option4 Update #69 NZFN April 2006

Shared Success in Fisheries Policy
by the option4 team
April 2006


This was originally published in the May 2006 edition of the New Zealand Fishing News

Shared Success in Fisheries Policy

In the last two Updates in the New Zealand Fishing News option4 have asked people for their mandate, to represent their interests in the Shared Fisheries Policy Development process. The option4 team are very grateful and hugely encouraged by the response and the return of the coupons from those articles.

The financial support accompanying the coupons has been outstanding, none more so than that of Aaron Covacich, owner/skipper of Thor charters. Aaron has offered a two-day fishing trip for six people to all readers of the New Zealand Fishing News who donate to option4 or the Kahawai Legal Challenge. (See details elsewhere). Thank you Aaron and Thor charters and also NZFN for the subscription prizes.


Shared Fisheries Policy

In December last year the Ministry of Fisheries flagged to the Minister that they wanted to develop a policy and discuss allocation of shared fisheries. option4 has been working on the allocation issue for six years and welcomed the opportunity to address, once and for all, past unfair allocations and ways to resolve the outstanding issues.

Mid January the Minister, Jim Anderton, described the issue, One of our biggest problems in shared fisheries is the allocation between the sector groups - i.e. how much of the catch each sector can take.


"Unfortunately, current fisheries legislation does not give us a robust framework for resolution of allocation issues in shared fisheries. This had led to a lot of uncertainty, which in turn can lead to conflict and tension between the sectors. Uncertainty produces a bad investment environment for industry.”  

While the Minister maybe right, option4’s concern is the protection of non-commercial fishing and the need to rebuild stocks in important shared fisheries before the Ministry try and lock us into a fixed proportion of the catch. Discussions with officials began in February and have continued through March. Several constructive meetings have been held with option4 and a report of one of those meetings is online at https://option4.co.nz/Fisheries_Mgmt/sfsr206.htm


Proportional Allocation

Proportional allocation was a hot topic in the Soundings document produced by the Ministry in the year 2000. Over 60,000 people rejected the notion of a fixed proportion of our shared fisheries during that process. Since then option4 have maintained that in order to achieve a robust allocation process the following criteria need to be meet:

  1. Consultation with non-commercial fishers is undertaken on whether the proportional allocation model is acceptable.
  2. Initial proportions are fairly achieved and set with possibility of judicial review.
  3. Reliable scientific information is available on which to base initial allocations.
  4. Stakeholders have an equal opportunity to catch their allocation.
  5. The stakeholders can be constrained to their proportion.
  6. All stakeholders share pain or gain equally and simultaneously.
  7. Cheating is detectable and avoidable.
  8. All stakeholders have equally strong rights.
  9. All stakeholders are similarly resourced.
  10. There is a way of altering the proportions when they are poorly set.
  11. There is a way of increasing the non-commercial proportion if the number of non-commercial fishers increases, or decreasing it if less people go fishing.

More details on proportional allocation are online at https://option4.co.nz/Fisheries_Mgmt/proportions.htm

The large fishing companies have made it clear they consider proportional allocation of shared fisheries as their goal. They have promoted this concept in their submissions to the Ministry over the years, behind veiled threats of legal action for compensation if catch reductions are not applied equally to all sectors. Undoubtedly industry will view this policy process as a way of improving their interest in shared fisheries.

We also know that proportional shares are the Ministry’s preferred allocation model, as this would simplify their management role and the decision-making responsibility of the Minister.

However, we have yet to establish what the Ministry’s ultimate goal of this process is. The clearly articulated objective of the Soundings process was to cap the recreational catch and avoid compensation issues for the Crown. The Ministry have denied their objective of this Shared Fisheries Policy Development process is the same as that of Soundings.

We all agree that allocation in shared fisheries is a major issue. option4 are determined to have an outcome that is fair and addresses the fundamental issues mentioned above. If we achieve this we will have a more secure fishing future for all fishers.


Your Mandate

To accomplish the best outcome for all non-commercial fishers option4 want your mandate to speak for you and your family on these critical issues of shared fisheries and proportional allocation. Only by working together to achieve the same goal can we succeed. The choice is yours.

option4  have made it easy for you to give us your mandate. Simply fill out the form attached and post back to us or go online to the mandate page https://option4.co.nz/Mandate.php to have the experts represent your interest. And best of all, its free!

If you value the work option4 is doing please use the secure online facility available here and invest in your fishing future.