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Sink or Swim? National Launch Aquaculture Policy

by Ellen Hardy
16 September 2008, at 1:00am

NEW ZEALAND - National announced their aquaculture and fisheries policy announced today, which they say will give it the boost it needs to fulfil its billion-dollar potential.


Phil Heatley
Photo: National

Fisheries spokesman, Phil Heatley says: "The aquaculture sector was first strangled by years of moratoria and now, 1,351 days after Labour's reforms, no significant Aquaculture Management Area (AMA) has been created where marine farming did not already exist. Labour's record speaks for itself.

"Their reforms of the sector have created nothing but red tape and frustration – particularly to Maori who were promised 20% of existing aquaculture space and 20% of future space. 20% of zilch is still zilch."

National believes aquaculture can be a billion-dollar industry and we make the following commitments:

  • We will improve the legislative framework and acknowledge that the industry-led review findings will need to contribute to this.
  • We will allow aquaculture research to be considered outside AMAs, and remove the veto of the Minister of Conservation over restricted coastal activities.
  • We will allow farmers to change the species farmed in an area, where the two species are broadly similar, without an arduous bureaucratic process.
  • We will also reduce the bureaucracy and cost to applicants who undertake a private plan change to create an AMA.

National says that it also promises to free up the bureaucracy which is strangling the Quota Management System (QMS).

"While we are committed to the QMS, it is unacceptable that staff numbers in the Ministry of Fisheries' Wellington office have burgeoned under a Labour Government, while the number of people employed in the core business of stock monitoring, biosecurity, enforcement, and prosecution has not measurably improved.

"National will remove all administrative, operational, and policy focus that is unnecessary and redirect these resources into the research and monitoring of fish-stock health.

"We will also use these funds to improve frontline fishery officer policing in order to fight poaching.

"Many marine reserve proposals, like the one off Great Barrier Island, have been extremely contentious. This is because DOC is currently both the applicant and decision-maker. Fishers need a greater say and we will give them that.

"In recognising that it is the right of every New Zealand family to successfully go fishing, we will also support and resource the negotiations between recreational, customary, and commercial fishing interests, especially when it comes to developing more 'recreational only' fishing reserves.

"Labour's emissions trading scheme will significantly add to the costs of the fishing industry. Fuel is a major cost in operating vessels and the scheme's additional burden will undermine the viability of the New Zealand fishing fleet. National sees it as unfair that a 90% allocation of carbon credits is available for all other trade-exposed sectors such as steel, cement, and aluminium manufacturing, and for the dairy industry, yet only 50% is available to the fishing industry. Fishing should be treated the same as other major industries in New Zealand.

"National will amend the ETS legislation to provide for a 90% allocation for fishing.

"National is strongly committed to the sustainability of our fisheries and marine areas for the benefit of all New Zealanders – recreational, customary, and commercial alike."

Further Reading

- National's policy document can be viewed by clicking here.

Ellen Hardy