19 Aug 2015

Government to review fisheries management

3:44 pm on 19 August 2015

The Government is launching a review of fisheries management.

A Sealord fishing boat at sea.

A Sealord fishing boat at sea. Photo: RNZ / Alison Hossain

Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy announced the review at the annual seafood industry conference in Wellington this morning.

Mr Guy said New Zealand's quota management system was now almost 30 years old and its fisheries and aquaculture management was ranked amongst the best in the world in terms of sustainability.

But he said the time was right for a review.

"While the fundamentals of the QMS (quota management system) are sound, I believe the time is right for a refresh, particularly given the Fisheries Act is almost 20 years old, as well.

"I want to be clear that this programme of work is about refreshing and improving our fisheries management system, not replacing it. It won't be getting into the detail of things like bag limits and quotas."

He said the review would not undermine existing rights and interests of commercial customary and recreational fishers, Treaty settlements or core elements of the QMS.

My Guy said MPI would start the review process in the next few weeks by contacting stakeholders to seek their views on the current system and what needed to change.

He said possible options included changes to fisheries management processes, or regulations or the Fisheries Act itself.

The Government was also working on new legislation to set in place a marine protected areas framework

"Reconciling commercial, recreational and customary fisheries, while maintaining healthy eco-systems and protecting biodiversity, is a difficult balance to strike. The proposed marine protected areas framework will be an important tool in this.

"We are proud of our record in advancing ten new marine reserves last year in areas like the sub-Antarctic islands, the West Coast, Akaroa and Kaikoura. We are now well advanced in our work on the new Marine Protected Areas Act, which will make provisions for establishing the two proposed recreational fishing parks."

Mr Guy said the Government would be seeking comment on a discussion paper later this year.