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Twenty-one New Species into the QMS

1 October 2004

News Release

Twenty-one New Species into the Quota Management System (QMS)

With the introduction of 21 new fish species (the largest number yet) into the QMS today, the Ministry of Fisheries has reached its target of 50 species in three years.

Expansion of QMS became possible in 2001, when the Fisheries Act 1996 was fully implemented. Since then, the Ministry of Fisheries has designed a process aimed at introducing all fisheries requiring management into the QMS as quickly as possible.

Ministry of Fisheries General Manager, Fisheries Management Mike Arbuckle said this will bring the full potential of the QMS to bear in addressing the problems of fisheries management.

"Over the history of the QMS, which began in the mid 1980's, our focus on fisheries management has steadily matured from initially managing only a limited number of single stocks under the QMS to now, where the majority of species landed for sale are managed under that one integrated system. We have now largely removed the bad incentives that lead fishers to race each other to catch the fish first and which result in economic and environmental waste.

"In the new QMS environment the value of quota will increasingly reflect total value of mixed fisheries, and not just the value of individual stocks," he said.

"This means that fishers will face the environmental costs of fishing activities on a wider range of species than in the past. It will provide incentives to minimise catch of more vulnerable stocks by adopting environmentally sensitive technologies. These incentives are weaker where fewer species are managed under the QMS."

The Ministry acknowledges that these introductions may cause some changes in the seafood industry, as current fishing and processing capacity is realigned or reduced in response to these and wider economic pressures.

"At its extreme, it is likely that this will result in some people and vessels leaving the industry. This is an unavoidable consequence of improved management, which is targeted at future generations and will lead to the long term economic and environmental viability of the industry," said Mr Arbuckle.

The introduction of more species into the QMS has also provided an opportunity to lift the moratorium limiting access to new fisheries that was put into effect over ten years ago.

"In the past, due to technological constraints, we were unable to manage many species under the QMS. Registry systems developed by the industry to support the QMS now enable swift introduction of further species if significant sustainability or utilisation problems arise, said Mr Arbuckle."

The 21 new species introduced into the QMS today are:

* Bigeye tuna * Blue shark * Green-lipped mussel * Kahawai * Long-finned freshwater eel (North Island) * Lookdown dory * Mako shark * Moonfish * Pacific bluefin tuna * Parore * Pipi - Whangarei Harbour * Porae * Porbeagle shark * Ray's bream * Red snapper * Scampi * Short-finned freshwater eel (North Island) * Southern bluefin tuna * Spiny dogfish * Swordfish * Yellowfin tuna

ENDS

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