Seafood New Zealand Friday Update 17 March 2017

Friday Update is Seafood New Zealand's weekly email from our Chief Executive.

Captain's Blog

March 17, 2017

NZ system compares favourably with Iceland

Iceland is often lauded as having a superior fisheries management model to that of this country.
A recreational group cited it glowingly in its submission to the current review of the Fisheries Act.
And academic Dr Glenn Simmons, lead author of the spurious catch reconstruction report that is heavy on anecdote and light on methodology and credible data, has again denigrated New Zealand’s Quota Management System (QMS) while lauding Iceland.
So how do the two systems stack up?
Notwithstanding the fact Iceland has virtually no marine recreational fishery, or customary fishery, has far fewer species than New Zealand and thus far less bycatch, and its fishing industry is heavily subsidised, science consultant Dr Kevin Stokes has attempted to compare the two regimes.
He found the Icelandic Individual Transferable Quota (ITQ) scheme, similar to our QMS, was not the model for this country – it was introduced in 1990, four years after the ground breaking QMS.
Iceland does have a resource royalty, based on the unloaded price of fish, which is allocated to fisheries research and management.
Resource rentals were part of the original New Zealand QMS but were removed under the Treaty Settlement of 1992 and replaced with cost recovery that included compliance and research and now total around $35 million annually.
“Overall, New Zealand cost recovery is of the same order as Australia’s, and while less than Iceland’s, there are no government subsidies in New Zealand,” Dr Stokes said. “Overall, the cost to commercial fisheries (as rents or attributed costs, less subsidies) are of the same order.
“Recreational fishing is also a private utilisation of common property, which non-fishers should reasonably expect to see pay its way. It doesn’t.”
Does Iceland regard quota as a property right in the sense that it applies in this country?
The answer is yes, according to Dr Stokes, but it seems to be less secure.
“Neither Icelandic nor New Zealand rights holders have the right or ability to enforce property rights, with most controls firmly in the hands of government,” he found.
“Both rights are expressed as ITQ, which are proportional shares of available catch, with Total Allowable Catches (TACs) - and hence catch shares - set annually.
“The annual catch allotments in Iceland, like ITQ, are transferable. A major difference between the countries is that Icelandic ITQ is attached to vessel and/or municipality/community, whereas New Zealand ITQs operate at the stock level and Annual Catch Entitlement (ACE) generated can be used freely.”
Iceland allows greater flexibility across stocks, where transfers can be made  in ‘cod equivalent currency’ – whereas there is no such multispecies trading allowed here.
So has Iceland unwound their QMS in any significant way?
“No,” says Dr Stokes.
“It is still based on transferable, proportional use rights that generate annual catch allotments based on available TAC.
“Importantly, it is still a firmly science-based system requiring stock monitoring, assessment and TAC setting with rigorous reporting requirements.”
Whether the Icelanders are up to speed with New Zealand in areas such as net technology, mammal and seabird bycatch mitigation and marketing multiple species across numerous markets is another matter.
Those intent on pulling down this country’s system might like to inquire.
The Southern Crossing of the Tararuas, from Otaki Forks on the Kapiti Coast to Kaitoke at the base of the Rimutakas, is a fabled tramp that usually takes three days.
It is rated “hard” for good reason and its exposed tops that include Mount Hector, the highest point in the southern Tararuas, have claimed several lives.
The Southern Crossing has been on my bucket list for some time and I finally knocked it off last month, after completing an 11-hour slog on day three.
Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy knocked the crossing off last weekend in a mere 9 hours and 30 minutes in the annual Tararua Mountain Race.
“Very challenging,” he said on Twitter.
That would be an understatement.
Hats off to you Nathan.

