advised the meeting that kahawai are taken as bycatch in Area 8.


Area 8 Recreational Fishing Survey

Todd Sylvester, MFish Fisheries Analyst

NIWA are doing a feasibility study on recreational harvest in Area 8, off the west coast. Aerial flights are being conducted currently. The researchers are very aware they need to devise a mechanism that includes the catch of landbased fishers considering the popularity of kitefishing, surfcasting and underwater devices.


Matt Cowan reports good compliance on west coast beaches by kitefishers/longliners. He did mention the high amount of wastage of mainly school sharks and rig; many are left lying on the beach rather than being returned to the water.


QMS Introductions

Todd Sylvester, MFish Fisheries Analyst

Todd advised knobbed whelk and king clam are being introduced to the Quota Management System this year. Proposals to introduce albacore, prawn killer and conger eel into the QMS in October 2007 are also available for discussion. Consultation process closes on 24th February.

How nominal tonnages are allocated during introduction processes was discussed. Robin Connor and Todd suggested this was more an allocation issue that should be addressed during the Shared Fisheries Policy process.


New MFish Website

Jodi Mantle, Senior Fisheries Management Advisor

The Ministry have established a new section on the MFish website explaining the status of each of New Zealand’s fisheries. It is still work in progress but the Forum was encouraged to have a look at it https://services.fish.govt.nz/indicators/



Matt Cowan, District Compliance Manager, Non-commercial

There are 100 fulltime professional Fisheries Officers in New Zealand and nine of them are in the non-commercial team based in Auckland. This team covers the area from Mokau to the top of the Kaipara out west and the Hauraki Gulf on the east coast.

Matt explained the vessel monitoring system, ALC, that is fitted to vessels over 28 metres and all foreign vessels fishing off the coast. Signals are received, in Wellington, from these vessels every two hours.

The Navy has four patrol boats and one larger vessel on order and about to be received for project Operation Protector. These will partly be used for fisheries operations and MFish are expecting to have more compliance monitoring on the west coast as a result of access to these vessels. Customs, DoC, Navy and Ministry will all have access to these vessels. By October 2007 MFish are expected to deliver 280 days of fisheries monitoring activity on these new Navy vessels. 

An outcome of the review of Regulation 27 is a tightening up on the issuing of customary permits, penalties have been introduced for offences and more effort has gone into educating kaitiaki. MFish have noticed a trend in Auckland, the amount of fish being permitted for collection has been reducing since they have improved their education of kaitiaki.

Ministry compliance staff are using a Non-commercial Activity Log to record catch information when they interview fishers (Appendix Two). Focus is on gathering quality information and education of fewer fishers rather than making multiple contacts and having no information from that contact.


Shared Fisheries Policy Development

Robin Connor, Senior Policy Analyst, Wellington

Work on the Shared Fisheries Policy project began in September last year.  In December a preliminary briefing paper (available on the Ministry’s website) was provided to the Minister outlining two scoping options. The Minister chose the wider ranging option for initial discussions with stakeholders, to improve policies for managing shared fisheries.

The Ministry has tried to characterise the problems, as they see them, in the advice paper given to the Minister. They do not want to pre-empt the solutions and are looking to get feedback on what they should include in the public consultation document due out by the end of June 2006.

Robin gave a brief overview of the theory of MSY. Commercials objectives revolve around fishing for money not fish, and that these commercial objectives are not necessarily the same for the non-commercial sector. 

Discussion continued around the key issues and challenges covered in the paper presented to the Forum, ‘Notes for Recreational Fishing Forum Meetings January-February 2006’ (Appendix Three). Forum participants were encouraged to have a discussion amongst ourselves and have collective input or by emailing or calling Robin with our feedback.

Forum members raised several issues including that of the biomass of fish within marine reserves and that the lack of access to those fish are not taken into account during the allocation process; spatial separation; local management; licensing of fishers within particular areas and faults within the current fisheries management regime. Participation rates in recreational fishing were also raised as a key missing ingredient in any information strategy.

The lack of incentives for commercial fishers to reduce fishing related mortality was also highlighted. It was suggested that as fishing related mortality is a product of commercial fishing alone it should therefore be included as part of the TACC, not the TAC. (An allowance is made to cover this mortality during allocation of the TAC and is usually based on the TACC. The allowance varies depending on the fishery.)

Another issue raised was the term in point 4 of the paper, “Effective management measures to ensure there are appropriate incentives for commercial and recreational take to be maintained within their share”.

Robin was hoping that achieving a more certain allocation process would reduce conflict between sectors and encourage a more cooperative management environment.

Members wanted to know what the overall budget was for this process. Robin explained that Lindie Nelson (from the Ministry’s Nelson office) is responsible for budget management of this project and maybe able to answer this question. Robin did not know what the overall budget was as he hadn’t seen it for a while. Robin recommended a phone call to Lindie to obtain an answer.

Several meetings had been held with fishing forums already. Wellington and Napier had been addressed; North east Forum meeting was scheduled for the following day, the Ministerial group in three days time and Auckland east the next week.

Work was already underway on ideas for drafting the consultation document. By May this year ideas would be firming up so input was invited as early in the process as possible. Robin envisages they will revisit the project in around six weeks to assess whether it was worth continuing or not.

Robin was challenged about the lack of background information in the Shared Fisheries Policy Development paper and the expectation that people were being asked to provide meaningful feedback without important historic information and understanding. He advised the paper was written specifically for the Minister who would also have the benefit of briefings from the Chief Executive and deputy CE. The paper was never targeted at a general audience and more information would be in the discussion paper distributed midyear.

The Forum would meet again in April to discuss this project. It was agreed the Forum would meet earlier in the day without MFish being present then Ministry would attend to have the third Forum meeting. Jodi committed to sending out more information on the other forums and suggested dates for the April meeting.



Participants to this Forum are very committed to achieving good outcomes for recreational fishers. Despite our diverse backgrounds we work together well and also interact with Ministry in a positive and constructive manner.

However, with no MFish resourcing to assist members to engage with the public who do not belong to clubs it is difficult to envisage much increase in public awareness of the major issues facing recreational fishers. This jeopardises the representative status of members to speak on behalf of recreational fishers within the northewestern area, as per the Terms of Reference agreed to initially by memebers of the Forum (Appendix Four).

However, the summary from the first Forum meeting noted, "members agreed that they would not be the "mouthpiece" for the Ministry back to the recreational sector. It was the Ministry's job to impove its consultation directly with the recreational sector. At Forum meetings, members agreed that they would do their best to provide a viewpoint that they considered would be typical of the recreational sector, as opposed to providing only their personnal [sic] viewpoint'.

To expect the Forum to give feedback on the Shared Fisheries Policy Development process without providing us with background information, historical facts on how shared fisheries evolved and previous management decisions that have led to the current situation undermines the effectiveness of this Forum.

Meeting finished at 9:00pm

RFMAC Terms of Reference, Ministry of Fisheries 2005


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