to Review Regulation 27
from option4 on behalf of recreational fishers
The Ministry of Fisheries
(MFish) has advised that the The Minister is seeking to review regulation
27 of the Fisheries (Amateur Fishing) Regulations 1986 (‘r27’).
MFish say, “the review is designed to focus on those aspects
of r27 that are posing ongoing management difficulties and which
require action despite the interim nature of this regulation.”
MFish continue, “the
intent of the review is not to detract from implementing the Fisheries
(Kaimoana Customary Fishing) Regulations 1998 and the Fisheries
(South Island Customary Fishing) Regulations 1999 (‘customary
regulations’) and the Ministry’s actions to assist with
facilitating this process.”
“The review is premised
on some specific areas of ongoing problems the Ministry has identified
with the issuing and use of r27 authorisations”. These
problem areas, some specific issues relevant to each and proposed
solutions were outlined in the attachment to the MFish advice.
A letter dated 15 December
2004 was sent to stakeholders asking for feedback on the proposed
amendments to regulation 27. A summary of the key proposals was
provided in separate document.
The deadline for submissions
is 9 February 2005. All submissions are to be posted to Eidre Sharp
at the Ministry of Fisheries, PO Box 1020, Wellington or by email
by the close of business on Wednesday 9 February 2005.
MFish documents state, “The
Ministry has identified issues relating to regulation 27 (‘r27’).
These can be grouped into four areas:
- Ensuring r27 authorisations support sustainability and management
- Ensuring correct accountability for r27 authorisations.
- Improving information given to the courts to help ensure deterrent
penalties are given.
- Improving knowledge of how r27 authorisations and commercial
fishing work together.”
option4 have comments to
make on the first two points and some general observations.
r27 authorisations support sustainability and management decisions
option4 disagree with the
statement from the Ministry of Fisheries that, “Sustainability
and management decisions can be undermined when authorising agents
do not use the power to condition authorisations.”
Sustainability and management
decisions for fisheries are made well before customary permits are
issued. The Minister, when considering the stock as a whole, decides
allowances for Maori customary catch. It is unreasonable to accept
that sustainability of a stock will be threatened considering the
low level of customary fishing for most species, currently undertaken.
The lack of liaison between
authorising agents could result in localised depletion for some
species. The Ministry of Fisheries should consult with tangata whenua
and explore ways to address this issue.
The Fisheries Act 1996
is quite clear in regards to Maori customary interests. Section
“(1) In setting
or varying any total allowable commercial catch for any quota management
stock, the Minister shall have regard to the total allowable catch
for that stock and shall allow for —
(a) The following non-commercial
fishing interests in that stock, namely-
(i) Maori customary non-commercial
fishing interests; and
(ii) Recreational interests;
(b) All other mortality
to that stock caused by fishing.
If the Minister has failed
to “allow for” Maori customary interests then it is
his responsibility to right this, more so if sustainability is under
The Ministry of Fisheries
goes on to say, “Information on the amount of fish that
is taken could be provided to the Ministry to help with determining
the status of stocks.” It is our understanding that information
from customary permits has been collected by the Ministry for some
time. In previous discussions with Ministry and NIWA personnel we
have been advised that this information has not been entered into
the national database. If this information is not being used to
assist with fisheries management then it is questionable why Maori
are being asked to collect the information in the first instance.
Recent fisheries management decisions have included allowances for
Maori customary interests based on the recreational allowance, reinforcing
the concept that the level of customary take is uncertain.
It is also our understanding
that a copy of all permits issued are to be retained and a summary
provided to MFish every quarter. MFish provide no resources to assist
tangata whenua to collate and database this information. It would
advantageous for MFish to support tangata whenua in this role.
We also understand that
MFish do not provide feedback to tangata whenua on the information
relating to all permits issued. This inhibits tangata whenua to
make decisions within their rohe, limiting the role of the kaitiaki.
Being appointed a kaitiaki
is a huge responsibility. The failure of the Ministry to provide
this support diminishes the status of the kaitiaki.
Reporting of Customary Harvest
It is naïve to expect
to achieve tonnage taken per annum type information. However, Catch
Per Unit of Effort (CPUE) information is invaluable and achievable
to collect. Customary fishers have a wealth of history and current
catch rate data to offer, if only they were asked for that information.
The Minister has a duty to allow for customary interests which goes
beyond setting a tonnage. He must ensure that sufficient stock is
maintained so that fish/shellfish are available to be caught.
correct accountability for r27 authorisations
to clarify acountability where illegal authorisations are issued
as distinct from the illegal use of an authorisation.
Ministry comment, “Some
examples of incorrectly issued authorisations include those where
the purpose of the harvesting does not have a cultural aspect, or
the authorisation does not meet the requirements set out
in the Gazette Notice, for example, it was issued after the fishing
will ensure it provides information to the authorising agents and
their nominating group on the legal and procedural requirements
for the issuing of r27 authorisations.”
It is interesting to note
this change, we would have assumed it would have been obligatory
for the Ministry to provide the legal and procedural information/support
to ensure r27 authorisations are issued correctly.
Definition of a Cultural
It is proposed the conditions in the Gazette Notice be amended
- restate the “cultural”
purpose component and include a guideline as to how this
should be interpreted.
It should be entirely up
to the marae/hapu to determine the “cultural purpose component”
both generally and specifically. There is nothing more meaningful
than the kai provided to manaaki manuhiri on the marae. To not have
sufficient and appropriate kai is unthinkable. It is accepted that
kaimoana need not be the mainstay of the meal.
There is little understanding
about the nature and extent of the obligation that tangata whenua
have to manaaki manuhiri. In fact, there is little understanding
of any of the “realms”/concepts of Maori and interconnectedness
thereof. Those responsible for the outcomes of this review need
to be able to demonstrate good understanding of the reality behind
Questions for the Ministry
- What is the delay in implementing the Fisheries (Kaimoana Customary
Fishing) Regulations 1998 and the Fisheries (South Island Customary
Fishing) Regulations 1999?
- When are the Fisheries (Kaimoana Customary Fishing) Regulations
1998 and the Fisheries (South Island Customary Fishing) Regulations
1999 going to be implemented?
- What are MFish plans to assist with the facilitation of this
option4 support the right
of Maori to collect kaimoana for customary purposes.
Maori have a strong claim
to kaimoana taken for sustenance or recreation. We believe most
of this fish/shellfish is taken under the Fisheries (Amateur Fishing)
The Minister of Fisheries
has a duty to allow for Maori interests in our fisheries, not only
in tonnes but also by ensuring that access to these resources is
not destroyed by bulk harvesting method