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Tangata whenua involvement in fisheries management

30 July 2008

Media statement from the Ministry of Fisheries for immediate release

Improving tangata whenua involvement in fisheries management

The Ministry of Fisheries has released a discussion paper on improving the processes for working with tangata whenua on fisheries management.

Under the Fisheries Act, before making sustainability decisions such as changes to catch limits and amendments to regulations, the Minister of Fisheries is required to provide for the input and participation of tangata whenua and to have regard for Kaitiakitanga (guardianship). The Act also allows the Minister to approve measures to better recognise the rangatiratanga of iwi and hapu over their non-commercial customary fisheries.

In collaboration with iwi, MFish has been developing ways for tangata whenua to have better participation in sustainability decisions, and to manage customary catch and traditional fishing grounds.

“The Treaty Strategy aims to deliver on the Crown’s obligation to involve tangata whenua in fisheries management and to help build a strong working relationship with our Treaty partner,” said Ministry of Fisheries Policy Manager Mark Edwards.

In 2002 MFish spoke to tangata whenua around the country about the best processes for working with them on fisheries issues. These discussions resulted in regional iwi forums being established in 2004. At these forums tangata whenua can discuss fisheries management with MFish and their views can be heard and taken into account.

In addition new staff were hired to liaise directly with tangata whenua and assist them to become more involved in fisheries management processes. There are now 15 Pou Hononga (relationship managers) and 13 Pou Takawaenga (tangata whenua support staff) working around the country.

“Some time has passed since regional forums began to be established in 2004, so it is appropriate to look at how this engagement is going and whether any changes need to be made,” said Mr Edwards.

“There have also been developments in fisheries laws and policies that might affect the best way to work together.”

“We are asking tangata whenua what a good input and participation process looks like.”

“MFish has made some proposals for discussion but has an open mind coming into this process and will now talk to iwi and hapu around the country about how we can better engage with them,” Mr Edwards said.

A number of hui are currently being scheduled around the country between August and October to discuss the proposals and hear the views of tangata whenua.

The discussion paper is available on the MFish website at www.fish.govt.nz or by emailing mfish.policy@fish.govt.nz

Written submissions are also welcome and can be accepted up until 31 October 2008. They can be emailed to mfish.policy@fish.govt.nz or sent to:

Treaty Strategy Project Policy team Ministry of Fisheries PO Box 1020 Wellington

Background note The Ministry of Fisheries (MFish) is separate from the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MAF) after a government restructure in 1995.

Fishery officer is the correct reference—MAF officers have a different role unrelated to fisheries law enforcement.

ENDS


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