New plan

by Paul Campbell

Kaipara commercial and recreational fishers say they are being bombarded by government red tape as Fisheries New Zealand begins public consultation on a new Draft National Inshore Finfish Fisheries Plan, which will guide management of the resource for the next five years.

The fishers point out that the Threat Management Plan review to protect Hector’s and Maui dolphins was only launched on June 17 this year and submissions closed on August 19 after public meetings were held to discuss the plan from Dargaville in the north to Invercargill in the south. Options within the consultation included increasing the boundaries of marine mammal sanctuaries, extending restrictions on trawling and set netting in areas where the dolphins live. After 13,000 submissions, a ministerial decision on recommendations to protect dolphins is now awaited. A Ruawai-based fisher says he’s “speaking for the locals when I say too much legislation is making this job no fun at all. We are waiting for a decision on dolphins, and now more red tape is coming.” The fisher asked his name to be kept confidential.

“I don’t need the official attention,” he said. In regards to that threat management plan, Fisheries communications advisor Paul Duffin says:

“Fisheries New Zealand has provided advice to the Minister of Fisheries.

This is under consideration, and final decisions will be announced by ministers in due course.”

Director of Fisheries Management, Stuart Anderson says the latest draft plan aims to transform and improve how inshore finfish fisheries are managed, driving innovation and advancing ecosystem-based fisheries management.

The consultation documents and information on the process, including deadlines for submissions, can be found on Fisheries New Zealand’s website at fisheries.govt.nz/news-and-resources/consultations/draft-national-inshore-finfish-fisheries-plan/.