by Fred Hemi
The Quota Management System (QMS) for sea fisheries management is a failure and needs dumping says national advocate Legasea.
In 1986 the Government introduced the QMS as a way to halt the dangerous depletion of fish stocks.
Unfortunately the experiment just hasn’t worked.
Thirty years later we have not achieved the goals of resource sustainability and economic efficiency promised by the introduction of the QMS.
Now, there is widespread concern about declining fish stocks and biodiversity loss in our marine environment.
And, fish quotas are being accumulated to protect market share. This means a few large businesses are hauling in the profits from using our fish stocks at the expense of our environment and regional businesses.
For a Government that promotes a reputation of fairness and well-being, the current system makes no sense at all.
Legasea says a solution is in a “Rescue Fish” policy – a realistic solution to our fisheries crisis.
“It’s critical we do what we can to restore abundance, conserve New Zealand’s marine environment and honour Te Tiriti o Waitangi, the Treaty of Waitangi. Changes need to be guided by strong principles and made on the basis that all fisheries must be biologically, economically and socially sustainable,” says Legsea..
Rescue Fish Principles
1 All Fisheries laws will comply with Te Tiriti o Waitangi.
2 The living marine resources of Aotearoa New Zealand remain the property of the people and cannot become the private property of private companies or individuals or sold abroad.
3 All fisheries must be biologically, economically, and socially sustainable.
4 To the greatest extent possible, commercial fishing rights will be granted in line with the principles of a market based system. The legislation will prevent private sales of licences or fishing rights.
5 Catches will be landed in New Zealand and to the extent possible be processed here for added value.
6 Only New Zealand owned and registered companies, or private New Zealand citizens, paying taxes in New Zealand and complying with all relevant employment and maritime law will be able to participate in New Zealand’s commercial fisheries.
7 Within the inshore zone (12 nautical miles or 200 metre depth, whichever is more distant from shore) commercial fishing vessels may only be operated by the owner of the fishing permit.
How Will it Work?
1 The Crown will buy back all existing commercial quota shares in the inshore fishery at fair value. Estimated buy back cost for the inshore fishery is between $0.76 and $3.1 billion, with a mid point of $1.67 billion.
2 A new Fisheries Act will include explicit criteria to guide catch allocation decisions and encourage innovation. Priority will be given to Māori customary and public fishing.
3 Effort limits and gear controls will apply to commercial fishing. Bottom trawling and dredging will be banned from inshore waters.
4 Fixed term commercial permits will be leased, time limited and have a resource rental attached. Rental payments to the Crown will apply to landed catch. Iwi will receive an agreed percentage of the rental revenue.
5 Independent, electronic monitoring and cameras on all commercial vessels will help officials monitor and validate catches, and help protect vulnerable species such as seabirds and mammals.
6 Decentralise commercial fishing effort to encourage local participation and promote regional economies. This will help to discourage inefficient investment and effort.
Giving effect to Rescue Fish will have positive benefits for our people and the marine environment. And, it will make New Zealand’s waters more productive for the benefit of future generations. Rescue Fish is designed to benefit our economy, mana whenua and commercial fishing while securing access to an abundant, natural food source.
1 The economy
Rescue Fish will create jobs and bring economic prosperity back to regional New Zealand.
2 Mana whenua
Rescue Fish will honour Treaty obligations and provide business opportunities and food security for mana whenua.
3 The environment
Rescue Fish means more fish in the water and a healthy marine environment.
4 Commercial fishing
Rescue Fish means jobs in a high value, thriving small scale fishery.
5 Food security
Rescue Fish means securing kai moana for our people.