Calls for Commission of Inquiry into fisheries mismanagement grow

September 4, 2017

Four political parties have joined LegaSea and the New Zealand Sport Fishing Council’s call for an inquiry into the state of New Zealand’s fisheries management practices.

New Zealand First, the Māori Party, United Future and the New Zealand Outdoors Party have all agreed New Zealand’s fisheries management needs an overhaul and cannot continue the way it is currently going.

Support is also forthcoming from New Zealand’s largest iwi, Ngapuhi, and the Hokianga Accord, the mid-north iwi fisheries forum, who endorse the call for a Royal Commission of Inquiry.

Māori and Pakeha alike are concerned about collapsing stock numbers, fish dumping, and overfishing that appears to be beyond the control of the Ministry for Primary Industries.

The Māori Party says an inquiry is needed “to address issues of fish dumping, the non-reporting of bycatch and illegal fishing practices” and says it does not consider the relationship between industry, MPI and the industry lobby group Seafood NZ to be appropriate.

New Zealand First has worked closely with the recreational fishing sector for many years and its policy supports many of the NZSFC’s views, including the call for a full Commission of Inquiry.

“The QMS has now been in place for thirty years, and whilst it was rightly regarded as world-leading when it was instituted, and has worked well in some regards, the QMS is now in need of a full review and overhaul. Indeed some of the issues that have plagued the commercial fishing industry in particular in recent years can be attributed directly to unintended consequences created by the QMS itself. Dumping and high-grading are two contentious practices for which the Deemed Value provisions of the QMS can be rightly blamed.”

The New Zealand Outdoors Party also supports calls for a Royal Commission of Inquiry into fisheries management and the Quota Management System. “We will see a rebalancing of the books where tangata whenua and the public of New Zealand are considered before profits”. They agree with LegaSea that a separate Ministry of Fisheries is a necessary part of any reforms.

LegaSea spokesman Scott Macindoe calls for the other political parties to also show their hand in the lead up to the election.

“LegaSea is the largest recreational fishing lobby group in the country and works with the NZSFC to talk with over 70,000 members and supporters. Every day I’m asked about what the political parties are standing for. For many of us, our vote will depend on their answer to this simple question: are we doing enough to ensure our grandchildren will be able to go fishing.”

LegaSea has published its Manifesto calling for a Royal Commission of Inquiry as part of a package of policy changes we feel are needed to ensure New Zealand’s fisheries are well managed into the future.

“We have also compared those policies that have been released with our own requirements to see how each party stacks up. We will be sharing that information with our members and with our clubs in the days ahead.”

National’s ill-considered policy to introduce recreational marine parks, released just days before the 2014 election, have gone nowhere. Electronic reporting and monitoring of commercial fishers is coming, but undue haste to introduce untested technology runs the risk of a systems failure.

Labour and the Greens have yet to release their policies, but LegaSea will continue to push all political parties for their views on our Manifesto and the way forward as we get closer to election day.

“Our members come from all walks of life and are united by a common love of fishing. When we see politicians ignore our concerns and the ongoing depletion of our fisheries without any intervention from the Ministry, we have to stand as one and be counted.”


For more information please contact:
Paul Brislen
[email protected]

Useful links
Fisheries Manifesto
Traffic light guide to fisheries policies.
Political party statements –