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Soundings & option4 2000 - 2001

Soundings and option4

2000 - 2001


An affiliation of concerned New Zealand citizens and fishing people created a task force called option4 in response to the document Soundings in 2000. The discussion document was the work of the Rights Working Group (RWG) consisting of Ministry of Fisheries staff and members of the NZ Recreational Fishing Council (NZRFC). The RWG asked for submissions on the future management and rights of recreational fishers.  

Soundings included three options for the public to consider in regards to our future fishing rights. They were:

  1. Discretionary share (status quo, the current system)
  2. Proportional share (a fixed share of the available fishery)
  3. Recreational management (proportional share and management control).


option4 believes that the RWG, in the Soundings document, adopted a set of preconceived and indefensible assumptions about the relationship New Zealanders have with the seas surrounding their lands, whilst at the same time having omitted reference to many important issues surrounding the pre-existing rights of New Zealanders to fish and harvest these seas.

option4 were determined to ensure all possible options for the future management of recreational fishing were considered on their merits and debated as widely as possible.

option4 Objective:

To carry the four principles of option4 all the way through the rights redefinition process and to have those principles enshrined in legislation.

option4 Principles:

  1. A priority right over commercial fishers for free access to a reasonable daily bag limit to be written into legislation.

  2. The ability to exclude commercial methods that deplete recreationally important areas.

  3. The ability to devise plans to ensure future generations enjoy the same or better quality of rights while preventing fish conserved for recreational use being given to the commercial sector.

  4. No licensing of recreational fishers.



option4 compiled a submission , sought input and support through widespread debate, the option4 website, articles and interviews in the media. Considerable awareness was created among the fishing public generating extensive discussion on talkback radio.

option4 achieved a staggering level of consensus on public harvesting rights in the marine environment. Of the 62,117 submissions made during the Soundings process 61,178 (98.5%) supported the objective and four principles of option4 contained in the submission. This was an unprecedented response to a fisheries management proposal.

In addition to the option4 website regular Updates are provided online and in the media to keep people informed of progress. If you would like to be kept informed of progress please register here.


After Soundings

option4 has continued the effort to redefine the right of the public to harvest food from the sea. The task force maintains the objective and 4 principles and works in conjunction with many other representative organisations to secure the rights of non-commercial fishers in the marine environment.

If you would like to contact the option4 team please email us at contact@option4.co.nz

Summary of Soundings Process

This page follows the process and option4 involvement throughout 2000 and 2001.

option4 input
Soundings documents


option4 Input

Boatshow Brochure

option4 take to the Auckland Boatshow with this brochure, explaining in simple terms the outcome of the Soundings process.

May 2001

First Meeting with Minister

option4 meet with the Minister. Full minutes of that meeting available here »

Mar 2001

option4 Submission - Must Read

A taskforce of concerned, experienced fishers and many hours of input from the public combined to produce this most powerful submission to provide a fourth option to manage our fisheries into the future.

Dec 2000


Ministers Response to option4

Submission deadline extended to 20 December and Pete Hodgson's opinion on priority for recreational fishers.

Nov 2000

option4 Asks for 4 More Months

Letter to the Minister of Fisheries requesting a four month extension to the Soundings submission process.

Oct 2000

option4 Seeks Clarification

Clarification of the Soundings process and a meeting is sought from Pete Hodgson.

Oct 2000

Introduction to the Minister

option4 provide background information and refer to Labour government policy for preference for non-commercial fishers.

Oct 2000

Overview of Soundings document
option4 give an outline of initial concerns about the options proposed in the Soundings document.

Sep 2000

Soundings Impact on Tourism

The three options proposed in Soundings will likely result in restrictions that will negatively impact a substantial part of the tourist trade dependant on inshore saltwater fishing.

Sep 2000


Soundings Documents

Minister Announces Release of RWG Report

Pete Hodgson's press statement on the release of the Rights Working Group paper.


Rights Working Group Report

Report from the Rights Working Group on the outcome of the Soundings consultation process

Microsoft Internet Explorer/MS Word compatible document .......(84 Kb) » »



Printable format (pdf).....................document (55 Kb) » »

Independent Analysis of Submissions

The independent consultant's review and analysis of submissions made during the Soundings consultation process.

Microsoft Internet Explorer/MS Word compatible document ......(310 Kb) » »



Printable format (pdf).....................document (143 Kb) » »

Soundings Document

A document prepared by the Rights Working Group (RWG) made up of the NZ Recreational Fishing Council (NZRFC) and the Ministry of Fisheries to redefine our fishing rights and the management of recreational fishing in New Zealand. Printable format (pdf)................large document (600 Kb) » »

Jul 2000



option4 Submission

A taskforce of concerned, experienced fishers and many hours of input from the public combined to produce this most powerful submission to provide a fourth option to manage our fisheries into the future.

Dec 2000


TOKM Submission

Te Ohu Kai Moana (Treaty of Waitangi Fishieres Commission) supports a priority, unconstrained share for customary harvest with second priority being accorded to commercial rights. This means that TAC reductions would be taken firstly from the recreational allowance.....

Dec 2000



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