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Tragedy in the Kaipara

Commercial fishers know all too well the dangers of the sea. It’s a tough working environment that requires experience, skill and care to ensure vessel and crew return safely. However, even with the best skipper on board there’s always a risk and many readers will know of colleagues or friends that have been lost at sea over the years. 

On Saturday afternoon a recreational charter vessel capsized crossing the Kaipara bar with 10 people on board, seven bodies have now been recovered and one remains missing, feared dead.

As you go about your week, spare a thought for the families and friends of these men who died in tragic circumstances pursuing a pastime they were passionate about. These were our recreational colleagues.

These were keen fishers, enjoying Tangaroa’s bounty, just like us. 

Too often the commercial and recreational sectors are cast as rivals, even enemies. Manufacturing or stoking this tension may serve some, but in the end we are all just people catching fish; with tragedy comes perspective. 

He aha te mea nui? He tangata. He tangata. He tangata.

Future of Our Fisheries (FOOF)

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) has released its Future of Our Fisheries (Te Huapae Mataora Mo Tangaroa) document for public discussion. This document is the output of the MPI operational review which commenced in 2015 but also includes issues that have emerged subsequent to that consultation.

Volume 1 of Future of Our Fisheries contains an overarching vision and strategy for the management of New Zealand fisheries resources. MPI has adopted a vision of “abundant fisheries and healthy aquatic environment that provide for all our people, now and in the future” and has identified the following four objectives to underpin that vision:

  1. Abundant fisheries in our seas and healthy aquatic system.
  2. Everyone plays their part in managing New Zealand’s shared aquatic resources.
  3. Everyone can share fairly in the benefits of our aquatic resources.
  4. The fisheries management system is widely trusted in New Zealand and internationally.

Three strategic proposals are outlined in the discussion document:

  1. Maximising Value from our fisheries – options for addressing discarding; encouraging and enabling harvest technologies; options to maximise the value of our shared fisheries; building the market position of NZ seafood and options for developing value from new or undeveloped fisheries.
  2. Better fisheries Information – Integrated Electronic Monitoring and Reporting System (IEMRS); gathering more information to support decision making and value-adding; investing in eco-based management and the use of externally commissioned research.
  3. Agile and Responsive Decision-Making – looking to shift decisions to a level of accountability that reflects risk, supporting independent advice through a National Fisheries Advisory Council and developing a more flexible decision-making framework.

In a media release accompanying the consultation, Minister Guy stated thatOur fisheries management system has been recognised as one of the world’s best. However, we need to keep looking at ways to improve the system, especially as the Quota Management System (QMS) is now 30 years old and the Fisheries Act 20 years old.”   

While true that the QMS has served us well, it’s unclear from the documentation provided by MPI that what’s proposed could be described as improvements to the system. The Future of our Fisheries tackles some long-standing issues in fisheries management which is welcomed by Fisheries Inshore. However, the consultation papers are devoid of the detail and analysis required to advance what could be some very significant changes. 

It is unwise to tinker with a world-leading fisheries management system without careful, detailed and robust analysis and conversation with all concerned. 

More work is required before the proposals released by MPI are sufficient to enable an informed discussion with the commercial, recreational and environmental sectors, and particularly the Crown’s Treaty partners.  

FINZ looks forward to working with MPI to refine and develop the proposals.   

Public consultation meetings, hui and workshops on the proposals will be held in November and December 2016 at:

