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Fisheries Bill

Fisheries Act Amendment Bill

2006 - 2007


The Minister of Fisheries has proposed amendments to sections 10 (c) and (d) of the Fisheries Act 1996 (the Act) to enable a more precautionary approach to be taken by fisheries managers. Where information about a fishery is uncertain or limited, this approach would ensure sustainability and address the impacts of fishing on the aquatic environment. This precautionary approach is an internationally accepted standard.

The Minister has acknowledged that the original intent of the Act was to implement a precautionary approach when making decisions. He asserts that the current information principles are not consistent with the international application of this approach. Jim Anderton considers that the issue is more about the way the principles are being applied to fisheries management decisions and wants to remove the ambiguity in favour of conserving fisheries where risks are identified but information is uncertain or limited.

Kahawai Legal Challenge

This amendment was proposed before the release of the High Court judgment in relation to the Kahawai Legal Challenge (KLC). Justice Rhys Harrison's ruling has now overtaken some statements made in the Minister's proposal documents. Of particular relevance is the judge's reference to the hierarchy of sustainability and utilisation, where he clearly states,

.on plain reading of s 8 the bottom line is sustainability. That must be the Minister's ultimate objective.

option4's Recommendations:

  • Support the Amendment Bill to focus fisheries management on a more precautionary approach to ensure sustainability, as it is more likely to achieve our goal of more fish in the water/kia maha atu nga ika i roto te wai.
  • Do not support changes to other sections of the Act unless they are fully consulted on.

A report from the Primary Production Select Committee will be available on the government website by 12th June 2007.


The Government has deferred any further action on this Amendment Bill until August at the earliest.

Fisheries Bill

option4's submission to the Fisheries Act Amendment Bill. Both the Hokianga Accord and the New Zealand Big Game Fishing Council were involved in the development of this submission on behalf of non-commercial fishing interests.

29 Apr 07

(Pdf 20Kb)

The Environment and Conservation Organisations of NZ (ECO) submission on the Fisheries Act 1996 Amendment Bill, supporting changes to Part II of the Fisheries Act.

12 Apr 07

(Pdf 310Kb)

ECO's supplementary submission on the Amendment Bill including suggested text changes. This was presented to the Primary Production Select Committee during an oral presentation by Cath Wallace.

12 Apr 07

(Pdf 50Kb)

Other Comment

Article from The Independent

Fisheries Minister Jim Anderton has conceded Labour's Maori caucus MP's have won their scrap with him over changing legislation......

20 Jun 07

Minister's letter to Hokianga Accord

Minister of Fisheries letter to the Hokianga Accord thanking them for their support for the precautionary approach being promoted through changes in the fisheries legislation.

6 Jun 07

(Pdf 190Kb)

Kahawai team backs embattled Anderton

Those involved in the Kahawai Legal Challenge appeal supported Anderton’s Fisheries Amendment Bill, which attempts to prioritise sustainable fishing.

30 May 07

Media Release

Kahawai Legal Challenge supports the Minister of Fisheries and questions the fishing industry's commitment to sustainability.

24 May 07

(Pdf 20Kb)

Media Release

Mid north iwi fisheries forum opposes Maori Fisheries Trust on Fisheries Amendment Bill.

21 May 07

Media Comment

The Independent reports on the fishing industry submissions to the Primary Production Select Committee calling for the Amendment to be thrown out.

9 May 07

option4 Update #83 - A positive sign of things to come?

option4 support the Minister of Fisheries in his 'fish come first' approach to manage our fisheries.

May 2007

(Pdf 20Kb)

Amendment Bill

Approval Request

Jim Anderton's proposal presented to the Cabinet Legislation Committee to seek their approval for the submission of the Fisheries Amendment Bill to Cabinet and introduction of the Bill to the House (parliament).

Dec 2006

(Pdf 250Kb)

Cabinet Paper

The paper presented to Cabinet proposing an amendment to the Fisheries Act 1996. Changes to section 10 were suggested to allow the Minister to take a more precautionary approach during the decision-making process.

11 Dec 06

(Pdf 100Kb)

Explanatory Note

The Amendment Bill and Explanatory Note presented to the House for consideration. The first reading of this Bill was held on 15th March 2007.

15 Mar 07

(Pdf 500Kb)

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