Former Waitangi Fisheries Commission head Shane Jones says employing Maori in the fishing industry should be a priority.
The comment from the Labour MP echoes some submissions made to the ministerial inquiry report into the use of foreign fishing vessels, which was released on Thursday.
They argued Maori quota holders should employ Maori to catch their quota and process the fish.
Others said the use of foreign charter vessels was taking jobs away from New Zealanders who are willing and able to work on board vessels and in on-shore processing plants.
Mr Jones, a Labour frontbencher, says iwi own the fishing quota - and they need to decide who crews the trawlers.
He says he would like to see employment being given a higher level of priority by the tribes who own the fishing quota.
Mr Jones helped negotiate the original Maori Fisheries settlement.