National Party response to legaSea principles
National Party response to legaSea principles
Published on: Mar 3, 2016
Transcripts - National Party response to legaSea principles
1: Let’s rebuild the fishery
Many NZ inshore fish stocks have been fished below the internationally recognised
LegaSea says: Let’s adopt a target 40% of the unfished stock size as a minimum. The
New Zealand Harvest Strategy Standard expects fisheries to be rebuilt within twice the
time taken to rebuild the fishery in the absence of all fishing.
National is firmly committed to the principle of sustainability, and believes we must limit
our use of resources to a rate that will serve us not just in the short term, but for future
generations. We want to carefully manage our fisheries sustainably for all sectors –
recreational, commercial and customary.
The Fisheries Act requires that all stocks that are part of the Quota Management
System (QMS) are managed at or above the biomass that supports the maximum
sustainable yield. This will vary between species and areas depending on productivity
and other important factors.
This is why we need to retain some flexibility in different areas and for different species,
because imposing too tough a target too soon could mean slashing recreational and
commercial limits in many areas.
This is also why there are regular reviews of all fishing stocks.
Overall we’re proud of the Quota Management System (QMS) which is considered one
of the best in the world. In 2009 New Zealand was ranked as having the most
sustainably managed fishery in the world by the international publications “Science” and
As part of rebuilding fisheries, by the end of this year we will establish a record number
and area of marine reserves. We will have created 11 marine reserves since 2011 (the
last three are still in the process of being established but this will be completed
sometime this year). These include:
Subantarctics (3 reserves)
West Coast (5 reserves)
2: Stop senseless waste
Fish that are currently being wasted are the first target of any rebuilding strategy.
Trawling inshore waters wastes enormous numbers of fish every year. We have been
refused access to a report that exposes this level of waste, despite several Official
Information Act requests.
Recreational fishers need to also develop ways to reduce waste.
We are cracking down on illegal practices with increased monitoring, new rules for the
commercial sector, and investing in science and research.
We monitor commercial fishing across the country, and last year we announced a major
package of reform for the Snapper 1 area (Northland East, Hauraki Gulf and Bay of
Plenty). This includes:
Camera or observer coverage on all trawl vessels by 1 October 2015
Mandatory Vessel Monitoring Systems (VMS) on all commercial vessels by 1
Commercial fishers are now required to report all catch under the commercial legal
Trialling the use of cameras to record and measure fish returned to the sea
Introducing a “move on rule”, where commercial fishers will move from fishing spots
where a significant portion of catch is small juvenile fish.
Implement a scientific tagging survey by 1 October 2014 to provide up to date and
reliable information on the Snapper 1 stock. This will come with a cost of $7 million
and will be split 50/50 between the government and the commercial sector.
Introducing a maximum size limit for commercial long line fishers.
Established a Management Strategy Group to develop long term plans for this
fishery, with Sir Ian Barker as Chair.
Passed the Fisheries (Foreign Charter Vessels and Other Matters) Amendment Bill.
This means foreign vessels must be reflagged and operate under New Zealand’s
laws by 2016. Observers are already in place on all foreign vessels.
We also have the Precision Seafood Harvesting Programme, which is a $52 million
project with funding coming from both industry and government. This is developing new
technology that will allow fish to be landed on fishing boats alive, and in perfect
condition, while safely releasing small fish and other species. The potential economic
and environmental benefits of this are huge.
3: Our fisheries are publicly owned
All the fish and mineral resources in New Zealand’s EEZ belong to New Zealand.
The resource royalties generated from exploiting the public’s fishery resources are
being collected by private quota owners – these quota owners are acting as if they own
Government needs to impose a resource royalty and redirect these rents to the owners;
We don’t support a resource levy on commercial fishers for the same reason we don’t
support licenses for recreational fishers – because it would add an extra layer of tax and
complexity to the system.
Resource rentals have been explored by previous Governments, but in 1994, a decision
was made to instead impose a system of levies and charges to recover the
Government’s cost of administering the Quota Management System.
This was because cost recovery levies and charges were technically more feasible to
administer, compared to estimating profits earned on each individual species of fish.
The 1992 Deed of Settlement with Maori in relation to their fisheries claims also created
legal complications for imposing resource rentals.
The Government obtains a financial return through the tendering of new quota for new
species introduced into the quota management system.
The seafood industry has paid over $300 million in levies to the Crown over the last 10
Clearly, commercial fishers do not have ‘free’ access to fish. Any extra tax or levy would
cost jobs, exports and raise the price of fish for consumers.
It’s worth noting that the commercial seafood industry generates $1.5 billion in exports,
pays tax and employs over 10,000 people.
4: Equal size limits for all
In some fisheries commercial fishermen have smaller minimum size limits than
Size differentials are reducing public catch in an increasing number of fisheries,
including snapper, crayfish, scallops and kingfish.
This size creep continues for no biological purpose. It is a blatant way of transferring
public catch to private interests, creating an unfair advantage.
The reason why commercial fishers have different size limits for some species in a
small number of areas is that it encourages them to use more of what they catch,
instead of dumping it.
For this reason, some recreational fishers have argued there should be no minimum
size limit for commercial fishers.
However I believe we have the balance right in most fisheries, but this is something we
monitor very closely.
5: Value recreational fishing
A US study found that a recreational caught fish is worth 68 times more to the national
economy than a commercially caught one.
We must establish a value for recreational fishing in New Zealand so that Ministerial
decisions can be balanced according to the social, economic and cultural wellbeing of
our people and country.
Estimating the value for recreational fishing is difficult as it’s impossible to put a dollar
value on the enjoyment and pleasure gained by New Zealanders.
We do know that the value of recreational fishing in New Zealand for the top five
recreational species (snapper, rock lobster, kingfish, kawhai and blue cod) is $342
Of course there are 638 fish stocks throughout New Zealand, and it would be almost
impossible to calculate the total value of these or the jobs created by the recreational
Various studies have attempted to quantify this using a wide variety of methods for
estimating fishing values, but there is little that can be applied to the New Zealand
A Snapper 1 Strategy Group has been set up to develop long term plans for this fishery,
involving both recreational and commercial representatives. This group may be
interested in looking further at this issue.
Phil Rennie | Press Secretary
Office of Hon Nathan Guy
Minister for Primary Industries | Minister for Racing | MP for Otaki
Parliament Buildings | Private Bag 18041 | Wellington 6160
Tel: (04) 817 9154 | Fax: (04) 817 6521 | Mob: 021 405 443