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Fisheries Act Amendment Bill (No 3) Introduced

Media Statement 23 March 2004

Fisheries Act Amendment Bill (No 3) Introduced

Legislation to reinforce the Government's preference for the Quota Management System to manage fisheries resources and introduce scampi into the Quota Management System on 1 October 2004 has been introduced into Parliament, Fisheries Minister David Benson-Pope said today.

The Fisheries Amendment Bill (No 3) provides for changes to the 1983 and 1996 Fisheries Acts, and will address five issues:
1. · improving the processes for identifying and introducing stocks into the Quota Management System and revising the commercial fishing permit regime;
2. · management of highly migratory species;
3. technical amendments to better achieve the intent of legislation;
4. · provision for changes to spat catching permits; and
5. · introduction of scampi into the Quota Management System by 1 October 2004.

Mr Benson-Pope said the revisions to the 1996 Fisheries Act would reinforce the role of the Quota Management System as New Zealand's primary fisheries management regime. It will also improve certainty for stakeholders regarding the process for introducing species into the Quota Management System.

"Current quota allocation mechanisms have become outdated and will also be amended. The catch history years allocation mechanism and the individual catch entitlement allocation mechanism will be removed from the 1996 Fisheries Act. Catch history will only remain the means of quota allocation for: species and stocks on a transitional schedule to be inserted in the Act; tunas; and highly migratory species caught outside New Zealand Fisheries waters."

The current commercial fishing permit moratorium on non-Quota Management System species, which has been in place since 1992, will be lifted and the commercial fishing permit regime revised. In order to address potential sustainability risks associated with the revised permit regime, stocks and species on the transitional schedule will remain subject to the commercial fishing permit moratorium.

New Zealand's Quota Management System will also be extended to provide for the management of highly migratory species, such as tuna, beyond New Zealand fisheries waters.

Part two of the Fisheries Amendment Bill (No 3) provides for revisions to the 1983 Fisheries Act. The revisions will provide for changes to spat catching permits to ensure smooth transition from the current spat catching permit regime to the Quota Management System when green-lipped mussel becomes subject to the Quota Management System from 1 October 2004.

A key recommendation of the Primary Production Committee report on its inquiry into scampi management was that scampi should be introduced into the Quota Management System on 1 October 2004 using catch history as the basis for quota allocation. Part three of this Bill will be used for this process.

Mr Benson-Pope said the Fisheries Act Amendment Bill (No 3) was an important bill which builds on the successful Quota Management System to ensure that New Zealand's fisheries resources are used sustainably.

The Primary Production Select Committee will be asked to report back on the Bill.

ENDS

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