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Govt response to scampi inquiry recommendations


Govt response to scampi inquiry recommendations

The Government has accepted the intent of all the recommendations of the Primary Production Committee's inquiry into the scampi fishery.

Fisheries Minister David Benson-Pope today tabled the Government's formal response to the committee's report, which was presented to Parliament on 2 December last year.

"My predecessor Pete Hodgson said before Christmas that the Government intended to implement the Select Committee’s key recommendation of introducing scampi into the Quota Management System by 1 October 2004," Mr Benson-Pope said. "Today’s response confirms this and I expect to introduce legislation to this effect in the near future."

The committee also recommended ex gratia payments from the Government to six named scampi fishers in recognition of the particular and individual consequences suffered by them. The Government has agreed and Mr Benson-Pope said the Ministry of Fisheries would shortly begin negotiations with the fishers concerned.

"The amounts payable to these fishers will be determined by negotiation," Mr Benson-Pope said. "The Government accepts the committee's finding that these fishers have a justified grievance with the treatment they received from the former Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries in the late 1980s and early 1990s, and will approach the negotiations in good faith."

"The management of the scampi fishery has been the subject of extensive legal action and two public inquiries. The committee's recommendations offer a pragmatic way forward that will help ensure this valuable fishery is managed efficiently and sustainably."

Mr Benson-Pope said the steps being taken to address the issues in the scampi fishery reflected its unique history and did not set any precedents for dealing with issues in other fisheries.

The report of a State Services Commission inquiry into allegations made regarding the management and administration of the scampi fishery is still pending.

Government Response to

Report of Primary Production Committee

on its Inquiry into the Administration and Management of the Scampi Fishery Presented to the House of Representatives In accordance with Standing Order 251

1 Government response to Report of Primary Production Committee Inquiry into the Administration and Management of the Scampi Fishery Introduction

The Government has carefully considered the Committee’s report on its Inquiry into the administration and management of the scampi fishery. The Government welcomes the Committee’s report which follows a rigorous and thorough Inquiry into the administration and management of the scampi fishery going back over the last ten to fifteen years. The report is a useful report for the Government to move the scampi fishery forward and away from the antagonism that has existed in this particular fishery for many years.

The Government responds to the report in accordance with Standing Order 251. The Government accepts the intent of all the Committee’s recommendations. The Government intends to give effect to the Committee’s key recommendation, namely the introduction of scampi into the QMS by October 2004 using catch history as the basis of quota allocation, by way of legislation.

Accordingly many of the Committee’s recommendations will be implemented directly through legislation rather than using the standard allocative processes and rules in the Fisheries Act 1996.

Recommendation 7 has yet to be implemented in full as negotiations with the six named fishers have yet to be completed.

Recommendations and Government Responses

Recommendation 1

The Chief Executive of the Ministry of Fisheries when making his assessment of eligible catch for SCI2 under section 35 of the Fisheries Act 1996 include 6,700 kilograms of scampi incorrectly reported as spidercrab.

Response

The Government agrees that when the Ministry determines the provisional catch history for Barine Developments Limited, 6,700 kgs of scampi in area 2, previously reported as spidercrab on CLR 23506, will be included.

Recommendation 2

The Chief Executive of the Ministry of Fisheries, when making his assessment of eligible catch for scampi: 2 • in SCI2 under section 35 of the Fisheries Act 1996 remove 1,735 kilograms of scampi from SCI 2 • in SCI4 under section 35 of the Fisheries Act 1996 include 1,735 kilograms of scampi in SCI4.

Response

The Government agrees that when the Ministry determines the provisional catch history for Barine Developments Limited, landings will be increased by 1,735 kgs in SCI4 and be decreased by 1,735 kgs in SCI2 based upon information contained in CLRs 23516 and 23517.

Recommendation 3

The Chief Executive of the Ministry of Fisheries exclude the catch taken by the Albatross II prior to 1 October 1990 (1,401 kilograms) when making his assessment of eligible catch for scampi in SCI2.

Response

The Government agrees that when the Ministry determines the provisional catch history for Simunovich Fisheries Limited, the landing of SCI2 recorded on CLR 90000249 will be reduced by 1,401 kg to reflect fish taken by the FV Albatross II prior to 1 October 1990. Recommendation 4

Validation of the scampi catch records back to source documents is undertaken and completed by March 2004 in time for the statutory objection process provided for in the Fisheries Act 1996.

Response

The Government agrees with the intent of the Committee’s recommendation. The Chief Executive of the Ministry of Fisheries will institute a programme to check each scampi fisher’s catch records back to source documents where these exist. This will be completed by March 2004 prior to the Government’s introduction of legislation for scampi to come into the QMS from 1 October 2004.

As the Government will seek to introduce scampi into the QMS and make initial provisional catch history allocations by legislation there will be no preliminary objection process. If the usual timetable was followed it would not be possible to introduce scampi stocks into the QMS by 1 October 2004. Scampi fishers will continue to have the capacity to appeal to an independent semi-judicial authority (the Catch History Review Committee) about their catch records. The Government is satisfied that this approach is completely consistent with the Select Committee’s recommendation. 3

Recommendation 5

Scampi be introduced into the QMS as of 1 October 2004 using catch history as the basis of quota allocation.

Response

The Government agrees with this recommendation and will progress the passage of appropriate legislation in this calendar year to allow this to occur.

Recommendation 6

The following fishers have been identified as having a justified grievance with the treatment they received from the ministry:

• Mr Trevor Goodship/Pranfield Holdings

• Mr Wayne Howell and HG Cave

• United Fisheries

• Vautier Shelf Company No 14 Ltd

• Mr Milton J Roderique

• Mr Noel McLellan

• Sealord Group.

Response

The Government has noted this recommendation.

Recommendation 7

By majority the following ex-gratia payments be made as recognition of the particular and individual consequences suffered as a result of the actions of the Ministry. The Ministry should negotiate with the submitters listed below to agree on a payment that will put an end to the disputes between them. The amounts set out below should be regarded as a minimum so as to take account the impact of the Ministry’s failings on the individual submitter:

• Mr Trevor Goodship/Pranfield Holdings $900,000

• Mr Wayne Howell and HG Cave $400,000

• United Fisheries $400,000

• Vautier Shelf Company No 14 Ltd $400,000

• Mr Milton J Roderique $400,000

• Mr Noel McLellan $400,000

National and ACT strongly recommend the ministry move to resolve all dispute between themselves and each of these individual fishers, but feel it unwise to predetermine the minimum quantum of ex gratia payments prior to negotiations commencing.

Response

The Government accepts the majority view on this recommendation to resolve disputes with the listed submitters and notes the recommended minimum amounts for ex gratia payments. The Government does not yet know the amount of any payment that will be made as this cannot be known until negotiations are completed. The Government also advises that officials have been authorised to commence negotiations, but the negotiations themselves have yet to be completed.

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