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Fisheries Management

Fisheries Management in NZ





So often we are asked how we came to be where we are i.e. Quota Management System introductions, allocations and management decisions etc. We quickly realised that the relevant information was not readily available and if it was, more often than not it was buried in very large documents.

In this section of the website we have endeavoured to extract from what are often huge documents, the relevant information for the fisheries and species that are important to the public.

Species and Management Issues

QMS proposals for particular species, related correspondence and submissions from option4, the NZ Sport Fishing Council (ex NZ Big Game Fishing Council) and others are available on the species management page here...


Important reference and policy documents

A comprehensive list of important reference documents, reports, policy documents, and links to related material is available in the Information section of the site.



If we are to go forward with confidence, it is critical we know where we have come from and how. So much of the complexity and uncertainty surrounding our right to fish for food is a result of this sort of information not being made readily available in a durable format. We hope that this section, over time, will help contribute to clear, consistent and fair fisheries management decisions by having good information readily available and the experience of previous processes.

PDFs are created using Adobe software. To download a FREE copy of the most recent Adobe Acrobat reader please go to the Adobe website here.....
get adobe reader

Please note: Documents or links are presented in alphabetical order.


28N Rights
MFish brief explanation of the Fisheries Act 28N rights. Holders of 28N rights are the first commercial stakeholders to receive extra quota if the TACC is increased. Information provided by the Ministry of Fisheries in May 2006.

May 2006


28N rights

Adaptive Management Programmes (AMPs)

The clear intent of Adaptive Management Programmes (AMPs) is to fish down the stock fast enough to allow the decline in commercial trawl catch effort to be measured within a certain time period. We fail to see how AMPs address management issues and "allow for" non-commercial fishing interests in our precious inshore shared fisheries.

2002 - 05

Adaptive management programmes

Allocation Issues

Paper by MFish in response to submissions to the 2005 sustainability round, including the option4 submission discussing the proportional allocation model being adopted by the Ministry.

Sep 2005

(PDF 130Kb)

Alternative Management Discussion Document

A non-commercial summary of the injustices that lie at the heart of effective fisheries management. Until these injustices are acknowledged and resolved it is hard to see any progress. Solutions are included in this discussion document provided to the Minister and MFish in December 2004.

Dec 2004

Amendment Bill 2007 - Fisheries Act

Early in 2007 the Minister of Fisheries 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. Follow the process here.....

Apr 2007


Fisheries Act amendment bill 2007

Amendment - Section 13 of Fisheries Act
The Hokianga Accord, option4 and the NZ Big Game Fishing Council worked together to respond to the MFish proposal to amend section 13 of the Fisheries Act 1996. Two comprehensive submissions were provided to the Primary Production Select Committee offering an alternative approach.

Aug 2008

Section 13 amendment

Aquaculture and Fish Farming

The pressure is on to increase the value of our exports from aquaculture and fin fish farming. This has major implications for the health of our coastal waters. For more information on aquaculture and fin fish farming go here

2003 - 10

Briefing to Incoming Ministers
When a new Minister of Fisheries is appointed the Ministry of Fisheries (MFish) provide a briefing paper that gives an overview of the fisheries sector and highlights key issues likely to arise over the following three years. This page follows the progress of these documents............

Mar 2009

Customary Maori Fishing
Maori have very strong customary management rights and mechanisms recognised in the Deed of Settlement 1992 and legislated in the Fisheries Act. More information coming soon.
Deemed Values
Deemed values are a fine imposed on commercial fishers who catch fish without ACE. There have been several reviews and ongoing debate about these fines and their effectiveness. Read the latest information here......

Jul 2010

Deemed value reviews

Fiordland fisheries management
A brief record of the process to amend fisheries management in the Fiordland region. Ultimately this process succeeded in denying the public access to sufficient seafood to enable people to provide for their social and cultural wellbeing.

