Fish Hooks Hidden in Ministry’s Fisheries Bill

Sam Woolford is team lead for LegaSea, a non-profit organisation “dedicated to restoring the abundance, biodiversity and health of New Zealand’s marine environment”.

OPINION: In 1989 Fisheries Minister Colin Moyle, the father of the current fisheries’ management framework, made what is now known as Moyle’s Promise.
“Government’s position is clear, where a species of fish is not sufficiently abundant to support both commercial and non-commercial fishing, preference will be given to non-commercial fishing. This position reflects the Government’s resolve to ensure all New Zealanders can enjoy and benefit from our fisheries.”
Since 1996, legislation has enabled the fisheries minister to use this approach to prevent overfishing and safeguard the ability for all Kiwis to catch their own kai.
Next week, the Government is expected to release the latest version of a proposed law change that is currently set to abandon Moyle’s promise and affect more than 600,000 fishers.
On the face of it, the Fisheries Amendment Bill is supposed to enable the roll-out of cameras on fishing boats.
But maybe a hidden camera needs to be focused on Fisheries New Zealand, which has developed a proposed law change that is full of hidden fish hooks.
Included in this fishy bill are sneaky clauses that have nothing to do with fitting cameras and everything to do with weakening fish sustainability protections and sinking the rights of recreational fishers and Māori customary fishers.
The proposed law change does this by introducing preset decision rules to remove Fisheries New Zealand’s own minister as the final decision-maker and guardian of non-commercial fishing.

Removing one C from the law has far-reaching effects on hundreds of thousands of people.
Non-commercial (Māori customary and recreational) interests would be reduced to a fixed share that would increase or decrease at the same time and rate as the commercial share. This is proportional allocation.
Currently, the fisheries minister has a statutory duty to manage fish stocks to a level that provides for future generations’ needs. The minister is also obliged to consider all the available information, mitigate any environmental impacts and set aside sufficient fish to allow for mortality associated with fishing, including Māori customary and public interests, before allocating the balance as the Total Allowable Commercial Catch (TACC).
Fisheries Minister David Parker is currently still able “to make a series of conservative decisions to save marine life”, Sam Woolford writes.
A number of court rulings have confirmed this. A standout was the 2009 Supreme Court decision that reiterated the minister as the guardian of Moyle’s Promise, using his decision-making powers. It came after a years-long battle by recreational fishers fighting to save the once-abundant kahawai, fished down as low as just 20 per cent of its historic population – caused by the use of spotter planes and purse seining designed to catch tonnes at a time.
It is this three-legged stool of the public submissions process, the separation of commercial allocations and non-commercial allowances, and ministerial discretion that are still enabling the current Fisheries Minister, David Parker, to make a series of conservative decisions to save marine life.
For example, it took 40 years for North Island West Coast snapper populations to grow back from being fished down to just 7 per cent of historic population levels. Nearly 10,000 people used the current submissions process to support the minister to exercise his powers to keep a tight rein on catch limits to ensure the recovery lasts.
Sam Woolford says the more controversial clauses in the Fisheries Amendment Bill should be separated from the “comprehensively consulted changes that enable cameras on boats”, to allow for adequate consultation.
Just last year, after thousands of submissions highlighting the plight of scallops that have been almost wiped out of New Zealand’s waters, the minister stepped in to shut down and save them. In the case of the Fisheries Amendment Bill, most of the thousands of people against it believe fish are commonly owned, environmentally fragile assets, just like water, and the minister’s priority must be to act in the public interest.
They are urging the minister to split the proposed bill, to focus on proceeding with the well-overdue and comprehensively consulted changes that enable cameras on boats.
The bill’s more controversial clauses should be dealt with later so that adequate consultation can occur, both to ensure that their true impacts are widely understood, and to ensure the sustainability of fish populations is not jeopardised.





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5 Responses to Fish Hooks Hidden in Ministry’s Fisheries Bill

  1. Jack Tuhawaiki says:

    The Fisheries Act clearly says management has to equally respect cultural, commercial and social. In other words recreational, Maori and commercial. Ministry of Fisheries has shown it’s not respecting that especially because of it’s bias towards corporate commercial. Fisheries Minister Parker should sort the Ministry bureaucrats out.
    Colin Moyle was a top fisheries minister who understood the Act.

