Public says Ministry need to up their game

December 6, 2016

A recent survey shows that 83% of New Zealanders feel that the current approach to fisheries management is average to very poor when it comes to limiting catch and rebuilding our fish stocks to a suitable level.

LegaSea is surprised by the depth of dissatisfaction amongst the general public to the way our fisheries are being managed by the Ministry for Primary Industries.

The independent survey conducted in early October included a series of questions about the Ministry’s performance when it comes to limiting industrial fishing inshore, fairly allocating catch between sectors, reducing both the bycatch of protected species and the wastage associated with dumping unwanted catch.
Over 1900 people completed the survey, offering new insights into the disappointment felt by the public around our current Quota Management System (QMS).

This negative reaction is no doubt a response, in part, to the recent report by Dr Glenn Simmons revealing widespread illegal fish dumping and the Ministry for Primary Industries’ decisions not to prosecute in several cases.

On the back of comprehensive media coverage of the damning report there was an interesting response to the question “Do you think an independent inquiry into fisheries management and the Quota Management System is needed?

Over 70% of respondents share LegaSea’s frustrations and agreed that it was indeed time for a review. Around 26% of people were unsure and only 4% thought a review was unnecessary.

Party vote 
Of most interest to our decision-makers will be the breakdown of support by party vote.

Support for an independent review of the QMS was mixed, with United Future voters the least keen on a review, and ACT and Mana supporters polling highest. Overall there was more than 70% support for an independent review.

Seventy percent of people also said ‘yes’ when asked if people taking marine fish and other public natural resources for profit ought to pay a resource rental.

When broken down by party support, 69% of National Party voters supported a resource rental. Green and Labour Party supporters were almost inseparable, at 74% support for this resource tax.

“People clearly see the need for a tax to be applied to those exploiting public resources for private gain.”

People want action now 
This survey shows the public are calling for and expecting action. MPI have ignored this issue for too long and only an independent review can restore public faith in the Ministry to protect our precious marine environment, to enforce fisheries regulations, and reduce waste.

As long as this system remains unchecked, it is the public and our future generations that will suffer.

We risk losing a healthy productive marine environment with abundant fish stocks, which is such a big part of our kiwi lifestyle.

Currently, this amazing natural resource is being taken from us by an uncaring industry and seemingly nonchalant Ministry, with only the large corporates at the end of the line making any real profit.

LegaSea won’t idly stand by and watch our fish being thrown away for nothing, we are standing up and calling for a review. The public clearly expect the Ministry to up their game.

Let’s all band together to fix our fisheries so we never lose that essential part of all of our lives.