• John Luxton
Fisheries and Aquaculture

The Minister of Fisheries, the Hon John Luxton, has suggested that the current regulations that restrict fishing within certain waters by vessels over 43 metres in length be changed.

Two specific changes are proposed, firstly a change in the wording of the regulations to clarify the measurement of vessels length, and secondly the removal of the area restrictions outside the Territorial Sea.

Mr Luxton today said ``A change to the way vessels are measured is needed because there has been some confusion with the interpretation of overall vessel length as prescribed in regulation. I believe a move to the use of the ``register length'' as defined in the Ship Registration Act 1992 will remove the confusion. This should reduce costs of compliance and the silly situation of having bits cut off the end of fishing vessels to make them slightly shorter.

``We are also looking at the removal of the restrictions on trawling outside the 12 mile Territorial Sea. I want to make it clear that I am not proposing to allow large factory trawlers to fish inside the 12 mile Territorial Sea.

``These input restrictions had some validity before limitations were imposed on output catch levels through deepwater fishing policies and the introduction of the quota management system.

``The sustainable management of fisheries is now primarily achieved by controls on the output from the fishery, the catch, not the size of the vessel catching the fish.

"The process for making these amendments will include consultation with fisheries stakeholder groups and iwi. Discussion on the definition of vessel length will occur during December and January with any changes introduced on 1 April 1998.

"The proposed removal of the prohibited trawl areas, outside the Territorial Sea, will be discussed in the middle of next year with possible changes introduced on 1 October 1998," Mr Luxton concluded.