Govt Refuses To Buy Fight With Fishing Industry

  • John Luxton
Fisheries and Aquaculture

The Government has deferred any decision to push through legislation this year to allow 4th schedule species into Quota Management System (QMS) in a manner which would disadvantage the existing permit holders, Fisheries Minister Hon John Luxton said at today's Seafood Industry Conference.

"However, we need to move forward on the issue of 4th schedule species, because the Crown has a commitment to Maori, especially in relation to South Island Eels which are due for introduction on 1 October 2000."

"The industry needs to work with the Crown to establish management regimes that are considered fair by all parties, without compromising sustainability. Today's negative response by industry was very disappointing."

"The Government since 1997 has signalled that it does not believe that additional compensation is required. New quota property rights give existing fishers an asset which they can for the first time trade and borrow against."

"The 4th schedule species continue to pose problems. The fact that permits cannot be passed onto younger generations is one obstacle. Introducing 4th schedule species into the QMS would alleviate this problem. However, the industry still seeks payment in addition to receiving a tradable property right for the first time."

The Minister's statement at today's conference indicated a conciliatory approach showing his reluctance to proceed without the agreement of the fishing industry, despite the fact that the industry stood to gain from the legislation.

"It was also apparent from the panel discussion that the Labour party has no intention of providing any compensation for the enhanced property right created", Mr Luxton said.

Compensation paid to industry in the past was a unique solution to a unique problem. It has been clearly communicated to industry that this in no way set a precedent.

"My challenge to the industry was simply to move forward on the issue ."