Submission on the Proposed Amendments to Amateur Fishing Regulations in the Fiordland (Te Moana o Atawhenua) Marine Area
IntroductionSubmitted 30 September 2022: Read the NZCA's submission on the Fiordland Marine Area (Te Moana o Atawhenua) proposed amendments to the amateur fishing regulations.
The Legislative Basis for the New Zealand Conservation Authority submission
- The New Zealand Conservation Authority (NZCA) was established under the Conservation Act 1987, with members appointed by the Minister of Conservation. It is an independent statutory body with a range of functions, but primarily acts as an independent conservation advisor to the Minister and the Director-General of
- The Authority has a role as an objective advocate on matters of national significance and interest in the conservation arena and to provide high quality independent advice to the Department of Conservation on its strategic direction and performance.
- The Authority has a range of powers and functions, under the Conservation Act 1987, as well as under other conservation related legislation. Under the Conservation Act, Section 6C(2)(c), the NZCA has the power to “advocate the interests of the Authority at any public forum or in any statutory planning process.”
- The NZCA share the Fiordland Marine Guardians’ concerns regarding the sustainability of amateur fishing in the Fiordland Marine Area (FMA) and agree that the current amateur fishing regulations are not fit for purpose.
- The climate crisis necessitates a cautionary approach to all future The NZCA supports the Fiordland Marine Guardians’ focus on ensuring sustainability for the long term, and the intent for the concept of ‘Fish for a Feed (not fish to fill the freezer)’ to underpin the amateur fishing regulations for the FMA.
- The issue of unsustainable take from Amateur Charter Vessels (ACV) is not addressed in the current regulations, with levels of activity verging on commercial take. The Authority are particularly concerned by the observation of recreational fishers usinghelicopters to fly out amateur catch; this activity is unsustainable, and certainly counter to the concept of ‘Fish for a Feed’.
- The NZCA supports the addition of no-take areas at popular anchorages for
- While the NZCA supports the development of an app for recreational fishers to record their catches, the NZCA is concerned, that a voluntary code will not constitute an effective means of ACV Robust data are critically important for effective fisheries management. Making recreational catch and effort reporting mandatory in the FMA will be an important step to building the baseline information to achieve good fisheries management. The Fish Mainland app has received a high level of support and a willingness from the fishing community to use for reporting. Mandatory reporting would enable total catch to be measured.
- The NZCA note that monitoring of fisheries needs significant improvement. The NZCA is concerned that, for example, there is not a single quantitative study of hāpuku/bass in the FMA, despite this supporting a recreational and commercial fishery. While it recognises that fisheries surveys (particularly for finfish) are expensive and extractive/invasive, the NZCA suggest that alternative approaches, such as baited underwater video, may be able to be deployed while more innovative and efficient methods for surveys are developed. The NZCA recommends that Fisheries NZ looks to better support the work of the Fiordland Marine Guardians through provision of data to support their management.
- The NZCA supports a freeze on new ACV registrations until policy-led solutions have been developed. There needs to be means for special rules to be applied to fishing charter vessels, such as boat limits (total catch per boat per day), and also controls on fishing It seems that the problems that have been identified (particularly serial and localised depletion of fish/shellfish stocks) currently sit primarily with charter vessels. It appears that the fishers on smaller private boats are being penalised due to the way fisheries legislation is constructed.
- The NZCA supports moving the line that demarcates differential daily species limits and supports changes to daily bag and species limits.
- The NZCA submits that Option 2 be adopted for the change in amateur Rock Lobster regulations and supports a common demarcation line. The NZCA note that Option 2 best aligns with the ‘Fish for a Feed’ concept; sustainability of the fishery should be the driving principle and best places the Fiordland Marine Guardians to deliver on its
- The NZCA submits that Option 3 be adopted for multi-tiered amateur bag and species limits: to introduce the Fishing Line and establish a 2-tier bag and species limit, as it best aligns with the principle of ‘Fish for a Feed’ The NZCA supports:
- changing the demarcation lines from ‘Habitat Lines’ to ‘Fishing Lines’, and for the lines defined in the Fisheries (Southland and Sub-Antarctic Areas Commercial Fishing) Regulations 1986, Reg 3 and 3A, to be incorporated into the regulations as ‘Fishing Lines’.
- a reduction in finfish bag and species limits, and total take of crayfish per amateur fisher, and a reduction in individual shellfish bag limits (to protect in particular scallops, oysters and paua), as well as the introduction of a daily combined limit.
- The submission document notes the involvement of the southern Papatipu Rūnanga and that engagement for Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu is on-going. However, the NZCA notes that there is no clear mention of customary harvest and what the proposed changes to the regulations may mean for mana whenua. This will need to be clearly articulated.