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option4 update NZ Fishing News December 2003 issue

It's time for you to get involved!!!

This, the 33 rd monthly option4 Update, focuses on YOU, the New Zealander, who makes the effort to read these Updates. You, who cherish the freedom and ability to fish for food with family and friends.

Over the next couple of months we will explain what your representatives and Ministry of Fisheries officials have been discussing regarding your fishing rights. It has been an incredibly complex debate including proposed amendments to the Fisheries Act so you can continue to enjoy the freedom to fish and bring home a reasonable daily bag to share with your family and friends. Does it get any more fundamental than that? We don't think so.

We need you NOW - PLEASE - spend a minute online and SUBSCRIBE yourself and then, most importantly, PASS IT ON - SUBSCIBE A FRIEND WHO CARES and make sure they too receive the Updates. If ever there was a time to ensure that your fishing mates are tuned in, now is the hour. Without the understanding and awareness that comes from receiving regular information we cannot expect large numbers of people to speak as one when needed to protect one of the most unique and important activities that help to define us as New Zealanders. Go here - Subscribe yourself and then your friends to ensure you are kept informed - www.option4.co.nz

What's a good day out fishing worth to you?

Thanks to a handful of well informed and very generous individuals and companies we have been able to employ the necessary resources and people to deliver the all important representation, analysis, submission preparation and website management necessary to preserve a strong right for all of us to fish for food.

It has been determined that a legal opinion on proposed amendments to the Fisheries Act is required. We need your help to pay for this expensive advice. Every bit of assistance from you is needed. If we fail at this stage all the time, energy and money that has gone into the rights debate will mean very little for our future generations.

To those who have contributed already, some every year, thank you. You are the difference. Those of you who are still thinking - NOW is the time to give. A tank of fuel, a spool of nylon, a bag of bait, ice, lunch and a few cleansing ales - we all spend plenty when we fish. How about making a donation of HALF of what you spend on a good days fishing? We need help NOW. Please send your cheque to option4 c/o Fishing News PO Box 12965 Penrose, Auckland . If a presentation or Grant Application is required to be completed, please call Trish Rea on 09 8186205. Or go online and use the new, secure, credit card donation facility.

Your right to fish for food

The right that we have to harvest seafood to feed ourselves is spelt out very clearly in section 21 of the Fisheries Act 1996. It states, " .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 -

  1. the following non-commercial fishing interests in that stock, namely
    1. Maori customary non-commercial fishing interests; and
    2. Recreational interests; .."

In legal terms " shall allow for" means "must allow for" . It is our belief that this law is clearly intended to ensure that future generations of New Zealanders are "allowed for", before an allocation in the form of quota (TACC) is made for the purposes of commercial fishing. What remains to be seen is this legislation given effect to enable us to enjoy our traditional, customary and ongoing rights to fish for food for our families and friends.

And don't forget Principle # 3, the Planning right so necessary for us, the public, to be able to actively plan to conserve fish today to ensure future generations enjoy similar or better fishing opportunities, whilst at the same time have those same fish remain available to the public, not be allocated to the commercial fishers - see Snapper 2 decision 2002.

Marine protection

An application for a marine reserve in Paterson Inlet, Stewart Island was lodged in 1992 and approved in July 2002. The Minister of Transport has given concurrence so all that is required now is concurrence from the Minister of Fisheries. Serious issues of safety, limited response times and the lack of adequate consultation have emerged. option4 has requested a 60-day extension to the submission period the Minister responded with a two week extension. What's the hurry? With a successful Fisheries Management Plan in Paterson Inlet is a reserve necessary?

The final report for a marine reserve at Volkner Rocks should be with the Minister of Conservation. The analysis of submissions will be available to the public after he has reviewed it. Why has it taken since the 14 th January? What have they got to hide?

Still no release of analysis of submissions made to the West Coast marine park proposal.

No indication yet from NZUA on analysis of submission to the proposed marine reserve at Tiritiri. NZUA have suggested they will be counting individual submissions, made with the assistance of groups such as option4 and Tiri Action Group, as one submission. They are fooling themselves if they think the public will sit by while they manipulate the results.

DoC advise the analysis of submissions from the Great Barrier Island marine reserve proposal has been delayed another month. The analysis will be available by 12 th November.

We are unsure as to when we can expect analysis of the submissions already made to ARC's proposal for a marine reserve at Tawharanui .

Why is option4 opposed to marine reserves?

In the right place for the right reasons, marine reserves have merit. A great deal of work has gone into debunking the mythology and ridiculous expectations that applicants use when promoting marine reserves. It's all here at www.seafriends.org.nz - a remarkable website committed to truth, exposure of fallacy and rebuttal of silly claims. Treat yourself to some real information.



October 29 th 2003

Thank you for the opportunity to speak with you again today.

option4 have spoken to the Board three times this year with the intention of informing you of what the public are saying regarding marine reserves and marine protection in general. As an independent body representing community interests in their rights to fish for food and marine protection it is only fair we make this effort to share with you what feedback we are getting.

Great Barrier Island marine reserve

I note with interest the comment in the unconfirmed minutes of the August Board meeting that the analysis of the submissions would be available to the public by the end of September. I understand this has been delayed and would like some indication of when the analysis will be available. There is a huge amount of interest in this proposal and in particular the process undertaken by DoC to gather support for the reserve, the process and basis of their analysis of the public feedback.

Public Meetings

Also noted is the comment that the ‘Drop In' meeting held at the Marine Rescue Centre was “ in effect a public meeting”. In no way can that meeting be considered a public meeting in consultation terms. If we look at the definition on effective consultation in the Court of Appeal decision arising from the case between International Airport Ltd and Air New Zealand (CA 23/92, 73/92[1993] 1 NZLR 671). The relevant section of the decision is 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. Despite its somewhat impromptu nature I cannot improve on the attempt at description, which I made in West Coast United Council v Prebble at p. 405:

‘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 Department may consider their obligations to consult less due to the non – statutory phase of the Great Barrier Island marine reserve proposal option4 consider any attempts at consultation should at least meet the requirements of the above legal definition. It is also very important to note that the statutory phase of the marine reserve establishment process does not include consultation with the wider public. For many, what consultation will occur has occurred. We remain firm in our opinion that the Department's efforts to inform the public of their opportunities to be consulted were inadequate.

‘Drop In' Meetings

At the 'Drop In' meetings the public were offered the opportunity to talk to staff on a one-on-one basis and have their opinions recorded. Where have those opinions been recorded and would the Board have access to the records? option4 would like to have a copy of those opinions for our records with any obvious personal information removed.

Marine Reserves

It was very encouraging to listen to the Conservator, Rob McCallum address the Hauraki Gulf Forum on September 17 th and acknowledge the concerns raised regarding the ad hoc nature of marine reserve creation, the lack of strategic approach to marine reserve proposals and concerns around public consultation. The fact that DoC has decided to take a leading role in talking to all of those agencies and the public about how we want biodiversity protected is a great step forward and option4 want to be part of that process. There is a lot more that can be gained by a cooperative approach than any process we have been involved with to date. We look forward to being actively involved and using our networks to engage with the public in a meaningful and consultative manner.

Thank you for your time today

Trish Rea

option4.co.nz spokesperson.