Seafood New Zealand Friday Update 27 November 2015



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


Captain's Blog

November 27, 2015


Quota as key environment protector

Property rights such as fish quota are the key to protecting and managing the environment, according to a visiting top American economist.
If people own rights to fisheries or water or wildlife, they will be motivated to protect those assets, says Dr Terry Anderson, a senior fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution.
He delivered lectures to the Law and Economics Association in Wellington last week and Auckland this week that focused on this country’s fisheries management system founded on individual quota.
“Those who hold the rights should have more responsibility for managing them,” he said. “People holding the assets have the incentive and the information. Bring them into the management process.
  Environment markets work by getting the incentives right.
  Hats off to New Zealand. You are head and shoulders above the US. In the US they do not call quota property rights, so if they take them back they don’t have to compensate you. New Zealand is on the right track by sanctifying them. In New Zealand the sales price is up to 12 times the lease price. In the US it is only three times. Nobody is confident they can keep the property right to the quota they have.”
He gave the example of the Cattlemens’ Association formed in the 1860s in his native Montana to control overgrazing off the prairies. Cattle owners were granted grazing areas. When permits were subsequently set for just 10 years, without automatic right of renewal, the incentive was to overgraze.
He likened that to a rental car. No one ever washes one except Hertz because they see it as an asset.
As an economist, Dr Anderson described his profession as those good with numbers but not enough personality to be accountants.
In fact he is a lively and engaging lecturer with a string of teaching awards.
He is author or editor of 37 books with a consistent theme of free market environmentalism and the role of government in managing natural resources.
  His support for enviro-preneurs includes the example of a campaign to reintroduce wolves to Yellowstone Park in the US.
Environmentalist Hank Fischer urged restoring wolves to control the booming elk population which was over grazing the park. 
Wolves were the missing link in the ecosystem.
But ranchers, concerned about their sheep and cattle, opposed the move. A good wolf is a dead wolf in their view.
Fischer realised he need to acknowledge the ranchers’ property rights, rather than asking them to provide a free lunch (and dinner).
His answer was to produce posters of the park, sell them for $35 and put the $100,000 that was eventually raised into a fund to compensate farmers for any loss of stock due to wolf predation.
His application of “wolfernomics” saw him effectively take ownership of the wolves, pay market value for their impact and defuse the issue.
Dr Anderson’s pioneering work has clear application to the current review of fisheries management in this country.
And while New Zealand may be in advance of the US in recognising property rights, there are some worrying cracks.
The Kermadecs ocean sanctuary declared by Prime Minister John Key to a United Nations audience last month expunged quota rights at a stroke and dismissed compensation.
 The Cabinet paper signed off by Environment Minister Nick Smith is a flawed document that proposes no compensation be paid to highly migratory species quota owners “because it is a measure taken for sustainability purposes”.
  That is patently untrue. There is no evidence provided that the tuna and swordfish that make up the bulk of the relatively small harvest of 20 tonnes from the Kermadecs zone, already a benthic protected area, are being overfished.
  Further, the unfished quota held by Te Ohu Kaimoana under the Fisheries Settlement is deemed to be an “administrative quirk”.  
  It is proposed no compensation be paid to those holding nominal quota “as these have no value”.
It is conceded “there will be an impact on fisheries” but this is seen as “very small”.
  No wonder the industry is nervous at the shape of the still unsighted Marine Protected Areas Bill and the incorporation of recreational marine parks in the Hauraki Gulf and Marlborough Sounds that would exclude commercial activity.

Tim Pankhurst



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In the Media



Seafood among NZ's fastest
growing exports

The NZ Herald (November 25) reported on a new MBIE-commissioned report that shows food and beverage accounts for 50 per cent of New Zealand's exports, with significant untapped capacity to export more. The report, by consultancy firm Coriolis, said seafood was among the country's growing exports. The seafood industry has a stable wild catch, is a leader in rock lobster exports, and is fast growing in mussel and salmon aquaculture.
Click here for story
Download report




SPATnz produces 400 million
mussel larvae

Undercurrent News (November 23) reported on the SPATnz project - by Sanford and the Cawthron Institute - producing 400 million ready-to-settle mussel larvae since it opened its pilot-scale hatchery in April 2015. The project began in 2012 to create a secure supply of spat for growing into commercial, adult shellfish.
Click here for full report




North Island Mussels expects
record season

Bay of Plenty Times (November 24) reported on Tauranga seafood exporter North Island Mussels Ltd (NIML), being on track to break its production records this season. Factory manager Amelia Austin said the company's Greerton plant had increased throughput of the half-shell mussels from 4.8 tonnes to 6.2 tonnes an hour. The report said the plant had set a record by processing 110.8 tonnes in a 24-hour period, and was now aiming to exceed 115 tonnes.
Click here for full report




The black petrel/taiko blessing was attended by fishing industry, government, environment group and local community members.


Welcoming our other all blacks

Maori TV and Scoop (November 22) reported on Ngati Rehua-Ngatiwai ki Aotea welcoming and blessing the black petrel/taiko, New Zealand’s all-black seabird, back home to breed on Great Barrier Island after a 10,000 km flight from South America. Scoop's report quoted Southern Seabird Solutions Trust convenor Janice Molloy saying the Black Petrel/tāiko Working Group, which includes fishing, government and environmental interests is working on practical ways to reduce the risk to these special birds from fishing.
Click here for Maori TV report 
(Plays from 8:43 mins)
Click here for Scoop report



Celebrate science with Cawthron

The week long 'Celebrate Science with Cawthron' initiative culminates with a family day on Sunday, November 29. 
The day will include a Science Roadshow with a range of interactive exhibits. There are presentations by local scientists on river ecosystems and healthy food, and a chance to make your own rocket and solar pancakes. Mr. Science (aka Sterling Cathman) will also be on hand with some crazy, fun science. 
Victory Community Centre, Sunday, November 29, 10am to 4pm.
Visit their Facebook page for details.