2003 - 04

Fiordland fisheries reforms

Fisheries Act 1996
Official online source of legislation, Bills and regulations
Fisheries act
Fisheries and other legislation
On-site list of relevant sections of the Fisheries Act 1996, including customary regulations, OIA and marine protection information.
Fisheries act and other legislation
Fisheries (Amateur Fishing) Regulations 1986
Official online source of regulations, including latest amendments and localised regulations......
Fisheries regulations
Fisheries 2030 Vision and Strategy

In July the Fisheries Minister is due to recommend changes to management that will "unlock value' from fisheries. Read about this process and why you are not being offered the chance to have a say before serious changes are made..........

2008 - 10

Fisheries 2030 policy

Fisheries Standards

option4 endorsed the NZ Big Game Fishing Council's submissions relating to the MFish-proposed Harvest Strategy and Introduction to the QMS Standards.

2006 - 07

Foreign Charter Vessels

A series of correspondence between the Minister of Fisheries and the Northland and North Island West Coast fisheries forums about having full observer coverage on all foreign charter vessels fishing in New Zealand waters.

Dec 2009

Graham Kelly Speech to Senate

A bizarre presentation to the Canadian Senate Committee on Fisheries and Oceans, by a representative of the New Zealand government. So much nonsense on fisheries management.

April 2005

Implications of Reallocation: Examples from New Zealand
A fishing industry perspective of allocation decisions and the effect of specific management measures on commercial, customary and amateur fishers. This is a paper presented to the Sharing the Fish Conference, Perth, February 2006.

Feb 2006

(PDF 110Kb)

Moyle's Promise

In 1989 the National Policy for Marine Recreational Fishing was finalised and the Minister of Fisheries, Colin Moyle, issued the following statement that is referred to today as Moyle's Promise,


"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"

option4 believe the 1996 rewrite of the Fisheries Act confirmed this priority access. Section 21 clearly states the Minister shall "allow for" non-commercial fishing interests, both recreational and customary, before setting commercial quotas.

Policy and Management Issues

Paper by Ministry written in response to the 2005 submissions to the sustainability round including the review of GMU1, FLA1, kahawai, KIN8 and SNA8. Worth a read.

Sept 2005

(PDF 240Kb)

Process Issues

Written by the Ministry of Fisheries this Process Issues paper is a response to issues raised in submissions by both commercial and non-commercial fishers to the 2005 sustainability round.

Sept 2005

(PDF 80Kb)


Proportional Allocation of NZ Resources

The Ministry of Fisheries is promoting proportional allocations as an equitable way of sharing the pain of rebuilding a fish stock between sectors and sharing the gains, once stocks are rebuilt. This proportional policy MFish currently has seems to be a convenient way to ignore the history of fisheries mismanagement and to avoid compensation issues for the Crown. Read this comprehensive analysis of the current policy preference of MFish compiled by option4. You will have no doubts after reading this document what proportionalism is all about.

Aug 2005



Quota Management System (QMS)

An explanation of the QMS, IPPs, correspondence from the Minister and Ministry of Fisheries relating to the QMS and submissions to their proposals.

Shared Fisheries Policy

The Ministry of Fisheries process to address long-standing allocation and management issues in shared fisheries, where both commercial and non-commercial fishers have an interest. Details here.....

2006 - 07

Shared fisheries policy

Snapper report
This document reviews the various snapper stocks and describes the overfished nature of most of these stocks. The report notes that the fisheries are reasonably stable, but at relatively low catch levels. MFish FARD 88/26.

Dec 1998

(PDF 1.4MB)

Snapper - the Hauraki Gulf fishery
Variations in growth, mortality adn population density of snapper in the Hauraki Gulf. Snapper are heavily exploited, this report only deals with trawling, the vulnerability of stocks to fishing, and population variations. FRB No. 14.


(PDF 2.1MB)

Special permits
MFish consultation process discussing the addition of a new purpose to enable special permits to be issued under section 97(1)(c) of the Fisheries Act 1996.


Special permits

Statement of Intent

Every year the Ministry of Fisheries issue a Statement of Intent (SOI) setting out their strategic direction. option4 challenged the 2006-11 document. option4 submitted that MFish do not have any intention to meaningfully engage with the public and representative organisations. Full details of the 2006 process here...

7 Jun 06

Statement of intent

United Future supports option4
Larry Baldock and United Future's effort relating to kahawai, the quota mangement system and marine protection.

7 Sep 05


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