Luxton Introduces Fisheries Bill To Enhance Fisheries Resource

  • John Luxton
Food, Fibre, Biosecurity and Border Control

The Minister for Food, Fibre, Biosecurity and Border Control, Hon John Luxton, today introduced the Fisheries Ammendment Bill 1998 into the House. This Bill will reform the Fisheries Act 1996.

Mr Luxton said today, “We must continue to enhance our very important fisheries resource. For both economic and lifestyle reasons our fisheries resource is very important to New Zealanders. We must manage this resource on a sustainable utilisation basis for the benefit of all New Zealanders, now and for the future."

"This Bill is the next step to keeping our fisheries managment system operating as well as it can and to continue to lead the world.

"I want to make it quite clear that fisheries sustainability is and will continue to be one of the core responsibilities of Government.”

As it currently stands, the Fisheries Act 1996 would have been expensive to implement, inflexible to manage, and may have led to poor management and environmental outcomes and would not have allowed for the devolution of non-core Government fisheries services.

It was for these reasons, among others, that Mr Luxton initiated a review of the Act by Mr Tony Hartevelt. Today’s legislation is the result of intense scrutiny of Mr Hartevelt’s review by officials from eleven government departments including the Ministries of Fisheries and Environment, the Department of Conservation, Treasury and Te Puni Kokiri.

The Minister said that the select committee process will give stakeholders even more opportunity to input into these important reforms.

The Fisheries Ammendment Bill 1998 will help ensure efficient resource use in the fishing sector by:

  • providing for sustainability plans to manage fish stocks developed by the Ministry of Fisheries in consultation with other interested parties;
  • enabling quota owner based organisations to provide or purchase non-core fisheries services required by government; more.....
  • amending the 1983 and 1996 Fisheries Acts, to allow the Minister to devolve the responsibility to proviside registry and other functions to quota based organisations;
  • simplifying the Quota Management System catch balancing regime in the Fisheries Act 1996 and defining criteria which will allow for catch limits in some bycatch stocks to be set at sustainable levels below that which produces the maximum sustainable yield;
  • improving the offences and penalties provisions of the Fisheries Act 1996 to better reflect the nature of offences and ensure more efficient enforcement by amending the provisions of the Act relating to forfeiture, strict liability and the system for dealing with minor offences; and
  • improving the operation of the 1996 Act through a series of amendments to streamline or simplify the Quota Management System.

Other fisheries proposals will be released in a discussion paper in the new year and be subject to further consultation.