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Getting more value from our Shared Fisheries

25th October 2006

Getting more value from our Shared Fisheries

Every year about a million people (a quarter of New Zealand’s population) go fishing for fun and for a feed in New Zealand. At the same time fishing is big business in New Zealand. In 2005, New Zealand companies caught and sold around $1.2 billion worth of fish.

Maori are involved in both amateur and commercial fishing, and in gathering kai moana for customary purposes.

Often these various activities are taking place in the same fisheries and are harvesting the same species, which puts pressure on the sustainability of those resources and creates conflict among users competing for scarce resources. This is particularly so for iconic species such as snapper, blue cod, kahawai, paua and rock lobster.

Fisheries Minister Jim Anderton today launched a discussion document that puts forward a series of proposals to improve the management of these shared fisheries. The document was launched with representatives from the New Zealand Recreational Fishing Council, Te Ohu Kai Moana, Option4 and the Seafood Industry Council.

“The way we manage these fisheries is important to our economy, our national identity, and to both Maori and päkehä cultural values. The document sets out some exciting new approaches to these issues, which I think offer hope of resolving some of the conflicting interests in these important fisheries. The challenge before us is to manage shared fisheries in a way that ensures all New Zealanders get as much value as possible from them, not only today but into the future,” Jim Anderton said.

"There are proposals for increased effort to be put into surveys and better information gathering from amateur fishers, new criteria for setting total allowable catch limits that will enable non-commercial values to be better recognised, and new approaches to setting and adjusting catch allocations between sectors.

“We need more and better information to help with allocating our shared fisheries, particularly on the catch by the amateur sector. More information means all sector interests can be better represented,” Jim Anderton said.

New options for managing local fisheries, including by separating recreational and customary fishers from commercial activity, are proposed. Increased representation of the amateur fishing sector in planning and decision-making processes, through the establishment of a new amateur fishing trust, are also included in the document.

“I want to encourage a good level of engagement by all interests in the consultation process. The Ministry of Fisheries will be holding both public meetings and individual discussions with sector organisations and iwi groups. Public meetings will be held in Whangarei, Auckland, Tauranga, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin during late November early December.

Consultation on the proposals will continue until 28 February 2007.

Copies of the discussion document is available at www.beehive.govt.nz/anderton as an attachment to the press release "Getting more value from our Shared Fisheries".

It can be downloaded from the Ministry of Fisheries website www.fish.govt.nz on 26th October or by phoning 0800 666 675.

ENDS


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