NZ fisheries' workshops very useful - Tukuitonga
New Zealand workshops on improving Pacific fisheries management seen as worthwhile.
A series of workshops in New Zealand this week for Pacific fisheries ministers and officials to look at how to improve the management of their fisheries has been called 'very useful'.
New Zealand had been putting the focus on the merit of its quota management system as a way to improve the Pacific's control of, and the sustainability of their various fisheries.
The director general of the Pacific Community, Dr Colin Tukuitonga, told Don Wiseman the discussions have been worthwhile but there is a need for much more talk before any new management approaches are arrived at.
COLIN TUKUITONGA: My observation is that the ministers and officials appreciate the opportunity that New Zealand has supported to share the New Zealand experience. And there have been a number of discussions on the various ways New Zealand has managed its own fisheries. I am clear that it has been a very useful week. Clearly, some things need to be followed through - just this morning we looked at Fish Serve [An NZ agency that helps companies get up to speed about the quota management system] on how New Zealand managed information regarding fisheries management, and we recognise in the region, that for example, the PNA [Parties to the Nauru Agreement] has a very good system for the members of PNA, but across the region, we need something that serves the needs of all of our members, and the agreement is that we need to get into a smaller group for technical discussions around how best to support data management for fisheries management purposes in the region. There are issues around policy, around funding, around governance, around management capabilities for example. So a whole range of issues were discussed.
DON WISEMAN: At the very beginning there had been some concerns about this emphasis on catch limits [quota] instead of the VDS [Vessel Day Scheme] that is operated by the PNA and that was put to bed early, but there are concerns I know about you keep an eye, keep a check, in terms of sustainability, on the long line fisheries, for instance.
CT: Yeah I don't quite know how that happened, where people, you know, there was a view that New Zealand was trying to push its quota management system on the islands, because that is certainly not the case. People clearly accept the fact that the VDS system operated by the PNA has achieved some good results, and the whole workshop, the whole study tour is about learning from the New Zealand experience. And at the end of the day the island countries and the regional organisations are going to have to make a decision on what is best for the region, and that is not my impression despite what might have come out in the media, I guess. I don't think anyone was looking to say the VDS system was not appropropriate and that the New Zealand QMS [Quota Management System] is better. It's really - here is the New Zealand experience, here's what we have found to have worked, here are the lessons we learnt, here are the things that didn't work. Because everyone was impressed with what is going on in New Zealand but my own observations were, it is a suitable system for New Zealand but it is very sophistocated obviously, and quite complex, and the question I have is around 'What can we learn from New Zealand and what's really feasible in the region, given the management limitations, the funding limitations, for example.
DW: In terms then of this quota management system do you think there is going to be any relatively immediate application in the Pacific, or is there still a lot to be decided.
CT: On a lot to go, a lot of discussions to go, but I do think there are aspects of the quota management system that people see as potentially useful. But I can't say that immediately following on from this that something is going to be implemented. I do know for example that on data management, information management, information sharing, that there's clearly going to have to be work that has to go on, by the right experts if you like from the region, learning from the New Zealand experience.
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