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Submission Paterson Inlet 2003

option4 Submission on Concurrence Decision

Paterson Inlet Marine Reserve

11 November 2003


Rose Grindley

Ministry of Fisheries

Private Bag 1926


Fax: 03 4776275
Email: grindler@fish.govt.nz
Cc: Minister of Fisheries
  option4 SSFC


From: option4.co.nz

Tuesday November 11, 2003

Submission on Concurrence Decision for the Paterson Inlet Marine Reserve Application



The Minister of Conservation has approved the establishment of a marine reserve in Paterson Inlet. Before the marine reserve can be established the Ministers of Fisheries and Transport must first concur with the Minister of Conservation's decision. The Minister of Fisheries is required to make his own independent decision.

The Minister of Fisheries must independently consider the following –

Whether or not the marine reserve will:

  1. Interfere unduly with any estate or interest in land in or adjoining the proposed reserve
  2. Interfere unduly with any existing right of navigation
  3. Interfere unduly with commercial fishing
  4. Interfere unduly with or adversely affect any existing usage of the area for recreational purposes
  5. Otherwise be contrary to the public interest



option4.co.nz represents over 100,000 members of the public who value their right to fish for food and sustenance. Any issue that has the potential to infringe on the freedom of New Zealanders to provide for themselves, family and friends deserves a considered response. This submission from option4 provides reasons why a marine reserve should not be established in the Paterson Inlet.



  1. Marine Reserves Act

Section 3(1) of the Marine Reserves Act 1971declares that marine reserves have the:

" purpose of preserving, as marine reserves for the scientific study of marine life, areas of New Zealand that contain underwater scenery, natural features, or marine life, of such distinctive quality, or so typical, or beautiful, or unique, that their continued preservation is in the national interest".

The proposed marine reserve does not meet the purposes of the Marine Reserves Act 1971. The following questions remain unanswered in regards to this application:

  1. What scientific study cannot be carried out currently, without a marine reserve being established?
  2. What evidence exists to prove the area contains " underwater scenery, natural features, or marine life, of such distinctive quality, or so typical, or beautiful, or unique, that their continued preservation is in the national interest" ?

2. Other questions in relation to the marine reserve application:

  1. What evidence exists to prove the activity of fishing within the proposed area interferes with maintaining the natural habitat?
  2. What risk and benefit analysis has been conducted in relation to this reserve?
  3. What are the benefits of preventing fishing within the area proposed?



1. Will the marine reserve interfere unduly with any estate or interest in land in or adjoining the proposed reserve?

Yes. Of the 30,000 visitors to Stewart Island (DoC, 1994 application), many are hunters using the Department of Conservation (DoC) controlled hunting blocks.   The coastline of one block in particular is completely within the proposed marine reserve area of interest. Hunters cannot stay within the boundaries of the block and sustain themselves by supplementing their diet with fresh fish. Hunters will more than likely choose to hunt in another block creating more demand for other areas and an imbalance in the effects of their hunting activities on the environment.

In a worse case scenario, hunters would arrive at their block not knowing that they could no longer fish in this area. They would be forced to move onto adjacent blocks to fish if weather/conditions prevented them from using the sea to access other areas, this would create problems with other hunters/users. This could also have the impact of hunters choosing to continue their activity in another part of the country and the local community will lose income derived from this activity.

2. Interfere unduly with any existing right of navigation

Although DoC has given an assurance that having fish or fishing equipment on board does not, and will not, constitute evidence of an offence, what proof is there to maintain that access? This assurance needs to be written into DoC policy and not subject to alteration at the whim of DoC management.

The proposed reserve extends the full distance from the mainland of Stewart Island across Paterson Inlet to Ulva Island. If the assurance is changed then those wanting to travel by boat from west of Trumpeter Point to the islands out of Big Glory Bay will have to travel the considerable distance past Ringaringa Point and Native Island, through the Ringaringa Channel to their destination. There are obvious safety concerns for smaller craft having to navigate these longer distances.  

3. Interfere unduly with commercial fishing

There is no commercial fishing within the Paterson Inlet marine reserve area of interest.

