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option4 Update #48 NZFN Nov 2004

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Adaptive Management Programs (AMP's)

NZ Fishing News
Nov 2004


More increases of commercial quotas at the cost of non-commercial access.

An Adaptive Management Program (AMP) is a scientific process developed for low value fisheries that do not warrant having more comprehensive, expensive science such as tagging surveys done. It is a simple process whereby the fishing industry is given permission to apply a large, additional catch effort in a fishery and the reaction of the stock is measured. Generally this is gauged on the reduction in Catch Per Unit of Effort (CPUE). It's all about hurting the fishery and measuring the pain. The insanity of it is that along with an inevitable reduction in commercial catch rates, non-commercial catch rates will decline similarly. The Ministry of Fisheries have stated that to be effective, an AMP necessitates a real shock to be applied to get a measurable result – i.e. an increase of 30% catch or more.


Shared Fisheries

In any AMP decision making process in a shared fishery, it is essential to have a baseline CPUE measure for the other stakeholder groups, i.e. recreational and Customary Mäori. Failure to measure non-commercial CPUE concurrent to the AMP experiment renders the result futile because you don't know whether the catch is a sustainable increase or a direct transfer of catch from one sector to another.

In summary, AMPs in shared fisheries effectively transfer catching rights from non-commercial to commercial. If it is determined that AMPs in shared fisheries are essential we would suggest that industry consider not catching a substantial amount of their quota (30% plus) for a period of time and measure the rebuild rate through CPUE changes. This strikes us as much more equitable.


Approval Given

In September David Benson-Pope approved a number of Adaptive Management Programs – some of which apply to inshore shared fisheries, namely tarakihi Area 2 (TAR 2) and Area 3 (TAR3). Before we analyse this years decisions lets go back a mere 2 years to when industry and Ministry promoted an AMP for the neighboring tarakihi fishery in Area 1 (TAR 1).

When declining that application the previous Minister, Pete Hodgson said in his decision letter "Submissions from recreational fishing interests confirmed the importance of the fishery to them, and their concerns that the proposal could affect recreational and customary interests in the fishery, both in the Bay of Plenty and east Northland regions. The AMP framework is designed to allow for 'trial' fishing within an administrative system, to derive information from fishing subject to careful monitoring. In shared fisheries like TAR 1, I am inclined to be cautious, because those who gain no benefit from the increased TACC in the short term also carry the risks attendant on the increased fishing. It is also more difficult to cater for the different harvesting strategies of the sectors in the uncertain circumstances of such 'trial' fishing..."


We acknowledge Pete Hodgson for that wisdom and clarity. Thank you Pete for that good decision – amongst others. The essence of Hodgson's decision is to be very cautious about practicing AMP management on inshore shared fisheries.

Fast forward to a new Minister being briefed by the same old crowd at Ministry and yet another set of AMP proposals. David Benson- Pope writes in his decision letter 2004 -

" I have approved a proposal from the Area 2 Inshore Finfish Management Company Ltd to increase the TACC from 1 633 tonnes to 1 796 tonnes under an AMP. The new TACC will reflect recent commercial catch levels and will enable fishers to better balance catches with ACE.

I do not consider the new TACC will pose a significant sustainability risk, as it should result in only small, if any, changes to effort and catch. I also expect the TACC will not affect the size and availability of tarakihi for non-commercial fishers, as the spatial distribution of commercial catches has been stable over time, and any changes are expected to be minor.

I have also agreed to set a TAC of 2 082 tonnes, which includes allowances of 100 tonnes for customary Mäori interests and 150 tonnes for recreational interests. These allowances recognise that the TAR 2 fishery is an important shared fisheries resource. The TAC also includes an allowance of 36 tonnes for other sources of fishing-related mortality"


Commercial Increase

So what does all this mean? Firstly, the commercial sector has successfully used the AMP framework to achieve an increase in their Allowable Catch in this very important inshore shared fishery. The Minister would have us believe that by increasing the commercial catch there will be no change to non-commercial size and/or availability. How bizarre!

At the same time the non commercial sectors interests have been "allowed for" for the first time in this fishery. No changes to bag limits therefore no issue, one might say. Not so. This is the thin edge of the wedge yet again. Another example of the "one way valve" favouring commercial in the management of shared fisheries.

The tragedy is that this nonsense could have been tossed aside at Science Group level if we had the resources to represent ourselves well and argue these issues – year after year – or, alternatively, if the Ministry had acted in good faith with the understanding they already have about the inappropriateness of AMPs in inshore shared fisheries


Ministry Management

In the moment, in the short space available and with little or no resources all we can really aspire to do is to "bear witness" to the debacle of fisheries management under this Ministry of Fisheries and ensure a good record is maintained for future judgement. A comprehensive record of the tarakihi Fisheries Management manoeuvres can be found online under Fisheries Management - tarakihi.


Composite Developments support for option4

Composite Developments and Marty Johanson have recognised the work option4 is doing with a generous contribution. Thank you for this most timely and much appreciated support. Be assured, we will continue to maintain the pressure on those who have chosen to threaten our right to fish for food.



option4 have formally affiliated with the Council of Outdoor Recreation Associations of New Zealand in an effort to add value to their charter as it pertains to saltwater fishing for food. We look forward to a mutually beneficial relationship.


Marine Protection


Dr Floor Anthoni has worked tirelessly on what can only be described as a treasure trove of commentary and observation on the health and threats to our marine environment. Sadly, all this effort does not warrant comment by DoC or other marine reserve promoters on any specifics – it is merely dismissed in passing as "ill-informed assertions".

What is it going to take to get these people to address specific concerns? Just because it challenges the ideology and "science" supporting marine reserves does not mean that this remarkable body of work be written off so easily by the pro-marine reserve lobby. Thank you Floor for your most valuable and comprehensive body of work.

Please visit www.seafriends.org.nz for a great source of reference material covering so many relevant aspects of the need for marine protection.


Great Barrier Island marine reserve Application

The all too brief and rigidly adhered to 60 day objection period is over – our OIA request for copies of the objections is in and appears to have been accepted. Community Relations Manager for the Department of Conservation, Warwick Murray, has confirmed to the Auckland Conservation Board meeting on 28/10/04 that DoC wish to forward the Application to the Minister before Christmas. Clearly, DoC Auckland are on a steamroller journey to ram this through despite the clear understanding that a coordinated and integrated approach to marine protection is widely demanded.


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