Future of our Fisheries

December 23, 2016
On 11th November, the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) announced their new programme, Future of Our Fisheries (FOOF). Consultation opened, requesting submissions and planning a number of meetings around the country. LegaSea believed this was the perfect opportunity to implement policy similar to that of “Moyle’s Promise”. Hon. Colin Moyle was Minister of Fisheries 1972-1977 and again 1984-1990. Moyle was the man responsible for implementing the Quota Management System (QMS). At the time the New Zealand fish stocks were being decimated and he knew he had to take action. The QMS was put in place to constrain commercial catch, and to ensure the public could continue to provide their families with fish a National Policy for Marine Recreational Fisheries was drafted alongside the QMS. This sought to: “ensure that recreational users have access to a reasonable share of fisheries resources. The government’s position is clear – where a species of fish is not sufficiently abundant to support both commercial and non-commercial fishing, preference will be given to non-commercial fishing. This position reflects the government’s resolve to ensure all New Zealanders can enjoy and benefit from our fisheries”. Later becoming known as “Moyle’s Promise”. In 1990 Moyle was removed from Cabinet before tabling this policy. It was then cast aside due to other priorities, leaving the public to suffer with a severely unbalanced fisheries management system. In order for the QMS to adequately serve the public and operate as it was intended, a similar policy must be adopted now. The QMS was not designed to operate on its own, in its present state, and was always going to provide more benefit for commercial interests. Now we have a chance to put this right and carry on what Moyle started. In the FOOF proposal MPI state objectives as:
  • Increased abundance of shared stocks;
  • Give better recognition of recreational value when allocating the Total Allowable Catch; and
  • Allocation has traditionally been on a proportional basis. In future, for some shared stocks, there could be greater recognition of the contribution recreational fishing generates towards maximising resource value ie. New Zealand snapper fisheries.
  • These objectives would fit closely with policy such as Moyle’s Promise and cater for the public of New Zealand. LegaSea has submitted on this programme to do just that and looks forward to MPI’s advice to the Minister which can be expected early 2017. We hope the Minister can see what Moyle envisaged 30 years ago and apply policy that delivers abundance and a preference for our fishing.