Location Date & Time Venue
Wellington Tuesday 29 November
5pm – 7pm
Te Wharewaka
2 Taranaki Street
Napier Wednesday 30 November
5pm – 7pm
Napier Sailing Club
63 West Quay
Thursday 1 December
5pm – 7pm
Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron
181 Westhaven Drive
Westhaven Marina
Chatham Islands Tuesday 6 December
5pm – 7pm
The Den
The Chatham Islands
Tairua Tuesday 6 December
5pm - 7pm
Tairua Pauanui Sports Fishing Club
11 Tui Terrace
Greymouth Wednesday 7 December
5pm - 7pm
Kingsgate Hotel
32 Mawhera Quay
New Plymouth Monday 12 December
5pm – 7pm
Copthorne Hotel Grand Central
42 Powderham Street
New Plymouth
Gisborne Tuesday 13 December
5pm – 7pm
Tatapouri Sports Fishing Club
Number 2 Wharf Shed
54 Esplanade
Whangarei Wednesday 14 December
5pm – 7pm
Forum North
7 Rust Ave
Invercargill Thursday 15 December
5pm – 7pm
Ascot Park Hotel
Corner Tay Street & Racecourse Road

Submission close on Friday 23 December 2016 click here for more information.

Line Weighting

MPI recently consulted on compulsory line-weighting for the surface longline fleet. This has been a controversial topic over the years due to serious injuries being incurred and the death of a crewman in 1995 from a recoiling lead weight.

A significant amount of work has been undertaken in recent years to refine line weighting and ensure improvements to the safety of crew. While practices are safer than 20 years ago, there remains a risk. 

The HMS Committee of Fisheries Inshore is committed to reducing risks to seabirds, but is acutely aware of the risk of line weighting. Despite that concern, Fisheries Inshore submitted in support of introducing line-weighting. 

That support was conditional on MPI and DOC co-funding a training programme to ensure the various risk-mitigation measures are examined, discussed and well-understood by HMS fishers. This should culminate in an agreed and standardised set of safe operating procedures, with vessel-specific additions as necessary. We also sought the capacity for MPI to rapidly type-approve alternative mitigation approaches to take advantage of new developments that increase efficacy and safety. 

When proposed government regulations put people at risk of serious injury or death, there is a responsibility on the Crown to ensure that risk is minimised to the greatest extent possible, and then justified.

The Fisheries Inshore submission is available here.

Board Changes

At this year’s Annual General Meeting we said farewell to Dave Moore as a member of the Board. Dave has provided excellent support and represented ACE holder and fishers members on the board for the last couple of years. We wish to say a big thank you to Dave, your contribution has been tremendous and we look forward to keeping in touch.

Phil Clow replaces Dave on Board; many of you will know Phil and FINZ is looking forward to working with Phil in the near future.

Trans-Tasman Resources Limited 2016 Application

A further extension to the Trans-Tasman Resources Limited (TTR) application has been granted to extract and process iron sand within the South Taranaki Bight.

The submission period will now close 5pm on Monday 12 December 2016.

South-East Marine Protection Forum Public Consultation

The South-East Marine Protection Forum is consulting on proposed areas for marine protection.

Submissions close at 5pm on Tuesday 20 December 2016.

If you have any queries contact Carol Scott on 03 548 0711 or

Biosecurity of Aquaculture and Fisheries Processing Facilities

Coast and Catchment Ltd are managing an independent research project for MPI. The project is piecing together current biosecurity requirements, practices and awareness in fisheries and aquaculture processing and wet-holding facilities in to one place. They are currently talking to people around the country and surveying companies to:
  • understand the shared biosecurity risks and pathways between aquaculture, inshore fisheries and processing;
  • build a better understanding of the life-cycle of the commodities produced; and,
  • assist MPI, Councils and industry to make better informed decisions in the future regarding protecting these industries and the marine environment.
This is a voluntary research project, however, without practical industry knowledge, the complete story will not be told. All information gathered will be collated and is confidential. To help participate we have included a link to a survey. It should only take about 10 minutes of your time. Your views and input will help your business, your industry and New Zealand.

Please click here to begin.

For further information, please contact: Stacey Faire, Project Manager, Coast and Catchment, phone 021 853 440 or Jeannine Fischer, Senior Advisor, Animal and Marine Biosecurity Response Team, Ministry for Primary Industries, phone 021915084.
Copyright © 2016 Fisheries Inshore New Zealand, All rights reserved.

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