More fish species into Quota Management System

  • Pete Hodgson
Fisheries and Aquaculture

Eleven more commercially caught fish species will be added to the Quota Management System in the first stage of a major expansion, Fisheries Minister Pete Hodgson announced today.

Over the next three years the Ministry of Fisheries will be working towards the introduction of about 50 species that will benefit from the better management framework provided by the QMS. The final number to be introduced will be determined after further analysis and consultation with stakeholders.

To date the QMS includes 45 fish or shellfish species, including most major commercially valuable stocks. The most recent species to be introduced was South Island eels in October 2000.

The species to be introduced between 1 April 2002 and 1 April 2003 are South Island and Chatham Islands kina, paddle crab, butterfish, blue mackerel, queen scallops, Coromandel and Chatham Islands scallops, Whangarei Harbour cockles, anchovy, pilchard, garfish and sprats. Of the species currently managed outside the QMS, these are the easiest to introduce within a short time.

“Since the introduction of the QMS in 1986 New Zealand has been regarded as a world leader in fisheries management,” Mr Hodgson said. “The system enables sustainable management of fish stocks in the interests of all fishers – commercial, recreational and Maori. I am pleased that the full introduction of the 1996 Fisheries Act on October 1 this year has provided the legal and logistical ability to significantly expand the QMS.”

The QMS allocates each commercial fisher a share of the total allowable commercial catch, which becomes an asset the fisher can fish or trade. Allowances for recreational and customary Maori catch are made before the total allowable commercial catch is set. Species outside the QMS are managed under a permit system that confers no tradable rights.

Introducing more species to the QMS also enables the Crown to meet its obligations to Maori under the Deed of Settlement signed in 1992, which provides that when a new species is introduced 20% of the quota will be allocated to Maori.