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NZFN Update June 2003

Dear [ supporter ]

option4 Update # 28 - June Fishing News

The right to fish for food
The Reference Group have now met four times. The complete record of the 2003 process has been assembled and is on site at Some 300 pages of heavy duty reading for the ultra keen. The Reference Group is scheduled to meet the Minister late in May. We hope to be able to report next month on tangible progress made towards securing the right for the public to fish for food and continue to be able to catch a reasonable daily bag limit.

West Coast Integrated Management Plan
The "Draft Proposal for Public Discussion" document for Auckland's Wild West Coast prepared by Forest and Bird, in consultation with the West Coast Working Group was released in March.. The document offers a range of suggestions for further protection of the marine environment. You are asked to provide feedback using the questionnaire contained within the Proposal Document. option4 have successfully negotiated for the ability to allow you to complete this questionnaire online.

The main thrust of the initiative is to create a Marine Park. When we attended the public meetings and asked if the goal was a marine reserve network or a Marine Park, Ken Catt, the convenor of the West Coast Working Group (and secretary of Forest and Bird, Waitakere), answered that the West Coast Working Group's aim is "only to set up a Marine Park". However, the proposal discusses marine reserves at length. The Process Graph offered on Page 4 is that of a marine reserve process. Whilst being non specific as to marine reserve boundaries there is no doubt that marine reserves are high on the wish list of the Working Group. Forest and Bird make no secret of their desire to see vast tracts of our waters locked up forever. Lets not be lulled into a false sense of security.

The proposal states "In theory the Marine Park may be thought of as a legislative tool box in which all other legislation is used and monitored". "The establishment of a Marine Park will require special legislation"

The proposal document states "The integrated marine management plan is made up of 5 main elements"

  1. Marine Park
  2. Marine Mammal Sanctuary
  3. Marine Reserve Network
  4. Maori Fishery Management Tools
  5. Shoreline and Hinterland Conservation Areas
  6. However, there is no mention whatsoever of Maori Fishery Management Tools or Shoreline and Hinterland Conservation Areas within the "Boundary Options" section of the proposal - its almost as if there is a page missing - very confusing.

In our opinion, this consultation is so non-specific and incomplete as to make any consultation outcomes valid only for a Marine Park consultation process.

We are also quite clear that the process to formulate this proposal has failed to adequately consult with the well recognised public fishing representative organisations such as NZRFC, NZBGFC and option4, not to mention other recreational users of this coast.

One of the key threats identified is the over harvesting of the intertidal zone shellfisheries. The only mechanism promoted in the Plan maps to address this threat are marine reserves, which fail to specify any boundaries. Whilst maori customary fisheries management tools are paid lip service there are no details nor evidence of effort made to really explore these powerful tools.

Most people accept that the current harvesting regulations are ineffective and not enforced. Obviously it is long overdue for us to have some really good tools and agency resourcing that allow coastal communities to make a difference - not simply lock the public out and throw the keys away.

When you make submission to these proposals it is important that you take the time to read the Background Information made available and add your comment. If you would like to receive a form directly from Forest and Bird, please call them on 09 3033079.

Tiritiri Marine Reserve.
The submission from Tiritiri Action Group to New Zealand Underwater's proposal is now online at No sign of the promised copy of the budget for this proposal from NZUA yet.

Some Balance to the marine reserve debate.
For those interested in some real information and balanced argument about marine reserves please go to Here, Dr Floor Anthoni has compiled an incredible resource for those wrestling with the value of marine reserves. Key messages - "Marine reserves in the right places for the right reasons". "What's the hurry?" "Marine reserves do nothing for the fundamental issues of water quality and over fishing" "We are facing a future with unknown problems like mass mortalities, disease and recruitment failure"

The Frequently Asked Questions section of this huge website is particularly useful for those considering making submission to any marine reserve proposal or application. Please also read the "Myths and Fallacies" section where many of the recent articles promoting marine reserves are dissected, rebutted and de-bunked. All information on this website is there for your use - copy, print, share or whatever.

option4 exists to defend the rights of the public to fish for food. This sees us fully engaged with the Reference Group process with the Ministry and Minister. More recently, the wave of proposals for Marine Reserves has seen option4 become very involved in a support and coordination capacity with the various groups that have formed up to represent the public interest.
The business of fisheries management goes on. option4 is committed to submitting on Fishery Management proposals that effect inshore shared fisheries allocation decisions. There are over 40 new species being introduced to the QMS, many of which are of real importance to you, the public food fisher. Take kingfish for example. It is critical that this fishery has a very low Total Allowable Commercial Catch set. The list goes on.

The work that option4, NZBGFC and the New Zealand Recreational Fishing Council deliver on behalf of the public is done voluntarily and willingly. At a guess, at least 20,000 hours per annum - conservatively. This work will go on regardless of your response to this request for money. It is the quality of the result of all this work that counts. We have recently decided that a full time Coordinator is essential. One of the primary tasks is the coordination of Project Funding. At this stage we have 6 projects identified, each with its own set of goals, methodologies and budgets. These will be the subject of Grant Applications that will go out far and wide. Hopefully we will achieve balanced books.

Maintaining and building the Database is another key task. In the meantime, we need money and we need it NOW. PLEASE - GIVE GENEROUSLY . Please post your cheques to option4 Fighting Fund c/o Fishing News, PO Box 12965, Penrose, Auckland. Alternatively call us on 09 5205809 to discuss further.

To those many, many people who have already contributed - THANKYOU.


Regards from the team at option4

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