Havelock Mussel and Seafood Festival on this weekend

The 13th annual Havelock Mussel and Seafood Festival will be taking place tomorrow.
Winners of Masterchef 2014, celebrity sisters Karena and Kasey Bird will be there showcasing some of the region's best seafood.
There will also be an attempt to break the world record for the fastest time to open 100 mussels.
The record has been broken twice in the past two years.
Kicking off at 10am, the festival will run through to 6pm.
Find out more

Paua claims record OIA cost

An official information request by Paua Industry Council chairman Storm Stanley may have set a record for cost.
Stanley, in requesting copies of submissions made to the South-East Marine Protection Forum, was told by the Department of Conservation he would have to pay $66,044 for the information.
Doc said there were 2809 individual submissions and it would take 730 hours, charged at $76 an hour, to photocopy, redact and collate the 10,150 pages.
However in the interest of fairness, they did offer Stanley an electronic copy at a reduced but still considerable cost of $37,924.

Gone Fishin' goes racing

This week Graeme is off to Pukekohe for some hot laps with young racing driver Brad Lathrope before testing his stomach on the ocean. 
Check it out this Sunday at 4.30pm on Three.

In the Media

Insight: Call for credible and practical discards policy

Radio NZ (14 March) Minister for Primary Industries Nathan Guy has said putting new camera surveillance on fishing vessels will be a game changer.
"This will be a very important part of shifting the debate and having better regulatory systems because we'll have the eyes and ears on every vessel," Guy said.
"This will be the biggest roll-out of electronic reporting in any fishery in the world and I'm hugely excited about it."
Canterbury fisher Tony Threadwell said before cameras are introduced there were parts of the quota management system that needed to be changed.
"It would be very very difficult for any inshore fishermen in New Zealand today to go to sea and not commit a technical offence and that's just ridiculous," he said.
"There really needs to be some commitment from government in conjunction with industry to sit down around the table to sort out some of these problems ... There needs to be a credible and practical discards policy that allows us to continue to work in an environment without breaking the law."
Read more

Te Ohu Kaimoana fighting from the sideline

Waatea News (15 March) To Ohu Kaimoana chief executive Dion Tuuta says government is trying to go around them and work with the Iwi Chairs Forum on fisheries issues.
The trust, set up under the Fisheries Deed of Settlement, wants to work with the Crown on the Future of our Fisheries plan, the creation of Marine Protected Areas that favour recreational fishers, and the Kermadec Ocean Sanctuary.
But government is trying to work around them, Tuuta said.
"The thing I am keen to ensure that we get, is that there is no disconnect between the expertise that the Iwi Chairs Forum has available to them, in the form of Te Ohu Kaimoana as an advisor ... so that Maori are not getting played off against one another by the Crown. Te Ohu Kaimoana is an agent of iwi that works for iwi," Tuuta said.
Read more and listen to full interview

Will MPI cameras on the fleet prove the system isn’t commercially viable?

Whaleoil (15 March) Moana Fisheries chief executive Carl Carrington has responded to a Whaleoil article from Tuesday.
The article dealt with issues raised in the Radio NZ Insight.
Carrington said government and fishers need to work together to find solutions that give the public confidence in the QMS, one of the best tools for sustainability in the world.
"We agree that there is always room for improvement and when quota settings are not quite right, it creates a difficult working environment for fishers to adhere to the letter of the law," he said.
"However, the law is the law and until such time as the law is changed, then illegal discarding remains illegal. Just as speed limits on some roads ought to be adjusted, the law still applies and if you exceed the speed limit then there are consequences until the law changes to reflect common sense and practical reality."
Read more

Marlborough man invents fully-automatic net cleaning robot for aquaculture

Stuff (13 March) A marine engineer from Marlborough has invented a fully-automated net cleaning robot, a world first.
Andy Fairhall, owner of Boss Net Cleaning, took five years researching and developing the AutoBoss from his Marlborough workshop.
The 850 kg machine is fully-automated and works by sitting on a pontoon which attaches to salmon pens, it then moves along the perimeter whilst cleaning the sides of the nets.
New Zealand King Salmon, who Fairhall used to work for, are using the machine on their farms.
Read more