Luxton Announces The Passing Of New Customary Fishing Regulations

  • John Luxton
Food, Fibre, Biosecurity and Border Control

Hon John Luxton, the Minister for Food, Fibre, Biosecurity and Border Control, today announced the passing of regulations for the management of customary fishing for the North Island and Chatham Islands.

Mr Luxton said that he was pleased to announce the making of the regulations. They represented another step by the Crown to implement the provisions of the Fisheries Deed of Settlement.

"These regulations, in association with other provisions in fisheries law will provide for customary fishing, recognise the legitimate interests of all New Zealanders to fish and effectively ensure the sustainability of fisheries. That will be a benefit to all members of the community" Mr Luxton said today.

"The regulations are the end result of a considerable amount of work by the Crown and Mäori working together to properly define how the customary fishing rights of Mäori should be recognised in law and how customary fishing should be carried out. It will also ensure that New Zealanders' recreational and commercial fishing interests are protected" he said.

"Extensive consultation has been carried out with hapü, iwi and the wider community, on the form of the regulations. The Government has made a number of changes to the regulations to address legitimate concerns raised in those consultations.

"I am satisfied that the regulations will enable Mäori and the Crown to work together to protect fisheries for our future generations as well as effectively providing for the customary rights of the local Maori community," said Mr Luxton.

The regulations will enable Mäori communities to appoint people to manage their customary fishing in their tribal area. This will enable those communities to ensure that their customary fishing is undertaken in a way that the community considers appropriate.

The Ministry of Fisheries will support the rules made by Mäori communities through its compliance programme.

"Information provided through the regulations will also aid in making an appropriate customary allowance each time a quota is set for a fishery. It is essential that the fishery is harvested within sustainable limits" Mr Luxton said.

The regulations also enable the Minister to approve fishing grounds of particular importance to Mäori as mätaitai reserves. "Mäori are able to propose that a fishing ground be made a mätaitai reserve. After proper consultation with affected parties and consideration of the impacts of a reserve on people who fish the area, I am able to set those areas aside for management by local Maori. The reserves will then be managed for non-commercial purposes using bylaws. Those bylaws must apply equally to all individuals and be approved by the Minister" Mr Luxton concluded.