  2. Dr. Charlie Baycroft says:

    Throughout recorded history the political and business elites have always cooperated to increase their wealth and power at the expense of the common people.

    One way in which they cooperate is giving global corporations more and more access to own and exploit natural resources.

    Prior to National’s Foreshore and seabed legislation, the marine resources were our communal property that could not be owned by any person or enterprise.
    Key and his supporters changed that so title to these valuable resources could be granted to iwi who can then exploit, lease or on sell them to foreign corporations.

    The fish in our waters have been our communal property but this new legislation will take that ownership from us and enable global corporations to exploit and destroy this valuable resource.

    This racist He Puapua (or whatever poo it is?) conspiracy is also a way to take communally owned lands and natural resources from the people and grant title to Maori corporations so that these resources can be commercially exploited as well.

    3 Waters is the privatization and commercial exploitation of our fresh water.

    This foolish notion of “co-governance” is the death of our democracy.

    UN agenda 2030 and the WEF Great Reset are really all about increasing the authority, power and wealth of the global political and financial elites at the expense of the common people.

    The real incomes (purchasing power) of wage and salary workers have steadily decreased for almost 50 years while the wealth of the elite minority has ballooned.

    The state owned enterprises that previous generations paid for have been sold off and are now mostly owned by foreign corporations.

    More and more of our property, farmland and forestry have been sold to foreigners.
    Many foreign owned homes sit empty while New Zealand families are homeless.

    Most individuals, families and our entire nation are burdened by debt that cannot be repaid.

    If this continues, the people of NZ will have nothing left.

    This terrible decline in our social and economic wellbeing and the mountain of debt we are burdened with is a consequence of repeatedly voting Red, Green or Blue and expecting anything to change for the better when they always turn out worse.

    These 3 parties are controlled by a very small number of influential elites. Cabals of unseen people that meet in secret and decide who we can vote for and what their politicians will do if elected.
    These ARROGANT politicians have forgotten that THEY ARE OUR EMPLOYEES AND NOT OUR BOSSES.

    We need to take away the power of these cabals while we still can by withholding our votes in the next election.

    Red, green and blue
    You don’t know what to do
    We’ve had enough of you
    We will hire someone new.

    Join the peaceful and democratic revolution before democracy is replaced by tyranny.
    Stop this destructive addiction to voting red, green or blue and choose anyone else.

  3. C. B. says:

    This is an aspect I keep trying to explain – but it seems without success, the real agenda is the privatisation of all our communally owned lands and resources so that global corporations can exploit them for the benefit of the global political and financial elites.
    The marine resources used to belong to the people of New Zealand. John Key’s Foreshore and Seabed legislation took away this ownership so it could be transferred to iwi and then on to others.
    The same is happening with the fish that legally belong to all of us. Now we will just be allocated a diminishing share.
    UN Agenda 2030 and The WEF Great Reset are about changing our social, economic and political systems from democratic ones to Techno-Feudalism.
    Follow the money and power and see that they have been and will continue to be transferred from the “masses” to an elite minority.

  4. Frank Henry says:

    Throughout recorded history the political and business elites have always cooperated to increase their wealth and power at the expense of the common people. One way in which they cooperate is giving global corporations more and more access to own and exploit natural resources.
    Prior to National’s Foreshore and seabed legislation, the marine resources were our communal property that could not be owned by any person or enterprise.
    John Key and his supporters changed that so title to these valuable resources could be granted to iwi who can then exploit, lease or on sell them to foreign corporations.
    The fish in our waters have been our communal property but this new legislation will take that ownership from us and enable global corporations to exploit and destroy this valuable resource.

  5. J. McIntosh says:

    The fishing industry under MPI has failed miserably. The corporate companies wield power and influence via political donations, the QMS is not fit for the purpose of fisheries management, the corporate companies dominate the QMS with ‘ownership’ of quota about 80%. Middle men ratchet up prices so the NZ consumer shopper pays exorbitant prices (blue cod $63 a kg, groper $66 a kg in supermarkets).
    Surely it is time for a politically independent review!
    And a thorough review of the incompetent Ministry of Fisheries.
    Recreational fishing public are low in Ministry’s priorities with inequality between stakeholders.

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