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option4 Update #24 April 2003

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Consensus Achieved and Working
April 2003

Dear [ subscriber ]

2003 has seen some major progress in the fishing for food debate. We have made some ground with the Minister and his officials, the recreational representatives are speaking with a united voice and we have been responding to the call for action over marine reserves. Apologies for not producing an update for the past few months, the option4 team have been very busy. Regular updates are in the NZ Fishing News, so if you miss out online check out the biggest fishing magazine in New Zealand.

Progress in 2003

Consensus Achieved
The good news is recreational fishers are now represented by a united group comprising the New Zealand Recreational Fishing Council (NZRFC), New Zealand Big Game Fishing Council (NZBGFC) and option4. All three groups signed a letter of consensus in December 2002 and agreed on a set of principles as below -

  1. Principles developed during the Soundings process.
  2. Preference to non-commercial fishing as guaranteed by the cornerstone statement in the 1989 Recreational Fishing Policy.
  3. Need for legislative reform to implement the principles and preference statement and to ensure the public sector is adequately resourced to be an effective contributor to fisheries management.
  4. Rejection of the capped proportional share concept.
  5. The requirement for improved information

The full letter can be read here » »

The consensus letter was sent to the Minister in anticipation of meeting him on Monday 16th December 2002. The consensus letterhead has been used twice since, both times requesting time extensions for submission preparation- both were successful.

Reference Group Meetings
The December meeting with the Minister and his officials was very useful for clarifying the process to date and where we move from here. The Minister was very clear he wanted the reform process to continue and officials acknowledged their part in failing to make progress. The Minister explained he does not want to continue pouring resources into the discussions if there was no positive outcome - we couldn't agree with him more. Recreational representatives were very clear in wanting Moyle's Promise honoured, as previously agreed.

The cornerstone statement in this reads
'…to ensure recreational users have access to a reasonable share of fishery resources. Government's position is clear, where a species of fish is not sufficiently abundant to support both commercial and non-commercial fishing, preference will be given to non-commercial fishing. This position reflects Government's resolve to ensure all New Zealanders can enjoy and benefit from our fisheries.'

There have been several meetings this year with a smaller group of recreational and Ministry staff, this is referred to as the Reference Group. It has been agreed the process will be broken into stages, and discussions will only continue if each stage is successful. Minutes are being taken during these meetings and will be available online as soon as they are made available to us. option4 are adamant we are not going to be dragged into another process where discussions are held behind closed doors. This process is totally transparent and will be fully reported as the process continues.

Currently the reform timeline has been revised to include outcomes from Reference Group discussions. It is expected that these discussions will continue through to April this year. Ministry officials will then report back to the Minister and cabinet on the outcome and a preferred reform option. If this option is approved there will be another round of public consultation from July to October 2003. If there is any legislative change required it is anticipated this will occur in 2004. A select committee will need to consider any change to legislation. The earliest occurrence of any legislative change would be November 2004. This could be good news for the government as they head into election year in 2005.

This is the most progress we have made in over a year. Lets hope this continues. Our representatives are very clear in wanting a priority right for those fishing for food to be able to catch a reasonable daily bag limit.

Marine Reserve Alerts
In response to concerns being expressed by those online option4 have produced three Alerts to date. The alerts have focused on the Volkner Rocks, Fiordland and Tiritiri Matangi Island. We have had an awesome response from online supporters and the comments coming through have been outstanding. Thank you to all those who took the time to respond.

It proves the power of our online network. If you have anyone you know that would want to keep up to date with developments sign them up here

The network is growing daily and the chance to have your say is made easy by simple response forms that only take a few minutes to fill out. Bring your friends and family into the loop so they can have their say.

Those organisations proposing marine reserves need to know the public of New Zealand will not sit by and watch our prime fishing areas taken away purely to fulfil government policy of 10% marine protected areas without proper public consultation and the science to support their ideas.

If you have any comments, suggestions or concerns email us here

Support from Chester's Plumbing Supplies
Grant Chester, Allan Radcliff and the staff have done it again. Their annual fishing contest was in February and they put on a great day. Proceeds from the day have been generously donated to the option4 Fighting Fund. This assistance allows option4 to continue to represent the public who go fishing for food. They do this year after year. If you need plumbing supplies show your support to this company who have supported option4 from day one.

Thank you Chester's Plumbing Supplies

What's New?
Check out the following links to learn more

Latest comments from supporters

Marine reserve issues

Tiri Action Group submission to NZUA re a marine reserve in Whangaparaoa - download the pdf

The Minister's response to the Consensus letter » »

Occasional Papers from Ministry of Fisheries - interesting perspective on our right to fish

To order bumper stickers

Regards from the team at option4

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