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New fishery plans move away from ad-hoc decisions

New fishery plans move away from ad-hoc decisions

Decisions on the new fishery plans over the next four years will be based on facts and science

Minister of Fisheries, Jim Anderton opened the New Zealand Big Game Fishing Council conference in Whitianga saying that a constructive era was ahead for both recreational fishers and the fishing industry where everyone can reap benefits from decisions on fisheries management that were fact and science based. He said that while there was a lot of work to do, groups were working with goodwill across commercial, non-commercial and customary lines.

"The attitudes of the past seem prehistoric to us now. Boaties would catch as many as half a dozen huge fish on a good day and leave them to rot on the beach. One of the reasons our attitudes have changed was that we developed modern fishing clubs. The Big Game Fishing Council has helped to spread excitement about the sport, but also awareness about the importance of the fish, their food and their habitats. The need to protect game fish species and their habitats has increasingly brought the council into fisheries management. The Council has made a very positive contribution," Jim Anderton said.

"One of the main issues we will need to work together on over the next four years will be the development of fisheries plans. The Labour-Progressive government has approved $5.3 million to develop fisheries plans and the Ministry will soon start consulting on the generic standards to go in the plans. These will cover the way we do things - for example, minimum time periods for consultation. There will also be 'fisheries performance standards' - like minimum fish stock sizes, or limits on by-catch or benthic impacts. These plans will bring more certainty and more effective rules. There should be less conflict in managing a fishery.

"At the same time that we are developing new fisheries plans, there is more money - another two million dollars - for the Marine Protected Areas Strategy.
This is a move away from ad hoc implementation of marine protection which created uncertainty and anxiety among many coastal communities. The Government's Marine Protected Areas Strategy will look at all our waters, region by region. Science will be used to classify areas and plan the right protection. Community views will have to be taken into account so we can protect marine areas properly.

"A crucial initiative that will support improved fisheries management over the next few years is the work on a policy for Shared Fisheries. The purpose of the project is to make sure the management of shared fisheries allows New Zealand to get the best use from these fisheries. Increased certainty in managing shared fisheries is going to need some give and take from all sides. There is more than one perspective with a legitimate point of view. The Government has a strong commitment to work alongside everyone with a stake in fisheries management.

"I urge people with an interest to participate and I am sure it will be worth the effort. The more knowledge we have about our fishery, the better the decisions we can take. We need to take high quality decisions because the fishing sector is getting more important all the time," Jim Anderton said today in Whitianga.


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