Commercial fisheries face more change
Following on from new electronic catch and position reporting for commercial fishers, Fisheries New Zealand (FNZ) is seeking feedback on proposed changes to commercial fishing practices.
New Zealand’s existing fishing management system is based on a quota for commercial fishers, and allowances for recreational and customary fishers. When initially introduced the approach was seen as an innovative system for effective and efficient fisheries management. FNZ suggests that the current rules are complex, inconsistent, open for interpretation, difficult to monitor and are not promoting good fishing practices as effectively as they could. So FNZ has been seeking public input on four areas of potential change:
- Landings and returns: FNZ has identified options for amending the rules that specify the fish that may be brought back to port and those that can be returned to sea;
- Offences and penalties regime: Consistent with changes in environmental and conservation legislation, the historical approach to offences and penalties is under review. FNZ wants to be able to more effectively distinguish between different levels of offending behaviour and has some proposals on creating a more transparent offences and penalties regime;
- Setting of catch limits: FNS proposes to streamline and update the ministerial decision-making process for setting catch limits to ensure catch limit decisions and any adjustments are made more quickly and frequently. The aim here is to provide more certainty about catch limits; and
- Technical changes: FNZ considers that all fishers should take responsibility for the costs of their fishing activity. However, currently “other sources of fishing-related mortality” is often not attributed to a particular fishing sector but instead is simply a portion of the total allowable catch that cannot be harvested. FNZ is seeking feedback on technical changes to the Fisheries Act 1996 to create accountability for all fishing mortality in the system and, as far as possible, encourage good fishing practices and incentivise fishers to maximise value and reduce waste.
Consultation closes 17 March 2019. Decisions arising from consultation feedback are expected to result in the development of new legislation later in 2019 or early 2020. If that goes as planned then these changes could be implemented next year.
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