4. Interfere unduly with or adversely affect any existing usage of the area for recreational purposes

  1. The combined area of Paterson Inlet that will not be available to those fishing for food will amount to approximately 22%, if the proposed marine reserve goes ahead. Local fishers target paua, scallops, oysters, cockles, blue cod, moki, trumpeter, greenbone and tarakihi within the area. Local users will have to travel further in order to provide their families with the fresh food available now within the proposed marine reserve.
  2. Serious safety concerns for hunters within the block with no access to fishing. Concerns they will travel into adjacent blocks to fish without the knowledge of the existing users of the block. Hunters often use the area for between 7 –10 days. Hunters fish for sustenance during their stay owing to the nature of their activity and limited ability to carry too much. Freshly caught fish or shellfish supplements their diet particularly during summer when food perishes quickly.
  3. In the prevailing northerly and northwesterly winds the proposed area is the only safe place to fish, in the vicinity. Any movement into other areas has the obvious effect of increasing the fishing pressure in that zone.
  4. The Marine Reserves Act 1971 (amended 1996) states:

18. General powers of rangers---

(1) Every ranger may, in the exercise of his or her duty and upon production of his or her warrant of appointment (if so required), ---

(c) Pursue and apprehend, without warrant, any person whom he or she reasonably believes to have committed or to be committing an offence against this Act or any regulations made under this Act:

(2) The powers of a ranger under this Act shall be exercisable within any marine reserve; and if a ranger is in fresh pursuit of an offender the ranger may, without warrant, apprehend the offender outside a marine reserve and may exercise any power conferred on a ranger by this Act.

18A. Powers of seizure---

(1) A ranger may seize---

(a) Any vessel or vehicle or other conveyance which he or she believes on reasonable grounds is being or has been used or is intended to be used in the commission of an offence against subsection (1) or subsection (3) (d) of section 18I of this Act that involves the taking of marine life:

(b) Any fishing gear, implement, appliance, material, container, goods, equipment, or thing which he or she believes on reasonable grounds is being or has been used or is intended to be used in the commission of an offence against this Act or any regulations made under this Act:

18I Offences –

4) Every person commits an offence against this Act and is liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 3 months or to a fine not exceeding $5,000, or to both, who, without lawful authority or reasonable excuse, ---

(a) Discharges any firearm in or into a marine reserve; or.

(c) Wilfully interferes with or wilfully disturbs in a marine reserve any marine life, foreshore or seabed, or any of the natural features.



A ranger only needs reasonable belief to apprehend a person in or about a marine reserve. Reasonable believe is all that is required to seize their equipment in a marine reserve. These provisions under the Marine Reserves Act give rangers an inordinate amount of power to inhibit the activities of the public going about their lawful activity in the Paterson Inlet area.

It is likely the majority of people within the vicinity of the proposed marine reserve will be hunters and fishers. An overly officious ranger or one with an ulterior motive could use these provisions to the detriment of people enjoying the area. This could conceivably lead to less people visiting and enjoying the area.

5. Otherwise be contrary to the public interest

  1. The area is frequently used by school parties, NZ and overseas tourists for hunting and fishing expeditions, providing a unique experience.
  2. It is likely Stewart Island's infrastructure will struggle to cope with an increase in visitor numbers as anticipated by creating a marine reserve in the area.
  3. Concerns about the adverse effects if more visitors are attracted to the area.
  4. If more visitors were lured to the area, would the marine reserve be large enough to accommodate them? Would the boundaries be extended to compensate for this increase? Concerns about the adequacy of further consultation if the boundaries are changed.




The proposed marine reserve area adjoins Big Glory Bay. This is given over entirely for commercial marine farming of salmon and mussels. The water quality is severely degraded around the farms and is subject to tidal flow in and out of Big Glory Bay. This movement of degraded water has an affect on the surrounding water quality. With the seabed below these farms covered in waste it would be questionable if a marine reserve adjacent to this area would be a success.

What are the threats to this part of the sea that are mitigated by a marine reserve? Have these been investigated? Locals report there have been no scallops within Big Glory Bay since the marine farms have been established. There has also been an increase in seal numbers.

Successful local management

The major impact a marine reserve has is to deny access to fishing opportunities. With a successful Fisheries Management Plan operating in this area questions arise as to why it is necessary to have a marine reserve at all. If there are other management needs for the area wider than just fisheries management then is a marine reserve going to provide for those management needs? How have those needs been identified and what are the options to address those needs?

There is no commercial fishing within Paterson Inlet. Locals have agreed to no dredging, set netting or potting for non – commercial fishers in the Fisheries Management Area. Scallop harvesting has been closed for the past two years due to disease. This closure has just been extended for another four years. The closure was instigated and accepted by local non – commercial fishers. This proves the fishers in the area are managing the area in a cooperative manner. They have proved they are flexible but also capable of making the hard decisions when required. Local short-term management is preferable to marine reserves which are forever, no review period under the current Marine Reserves Act.

Has the possibility of a temporary reserve using the Fisheries Act 1996 been investigated? There would be no foreseeable reason why a closed area of this nature would not achieve the same outcomes as a marine reserve using the Marine Reserves Act.

The Marine Reserves Act specifically precludes local management, giving it entirely to a centralised bureaucracy of people who do not know the area and who do not know the sea. This is not a desirable option.

option4 supports the investigation of using Maori customary management tools to provide for customary needs. Consideration is being given to a mataitai for Paterson Inlet excluding the area proposed for a marine reserve.   There is a clear need for public education and information on the alternatives to marine reserves. The general shift of public opinion to positive marine protection measures would complement a well-conducted and informative campaign to educate the public on mataitai and taiapure.  



