Aquaculture for all

Maoris Back Aquaculture Bill

NEW ZEALAND - A bill amending aquaculture legislation in New Zealand has received the backing of the Maori Party.

Te Ururoa Flavell, MP for Waiariki

The Bill amends the legislation governing aquaculture - the Resource Management Act 1991, Fisheries Act 1996, the Maori Commercial Aquaculture Claims Settlement Act 2004 and the Aquaculture Reform (Repeal and Transitional Provisions) Act 2004.

And according to Te Ururoa Flavell, MP for Waiariki. the bill corrects technical issues and provides some assistance in amending experimental areas outside of the Aquaculture Management Areas – known more usually as AMAs.

The bill also amends the Maori Commercial Aquaculture Claims Settlement Act 2004 by revising the definition of new space.

Te Ururoa Flavell attacked previous amendments to the aquaculture legislation as tinkering but he said the Maori party supported the present bill at its first reading and looked forward to the ensuing debate.

"The key point Mr Speaker, is, aquaculture is going to be too significant a feature of the fishing industry in the future for Maori to be excluded at this point," Te Ururoa Flavell said in the New Zealand parliament.

"We need to see Regional Councils being consistent in the way in which they respond to aquaculture management areas. Currently it is an extraordinarily large process to go through; a process which is hugely bureaucratic and with no guarantees at the end.

"We need to have clear and consistent management which will oversee the issue of the quality of representative space for allocation to iwi.

"The prevailing concern is that tangata whenua will end up with marine farming areas which are not likely to yield a higher than average productive capacity.

"Mr Speaker, iwi and Maori organisations have already been playing a crucial role in the marine farming industry as we know. The central challenge facing Government could be how to ensure the sector is able to respond to the economic and environmental aspirations of iwi."

He added: "The Government rushed through the 2004 Bill, leaving in its wake lot of loopholes which left Maori vulnerable. The government have not changed the legislation and closed these loopholes as promised; but we believe that this Bill, at least closes one of these loopholes and as such should be supported.

"Although iwi have been allocated aquaculture space under the Maori Commercial Aquaculture Claims Settlement Act 2004, a recent press release by the Minister of Fisheries indicates that the actual transfer of this AMA space to iwi has not yet occurred, and consultation is ongoing.

"The fundamental flaw of course is that none of the iwi aquaculture organisations have taken full possession of their AMA allocations under the Act. Many of these organisations have been undertaking aquaculture activities on AMA space obtained outside provisions in the 2004 Act - these were established privately owned Maori businesses that have also qualified as iwi aquaculture organisations under the 2004 Act.

"This Bill is still needed for those iwi who want to go into aquaculture and where there is new space available."

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