Supporting Local Fisheries Management

Kaipara fish for futureLocal communities typically have a passion for their local coast and its resources. They also have a depth of knowledge about their area. Can local communities engage in local management? Should they? Or is this the domain of Government bodies. In this section we explore these questions and provide some examples of voluntary projects both here and overseas. 


Fisheries Act Customary Tools

Maunganui Bay RahuiThe Fisheries Act Sec 186a Rahui at Maunganui Bay, Bay of IslandsMaori, as the original indigenous people of New Zealand, have a traditional relationship with the sea encompassing spiritual, cultural and practical management aspects. These traditions have a long history in New Zealand and before that with their Polynesian ancestors. In the 1990's the NZ Government negotiated the 'Sealord Deal' which settled the commercial interest in New Zealand's fisheries with Maori. Following the Sealord deal provision was made for Maori to retain access to certain customary fishing practices in the form of regulations amended to the Fisheries Act 1997.  

The rights and obiligations of Maori in the Fisheries Act apply to 'estuarine and littoral coastal' areas where traditional relationships with the sea can be proven. These traditional relationships can include food source, spiritual or cultural basis. These tools are designed to give effect to the obligations stated in the Treaty of Waitangi Fisheries Claims Settlement Act 1992. (Sealord Deal) to develop policies to help recognise use and management practices of Māori in the exercise of non-commercial fishing rights. There is no mention of ecosystem protection in these fisheries management tools yet some hapū have utilized these tools with a holistic ecosystem approach. A great example is Te Oko O Tangaroa, the Tangaroa Suite of Ngāti Konohi of Whāngarā. In designing their local marine protection Te Tapuwae o Rongokako Marine Reserve (1999) and a mataitai area. See our Te Tapuwae o Rongokako Case Study example.  

Benthic Protection Areas

NZ ProtectedAreasV2 600 849Benthic protection areasSince 2007, 1.2 million sq km of our exclusive economic zone (EEZ) seabed (4 times the size of NZ landmass) has been closed to trawling and dredging. This includes seamounts and hydrothermal vents. This was proposed by the fishing industry in response to the publication of the MPA policy released in 2005. Part of the deal with the government was that further MPA proposals for the EEZ outside the 12nm territorial sea would be put on hold until 2013. With this date been and gone, it remains to be seen if further protection will be initiated in the deep sea. It is expensive and difficult to get information on our deep sea's ecosystems and the size of the EEZ is very large indeed. The long delay in reforming the Marine Reserve Act to enable jurisdiction outside the 12 mile limit has also slowed this process.

Supporting Traditional Management

FF Rahui2There are few places, if any, on the New Zealand coastline that don't have a long history of Maori settlement and involvement with the Sea. With that involvement comes a knowledge base, Matauranga Maori, encompassing customs and management strategies. Traditional rules and practice, often referred to in Te Reo Maori as Tikanga, easily align with western conservation values if people care to engage in an open and generous manner. If approached respectfully, Maori will almost always be willing to guide people through the journey of learning about Te Ao Maori, (the world of Maori).

Marine Parks, Special Legislation and Other Tools

061 Mimiwhangata Paparahi Boatshed Pts dsc 0724An aerial photo of the complex reef habitats at Mimiwhangata Marine Park, photo by Roger GraceThis web site is primarily focused on marine reserves and the processes involved in creating an effective network of marine reserve or high level protection areas. The enormous benefits of doing this are well established both here and overseas. A positive feature of setting the ambitious goal of an effective network of high level protection, is that it will support all other aspects of management due to the protection it provides for species, ecological function, genetic diversity, behaviors, age classes structures, a long list really. And there are many other management objectives and strategies which people will legitimately want to pursue. This section attempts to outline what they are and what they can contribute to our current challenges and opportunities regarding the sea around us.

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