The consultation for this marine reserve application was conducted from 1993 to 1995. The Minister of Conservation received the application in September 1996. Further limited consultation was conducted in 1997 and as a result boundary changes were made. The Minister of Conservation approved the application in 2002.

Essentially there has been no public consultation with the wider public since 1995. Certainly no consultation has been conducted with the wider public regarding the current area of interest. Attempts to use the results of an eight year old consultation round do not allow the public adequate input into this process. A marine reserve in this area will affect existing users from outside the area as well as the locals.

The Ministry of Fisheries advertised this application and consultation process and two public meetings were conducted in September 2003. Advertisements were placed in the following publications with the number of advertisements in brackets: Southland Times (3), Gore Ensign (1), Clutha Leader (1), Otago Daily Times (2), Timaru Herald (2) and Christchurch Press (2). Three of these advertisements were after the public meeting dates of September 24 th and 25 th giving little opportunity for the public to have their questions answered and views heard during a meeting.

While the Ministry of Fisheries does not consider this consultation process to be a voting process with the highest number "winning", the actual marine reserve application is based on a voting process where numbers, for or against the reserve, describes support. In essence, this does prove to be a voting process by the application being weighted according to numbers.

The public need adequate opportunity to make a meaningful contribution to this process. The limitations placed on this consultation round deny the (largely unaware) public the ability to respond to the application.

The ruling of the Court of Appeal decision CA23/92 describes consultation as follows:

  'Consultation must allow sufficient time, and a genuine effort must be made. It is a reality not a charade. To consult is not merely to tell or present. Nor, at the other extreme is it to agree. Consultation does not necessarily involve negotiation towards an agreement, although the latter not uncommonly can follow, as the tendency in consultation is to seek at least consensus. Consultation is an intermediate situation involving meaningful discussion..


  'Consulting involves the statement of a proposal not yet fully decided upon, listening to what others have to say, considering their responses and then deciding what will be done.'


  Implicit in the concept is a requirement that the party consulted will be (or will be made) adequately informed so as to be able to make intelligent and useful responses. It is also implicit that the party obliged to consult, while quite entitled to have working plan in mind, must keep its mind open and be ready to change and even start afresh. Beyond that, there are no universal requirements as to form. Any matter of oral or written interchange which allows adequate expression and consideration of views will suffice. Nor is there any universal requirement as to duration. In some situations adequate consultation could take place in one telephone call. In other contexts it might require years of formal meetings. Generalities are not helpful.'


While the Minister and Ministry of Fisheries are to be commended for conducting a consultation round on concurrence, the consultation needs to be more thorough and widespread.



The Marine Reserves Act 1971 (MRA) and the Marine Reserves Bill currently being considered are a dead end, for the following reasons:

  • It is very specialised legislation, of which no other nation has anything similar. As the world is moving towards a unified system of reserves, based on the IUCN recommendations, the MRA will always be the odd one out.
  • Internationally the movement is towards Marine Protected Areas (MPA's) where human activity is managed, and within these, pockets of marine reserves forming networks, managed locally.
  • In simple words: it is out of date, obsolete, inflexible, a mistake.
  • It has always been entirely superfluous since the Fisheries Act provides for a graduated scale of conservation measures, including permanently closed areas.
  • Marine reserves will thus not slot in easily with other means of marine conservation like fisheries restrictions, taiapure and mataitai.
  • The MRA specifically precludes local management, as is borne out by all marine reserves created so far. This flies in the face of international research that relates the success of marine reserves to local management by local (fishing) communities.
  • The wrong people manage marine reserves. People who have little knowledge and experience of the sea. Because they have no presence there, they cannot provide effective policing.
  • The MRA does not address matters of ecology: sustainability, resilience and adaptability.



It is clear there will be an undue adverse effect on the existing and safe use of Paterson Inlet for non – commercial fishers, whether they are locals, hunters or visitors to the area.

option4.co.nz is determined to see effective marine protection measures used to maintain the integrity of the environment. If a marine reserve is necessary to protect the Paterson Inlet then we await the evidence that justifies such a measure.

We are also committed to adequate consultation, good process and outcomes. The Minister of Fisheries has denied us an extension of 60 days to this submission process. Considering the process has been going for 12 years it would seem to be reasonable to accommodate an extension of 60 days to discuss a marine reserve which, if successful, will be in place forever. Until the whole marine reserve process is reviewed and agencies are not able to hide behind time restrictions as their reasons for ignoring the public, it is questionable how successful marine reserves will be in any area.


Trish Rea

option4 spokesperson

PO Box 37951





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