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Minister signals new approach to key species

8 July 2005

Media Statement

Minister signals new approach to key shared species

Fisheries Minister David Benson-Pope has signalled government consideration of a new approach to recognising the importance of key fish species to recreational fishers.

Speaking at the New Zealand Recreational Fishing Council Conference in Wellington, Mr Benson-Pope said that, as he agreed to do a year ago, he is reviewing allowable catches for Kahawai under the Quota Management System.

He said an Initial Position Paper (IPP) for Kahawai contains two alternate options for consideration – the status quo, or a rebuild strategy.

"These choices are underpinned by two quite different approaches to the management of shared fisheries," he told the conference. "The conservative no change option could be described as maintaining the status quo.

"The other option is underpinned by a new policy idea – that species important to recreational fishers should be managed above, or even significantly above, what fisheries documents refer to as BMSY – the size of a fish stock that delivers the maximum sustainable yield."

He said this new approach would effectively give greater recognition of recreational fishing values.

"It would acknowledge that one size doesn't fit all. For the recreational sector abundance of stock, a corresponding increased catch rate, or ability to catch larger fish, might be more important than extracting the maximum sustainable yield.

"There is of course a trade off between yield and these other recreational utilisation qualities. If you want to catch fish more frequently, the size of the available stock will need to be increased above that which provides the maximum sustainable yield. And therein lies the challenge and choice for you and me."

Mr Benson-Pope says that under either Kahawai options, no additional recreational management controls are contemplated: "There is no evidence before me, that the recreational sector is catching the allowance assigned to it. This issue will need to be monitored on an on-going basis."

Mr Benson-Pope says the consultation process on either approach had begun and he would be making final decisions by 1 October 2005.

ENDS

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