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Puna-wai-Toriki Mätaitai Reserve established

6 March, 2008

Puna-wai-Toriki Mätaitai Reserve established

Fisheries Minister Jim Anderton today announced the establishment of the Puna-wai-Toriki mätaitai reserve at Hays Gap, south of Kaka Point on the South Otago Coast.

The mätaitai reserve encompasses all coastal waters between Tirohanga and O-Waea (Campbell Point), south of Kaka Point and covers approximately 2.34 km2.

Mataitai Reserves are established under the South Island Customary Fishing Regulations and recognise traditional Mäori fishing grounds that are important for customary food gathering. They also allow local Tangata Whenua to advise the Minister of Fisheries directly on how best to manage fishing in the local area.

Jim Anderton said this mätaitai reserve would allow the Awarua Rünanga to more effectively manage customary fishing in these important traditional fishing grounds.

“The reserve recognises the strong and enduring connection the Runanga has with this area”.

Commercial fishing will be banned within the mätaitai reserve but recreational and customary fishing will still be allowed. Recreational fishing will not require a permit from local Mäori. Jim Anderton said the mätaitai reserve would have no effect on the local community’s ability to go fishing or gather shellfish under the existing recreational allowances.

In the future, the Tangata Tiaki/Kaitiaki (guardians) for the mätaitai reserve may recommend bylaws to the Minister of Fisheries that could impose some restrictions within the boundaries of the mätaitai reserve. Any such restrictions would apply equally to everyone fishing within the mätaitai reserve.

Customary seafood gathering for Mäori cultural purposes would be governed by authorisations issued by appointed guardians (rather than recreational regulations), as is currently the case for customary fishing around most of the South Island.

“As Minister, I am ultimately responsible for all New Zealand’s fisheries, and I must carefully consider any fishing restriction recommended by the guardians and approve them before they come into effect,” Jim Anderton said.

“I carefully considered the effect the mätaitai reserve would have on commercial fishers,” he said. “I recognise that the mätaitai reserve will affect some commercial fishers but, overall, I do not believe those effects will prevent them from taking their catch entitlements”.

The mätaitai reserve will come into effect on 3 April 2008.

This mätaitai reserve followed an entirely separate consultation and decision process to the previous proposal for a marine reserve at Nugget Point.

The proposal for this mätaitai reserve was extensively consulted on with the local community including two separate calls for written submissions, a public meeting and direct discussions with affected fishers and local Mäori.

BACKGROUND

Quick facts
• Mäori rights to manage customary seafood gathering (for cultural purposes such as hui and tangi) and traditionally important fishing grounds were recognised under the Treaty of Waitangi Fisheries Settlement agreed in 1992.
• There are currently 5 mätaitai reserves in the South Island (including this one).
• Mätaitai reserves are not marine reserves.
• Commercial fishing is banned in mätaitai reserves but recreational fishing is allowed.
• Customary fishing is governed and managed by Tangata Tiaki/Kaitiaki or guardians; nominated by local Mäori and appointed by the Associate Minister of Fisheries.
• There are currently 110 Tangata Tiaki/Kaitiaki in the South Island.
• All customary catch must have an authorisation from a Tangata Tiaki/Kaitiaki.

What are mätaitai reserves?

Under the South Island Customary Fishing Regulations Mäori may apply to the Minister of Fisheries to establish a mätaitai reserve over any part of their traditional area for the purpose of recognising and providing for customary management practices and food gathering.

A mätaitai reserve has the following effect:
• Excludes commercial fishing (including the landing and unloading of commercially caught fish, the use of holding pots to store commercial rock lobsters and the baiting of lines), unless specifically allowed by regulations;
• Does not prohibit boats carrying fish and fishing gear onboard from passing through or sheltering in a mätaitai reserve;
• Does not exclude recreational fishing;
• Does not require recreational fishers to obtain permits or prevent non-Mäori from fishing;
• Does not prevent access to beaches or rivers not on private land;
• Allows for bylaws governing fishing in the reserve to be made by the Minister of Fisheries.
• Any bylaws approved apply to all, with only one exception (the taking of seafood to meet the needs of a marae)

Are mätaitai reserves just for Mäori?

Controls on recreational fishing within mätaitai reserves must apply equally to all people, with only one exception: if a reserve is closed to recreational fishing, the guardians may approve the taking of seafood to meet the needs of the marae belonging to the tangata whenua of the reserve.

No commercial fishing is allowed within a mätaitai reserve, this includes Mäori owned commercial fishing companies. Limited commercial fishing can be reinstated if the guardians request it and the government passes regulations to allow it.

Managing Customary catch

Every fish stock has a Total Allowable Catch (TAC) set which ensures that fish stock is fished sustainably. Within that TAC specific and separate allowances are made for commercial catch, recreational catch and customary catch. These allowances and the TAC are regularly reviewed.

Tangata Tiaki/Kaitiaki guardians can issue anyone a permit to catch fish in their traditional area (rohe moana) for customary use. They must report these catches to the Ministry of Fisheries so the government can allow for customary use when it sets next year's catch allowances.

ENDS

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