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NZ public loses faith in the fisheries management

17 November 2016

New Zealand public loses faith in the fisheries management regime

New Zealanders are growing more concerned about the way our fisheries are being managed.

Far from having a “world leading” fisheries management system, nearly 70% of those surveyed in a new nationwide study believe an independent inquiry into the Quota Management System (QMS) is warranted. Only 5% felt it was not.

Just over 2000 respondents from around the country answered a series of questions about the current marine fisheries management situation and the responses are damning.

Respondents were asked to rate five areas of marine fisheries management performance in New Zealand:

• Limiting overall catch and rebuilding fish stocks in their own area

• Limiting industrial scale fishing in inshore areas

• Fairly allocating catch entitlements between commercial, recreational and customary fishers

• Reducing the bycatch of protected species like seabirds and marine mammals

• Reducing the dumping of excess or unwanted catch.

Across all five management areas, unsatisfactory performance ratings (“Poor” or “Very poor”) were significantly higher than satisfactory performance ratings (Good and Excellent).

LegaSea spokesman Scott Macindoe says the results speak for themselves.

“New Zealanders are very concerned by the revelations around fish dumping and the lack of response from the Ministry for Primary Industries. It’s not just those who go fishing – being an island nation all New Zealanders have a bond with the sea and the marine environment. We all want to see it managed more responsibly. Abundance is the key. Wasteful, destructive low value bulk harvesting fishing practices are well past their use by date.”

The survey participants come from all walks of life and Macindoe says the level of interest in sorting out New Zealand’s fishing problems goes far beyond those who actively fish our waters.

“New Zealanders really care about this issue whether they go fishing or not. The Prime Minister said it best - more people care about the fate of snapper in our waters than care about the GCSB spying on Kiwis.”

The survey, conducted by Horizon Research, found that even those participants who identified themselves as National Party supporters are in favour of an independent inquiry into the way our fisheries are managed (61% support, 11% oppose, 28% don’t know).

“It’s time the politicians realised this will be a problem issue for them during the election campaign unless something is done sooner rather than later to sort out our fisheries management,” says Macindoe.


About LegaSea

LegaSea is a public outreach initiative of the New Zealand Sport Fishing Council. The Council has an experienced fisheries management, science, policy and legal team. On behalf of the Council LegaSea raises funds and provides public-friendly information about a variety of processes that are important to the sustainable management of fisheries for future generations.

LegaSea works closely with a host of Partners and Sponsors, nearly a thousand LegaSea Legends making monthly or annual contributions and a 50,000+ database of supporters who value the regular and relevant Updates circulated. Alongside the 32,000 members of 58 fishing clubs directly affiliated to the New Zealand Sport Fishing Council this rapidly growing alignment is resourcing valuable advocacy, research and educational initiatives.


About Horizon Research polling:

Horizon Research Limited is based in Auckland, New Zealand, and has more than 80 clients including multi-national and national companies, government agencies, iwi and national business and community organisations.

Horizon undertakes quantitative and qualitative research. It specialises in conducting research online.


Key comments from the survey:

“We are not doing enough. Before we know it, the fish stocks will be gone and there will be no one to blame but ourselves.”

“We are now using a lowered baseline (the number of fish that were there prior to commercial fisheries) so that the destruction of fish stocks do not appear to be as bad as they actually are. Fisheries management plays with statistics to obscure the severity of the problem. This matter is urgent - as urgent as the need to accurately and openly monitor the cost of environmental degradation caused by intensive (land) farming.”

“Ministry of Primary Industries cannot manage the fisheries quota system while they also are responsible for promoting trade. Trade functions need to be taken from Ministry of Primary Industries and given to The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade so that Ministry of Primary Industries can manage primary production, biosecurity and food safety without a conflict of interest with trade promotion.”

“MPI management has been a joke. We need to relook the quota system and find a better management system.”


© Scoop Media

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