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option4 Update #23 Jan 2003

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Kingfish - How Much Quota?
January 2003


Dear [ subscriber ]

Meeting with the Minister.
At the end of November six people received invitations in the mail to meet with the Minister of Fisheries on Monday 16 th December in his offices at 7.00pm. The Minister has chosen one person from NZRFC, NZBGFC, option4, MTA, Tasman Fishers and one other. The Minister wants to meet again with sector leaders to get candid and frank feedback on both the future of the "reforms" and the process to be followed from here on if the reform of the recreational fishing right is to proceed. Still nothing heard from the Ministry regards process as outlined for the year. option4 will report on the meeting with the Minister next month.

Kingfish into the QMS -1/10/03
The Minister has decided to introduce Kingfish (amongst other species) into the QMS as of 1/10/03. His decision letter (which may be read in full at https://www.option4.co.nz/Fisheries_Mgmt/kingfish.htm offers some reasoning as to why the Minister believes that the "QMS should be fully exploited before considering any alternative management system for bycatch stocks." He "remains committed to introducing more stocks into the QMS " and he "advocates management arrangements that make the best use of the QMS, such as fisheries plans led by participant-initiated arrangements" His decision letter covers similar reasoning, stock boundaries and fishing year time frames for each of the 5 species to be introduced (Kina (North Island), Kingfish, Leatherjacket, Rough and Smooth Skates, Short and long finned eel (Chatham Islands)

The Minister assures us in his decision letter that commercial catches of kingfish will not exceed their allocation as "the catch-balancing regime provided for in the QMS has a variety of mechanisms to ensure that commercial catch is managed to the level of ACE available for the fishery". He "will be open to considering these mechanisms during the next stage in the QMS introduction process when I determine the Total Allowable Catch and allowance (for each sector) for each stock.

Smaller FMA's (Fisheries Management Areas) are not being considered. Again, he prefers "agreements between sectors" to address local depletion effects.
So here we have it. One of our most precious and treasured inshore fisheries about to have a Total Allowable Catch set and initial allocations made for each sector. The Minister has a huge responsibility to the public to get this right. If he were to use the rational for his recent decisions in Snapper 2 (SNA 2) when he determines kingfish allocations, heaven help us. The New Zealand Recreational Fishing Council, The New Zealand Big Game Fishing Council and option4 have all made strong submissions on the kingfish situation - you may read these in full at https://www.option4.co.nz/Fisheries_Mgmt/qmsdocs.htm The Minister has a very good opportunity to show "good faith" with the fishing public when he makes his kingfish decisions. He certainly has a lot of confidence in the QMS commercial catch limiting mechanisms and the ability of commercial and recreational to achieve effective agreements to nurture this all-important recreational fish stock.

New Harvest Estimates for the Public
The full reports of both the Survey and the Review are online and well worth a read.
Recreational Harvest Estimates 2000


Recreational Harvest Review 2000

As reported in Fishing News last month, they confirm what has long been suspected - previous estimates of recreational catches have been dramatic under-estimates and thus all fisheries management decisions that have used older harvest estimates must be questioned. We expect some urgency by the Ministry in addressing there past mistakes and incorporating the true figures into their stock assessment models. At this stage they do not seem to be moving very quickly - certainly their recommendation to the Minister to allow for 40 tonnes of Snapper 2 for public catch seems to fly in the face of estimates that our catch could be as high as 700 tonnes. The question that must be answered is, when will this Ministry take the new information on board in its fisheries management deliberations? Be assured that this question will be raised when the Minister's meeting occurs in December.

option4 Support online
The last month has seen over 300 people either Register their Support or Introduce a Friend. This is very encouraging and clearly demonstrates the increasing awareness of the public and concern for their fishing future. Please make every effort to share your knowledge of fisheries management developments with your friends over Christmas. The fisheries management "landscape" is quickly changing- it seems that change is occurring on all fronts simultaneously and in some respects is overwhelming for the fishing public. Until the rights of the public are clearly defined, we at option4 believe that the risks associated with most other changes are unacceptably high. The only way to win against the growing threats to our fishing access is to speak with one voice so if you have not done so already, go online and register yourself to receive the Updates and take advantage of the opportunities to have your voice heard.
Thankyou for your support and encouragement in 2002.

Regards from the team at option4

(NZ Fishing News #23 Jan 03)

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