by John McNab
The Quota Management System which government uses to manage the saltwater fishery should be dumped says national fishing advocate Legasea.
Legasea has been working for over three years on an campaign titled Rescue Fish to salvage the ailing sea fishery.
“The government must dismantle the failing Quota Management System and ban destructive fishing techniques such s bottom trawling, dredging and the routine dumping of perfectly good fish,” says Legsea.
After more than three years of development Rescue Fish encapsulates what LegaSea stands for – more fish in the sea and a healthy marine environment.
“Our current fisheries management system is failing us. There is widespread concern about declining fish stocks and the biodiversity loss in our marine landscape”.
The Quota Management System was set up with the quota owners having to pay resource rentals. This only lasted a few years. For the past 30 years the commercial fishing industry has not paid for the use of these publicly-owned resources.
“Incredibly, government gave away most of our fisheries at no charge,” said LegaSea spokesman Scott Macindoe. “Perpetual property rights were created out of thin air, fully transferable and tax-free. Those who did the most damage to our fish stocks were the ones who reaped the greatest rewards.”
The public was getting such a raw deal. The promised rebuilds had simply not happened. One species after another was suffering the ‘sustainable depletion’ that inevitably occurred after decades of chasing the mythical ‘maximum sustainable yield’ that the QMS was driven by.
Scott Macindoe said the QMS had failed both coastal fish populations and those depending on fisheries for their livelihoods.
“To usher in the QMS thousands of artisanal part-time fishermen lost their permits. This had a devastating effect on small, regional communities. Some coastal towns in the Far North and on the East Coast have never recovered.”
Having access to abundant fish stocks was fundamental in providing for both Māori and the public’s interests in fisheries. However, often as not the pathways to abundance were blocked by (corporate) quota owners wielding so much influence over fisheries management and marine protection matters.
Just 10 entities owned 78% of all quota shares today.
“New Zealand is being held to ransom by a handful of organisations clinging to the status quo. They are dominating the management processes at a great cost to all New Zealanders. If we want a future where fisheries are restored to abundance, the QMS has to go,” said Scott Macindoe.
“I support reforms to replace the Quota Management System so we can ban coastal trawling, enjoy a healthier marine environment, boost regional economies and enhance food security.” – Rescue Fish Petition
© What legacy will future generations be left with after current fisheries mismanagement under the QMS?