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option4 Update #61 NZFN August 2005

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Promises for Improved Fisheries Management

NZ Fishing News
August 2005


This article was originally published in the New Zealand Fishing News September 2005 edition.

Fisheries management
NZRFC conference
Kahawai legal challenge
Consultation with Maori
option4 website
Next moves


Fisheries Management

Response to fisheries management proposals dominated the option4 team's effort in July. The Ministry of Fisheries (MFish) advised us on 1 st July that the Initial Position Paper (IPP) for snapper 8 (west coast North Island) had been sent out for consultation. Unfortunately hard copy of the IPP did not arrive until 4th July, leaving us 25 days to respond.  

Included in the IPP were proposals for the flounder (FLA1), grey mullet (GMU1), rig (SPO1 & SPO3) and west coast kingfish (KIN8) fish stocks. Submission deadline for these reviews was also set for 29th July.

Draft submissions have been compiled and posted online for feedback. A Newsflash (#1) was sent out to the option4 database on 19th July to alert people to the reviews and asking for their feedback. option4 have also drafted a discussion paper on the proportional allocation model being promoted in the latest IPPs. Feedback is being sought from the public and the intention is to include the final document in the submissions to the   SNA8, GMU1, kahawai and regulation reviews.

Deadline Amendment

MFish advised us four days before the submission deadline that an extension had been granted and the new deadline for all the submissions was 10th August. This was welcome news as option4 had not had time to consult or design a consultation process that reflected the importance of these fisheries to the public and worthy of as much input as possible.

NZRFC Conference

Several of the option4 team attended the NZ Recreational Fishing Council conference and AGM in Wellington on the second weekend of July. Amongst the many speakers was David Benson-Pope, Minister of Fisheries. His message was very positive from our perspective as he announced "a new policy idea – that species important to recreational fishers should be managed above, or even significantly above, what fisheries documents refer to as Bmsy – the size of a fish stock that delivers the maximum sustainable yield."

(Note: A list of questions were given to the Minister at the Conference. Benson-Pope responded with answers the following day. Questions and answers are here......(PDF 170Kb) )

Later in the Conference it was announced by MFish that two more IPPs had been released. The review of selected amateur fisheries regulations was underway as was the new proposals for the kahawai stocks. Deadline for responses was set one week after the previous consultation round, on 5th August 2005.

option4 strongly object to the short timeframes being offered by the Ministry of Fisheries for submission deadlines. The fisheries being reviewed are of immense importance to recreational and Maori customary interests. We do not have the capacity or resources to fully consult and respond adequately in less that a month.

Kahawai Legal Challenge

Paul Barnes, Scott Macindoe and Trish Rea attended a meeting with the Hesketh Henry legal team and the QC reviewing the case being prepared for High Court action in regards to the Minister's 2004 kahawai decision. The outcome of the QC review was presented and the joint teams of option4, the NZ Big Game Fishing Council (NZBGFC) and the NZRFC are expected to make final preparations for filing of legal proceedings as soon as possible.


Consultation with Maori

Ongoing concerns regarding our access to fisheries has kept the option4 team focused on working with Maori to achieve the common goal of "more fish in the water" as decided at the inaugural hui of non-commercial fishing interests at Whitiora Marae at the end of April.

Following on from the successful hui another was arranged for the end of July. Many representatives from the non-commercial fishing fraternity and environmental groups were present to participate in discussions on fisheries management and marine protection tools available through the Maori customary regulations. The Ministry of Fisheries were invited to make several presentations to the hui, this generated vigorous and healthy debate at times. A document was drafted and unanimously passed by all those at Whakamaharatanga Marae describing the outcome and a plan to progress issues discussed over the three days of the hui.

The hospitality provided by the Hokianga hapu of the Ngapuhi iwi was outstanding. The generosity and willingness to make us welcome was heart warming and was a major contributor in the successful outcome of the hui. Encouraged by the success, another hui is planned within four to six weeks to continue the progress we are making.


Over 50 new pages were added to the website during July. Current proposals from MFish are available to be read, downloaded and responded to. The public are being encouraged to provide feedback on the draft submissions from option4. Details of drafts as follows:


Proportion Allocation


Snapper 8 (SNA8)


Flounder (FLA1)


Grey Mullet (GMU1)


Kahawai (KAH)


Kingfish (KIN8)


Regulation Review


Next Moves

Maori and non-Maori recreational representatives are committed to achieving better fisheries management and protection of our inshore marine environment. option4 are keen to participate in the next hui with Ngapuhi and other iwi. With our fishing interests so closely aligned it makes good sense for us to progress discussions as it has become obvious to us that we will not achieve our aspirations for our fishing future if we do not combine our effort with tangata whenua.

Their willingness to share their marine protection tools with us, the public who have very few options for managing our inshore areas at a local level, is encouraging. No doubt there will be hiccups along the way but the relationships being built with Ngapuhi and other iwi offers a promising fishing future for us all.  



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