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NZFN Update February 2003

Dear [ supporter ]

Consensus Achieved

On Saturday, 7 th December 2002 the New Zealand Recreational Fishing Council, New Zealand Big Game Fishing Council and option4 met and finalised their "letter of consensus" to the Minister of Fisheries. This letter may be read in full at

The key points of the consensus are

  1. Principles developed during the Soundings process.
  2. Preference to non-commercial fishing as guaranteed by the cornerstone statement in the 1989 Recreational Fishing Policy.
  3. Need for legislative reform to implement the principles and preference statement and to ensure the public sector is adequately resourced to be an effective contributor to fisheries management.
  4. Rejection of the capped proportional share concept.
  5. The requirement for improved information

The Conclusion of the letter.. "Minister..the purpose of this letter is to show to you that the recreational sector is in consensus on the recreational fishing reform process. We feel it entirely reasonable to expect to see some real effort put into the recreational reform process by you and your Ministry, as promised. Why have little or no resources been dedicated to furthering the public fishing rights definition process since the tabling of the Cabinet Paper in November 2001? Why are all MFish resources being used to address the needs of the commercial sector (new species into QMS and Aquaculture reforms to name a couple) while we stand and wait?"


The letter was sent to the Minister in anticipation of meeting him the following Monday 16 th December. Already the consensus letterhead has been used twice more - both times requesting time extensions for submission preparation - see details below


Meeting with the Minister

On Monday night, 16 th December 2002, those selected by the Minister met with him in his offices in Wellington (again). The minutes of that meeting have not been produced yet. Apologies were offered by the Minister for the failure of his Ministry to progress the rights debate in 2002, despite clear guidance from Cabinet to have a single option for reform ready for report back to cabinet by February 2003. Clearly this is not going to happen. The Occasional Papers were referred to. The public fisher representatives were adamant that any process going forward must be transparent and respectful. The result of the meeting was a commitment to meet again (in Auckland) in January 2003.


Occasional Papers

At last, the long promised papers arrived, immediately before Christmas. They are to be found on site at

" Shared Resource: Allocation between stakeholders. This paper briefly describes the matters the Minister of Fisheries is required to consider when determining catch limits for particular fisheries and the process followed in allocating the allowable catch between the various stakeholder groups.

The Legal Nature of Recreational Fishing Rights. The purpose of this paper is to provide an understanding of the constituent elements of the right to fish and the legal basis of these elements. The discussion encompasses statutory arrangements, international treaty obligations, and the obligations arising from the Treaty of Waitangi.

Obligation to Maori~An Overview - This paper provides an overview of the Crown's obligations to Maori in respect of fisheries and places it in an historical context.
Maintaining the Marine Environment and Recreational Fishing Rights . This paper looks at the environmental and sustainability issues that give rise to constraints on the right to fish.


The purpose of these papers is primarily to provide background information to inform discussions on the development of options to reform the recreational fishing right. The papers have been peer reviewed by public sector agencies - The Crown Law Office; The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade; The Ministry for the Environment; Ministry of Maori Development and the Treaty of Waitangi Fisheries Commission. The comments from these organisations have been incorporated into the papers."


There is much work to do to analyse and respond to these papers. Any feedback from you is most welcome. Please endeavour to read these papers - heavy going - essential work.


Volkner Rocks Marine Reserve Proposal

In response to a request for help from a number of local clubs and individuals, option4, NZBGFC, NZRFC firstly sought a time extension. This was felt to be entirely reasonable given the short two month notification period with a deadline of 14 th January. This request was turned down, although we learnt from this response from DOC " brief objections are received no later than 14 January 2003, the objectors are entitled to elaborate or expand on the details of that objection by providing a further written submission at a later date." With that in mind we decided to activate the online support network with option4 Alert # 1. With only 4 days to work with, the online supporters delivered well over 400 objections, many of which contained insightful comment. Those who objected now have the right, until 14 th February to "elaborate" - if you have a comment you would like to add to this elaboration please email it or post it in c/o Fishing News. Well done Rick Pollock, Peter (Basil) Campbell and Ross Gildon for your efforts and tenacity. Watch this space


Guardians of Fiordland's proposals

Just before Christmas we (with NZBGFC and NZRFC) requested an extension of time to prepare our submission to these wide-ranging proposals. This request was granted. Thankyou Guardians. Next month we will cover these proposals in more detail and outline our submission.


2003 looks set to be a huge year for fisheries reform. Please stay tuned. There is much you can do to ensure your kids enjoy something remotely resembling the fishing experiences that we have been blessed with in our lifetimes.


Regards from the team at option4

[ footing ]