There is something about the quota system that has puzzled us for a long time and that is how did any NZ government get the right to manage or give away the fishery of NZ to private commercial fishers?
In 1840, the Treaty of Waitangi was signed in an attempt to resolve some of the conflict between Maori and Pakeha settlers. But there were significant differences between the Maori and English versions of the Treaty. The most important difference between the two versions, with regard to fisheries, is found in the second article. While the English version grants Maori “exclusive and undisturbed possession of their lands and estates, forests, fisheries and other properties”, the Maori version guarantees Maori unqualified chieftainship over their lands, villages and treasures (Treaty of Waitangi Information Programme 2006).35 So Maori believed that they retained control of their resources while the settlers believed that the Crown could, from that point on, impose regulatory controls on resources within New Zealand. Both versions of the Treaty grant Maori ownership of their lands and fisheries.
The QMS was introduced in 1986 because the commercial fishers had overfished and over exported much of the NZ fishery to the point that recreational and Maori fishers were unable to catch a feed for the table. So something had to be done. It was clear that the crown governorship or management of the fishery had failed. What was needed was the better management of the fishery with a system that put the brakes on the exporters while there was still enough fish left in our waters to rebuild the fishery naturally
We are not sure what slimy rat politician came up with the concept of rewarding the greedy unconscientious large commercial fishing operators that destroyed the fishery while filling their pockets with cash in the first place, with the ownership of enough fish to keep them in their business of ecological plunder. The crown could have bought into legislation an effective management system without giving away ownership or the fishery or granting a property right to the commercial fishers in the way that it did.
To be assigned quota in the initial allocation, individuals had to be deemed a commercial fisher. According to the Fisheries Act 1983, to be a commercial fisher an individual or company needed:
• earnings of NZ $10,000 or more from fishing and to earn more than 80% of their income from fishing; or
• earnings from fishing to form a vital part of their income. With the new requirements, a large number of part-time fishers, many of whom were Maori living in rural areas, were removed from the industry. These part-time fishers were supplying local trade and their loss caused a lack of fresh fish being available to local people and fish and chip shops in their areas. This effectively gave those commercial fishers who were lucky enough to get quota gifted to them by the crown, a monopoly over price and supply of local trade fish supply.
For the Maori fisher who had chiefship of the fishery under the Treaty and was supplying his local community with fresh same day fish the future was bleak. The part-time Maori fisher without quota was then classed as a recreational fisher and for him to the supply or trade his catch in his local community then became a crime.
For the crown to remove the ownership of the fishery from Maori when they didn't possess ownership under the treaty is a breach of civil rights that was no different to the Americans allocating native Indian land to the settlers via a ballet system and then using the cavalry to drive off the Indians when they protested.
The inshore fishery was never meant to be exported at all. The inshore fishery has always been and should always be for local trade locals to supply and trade with local communities. The sustainable fish supply is there to do this easily, but there is not sufficient fish or shellfish supply for the exporters to feed the world.
Under the Treaty of Waitangi, the inshore fishery is customary New Zealand and no Government has the authority to change the Treaty. The next brainless act of idiocy from the crown was to use the fishery as a cash settlement for Maori. The problem with this is that if the fishery gets fished out like it has been, then that settlement has no value.
There is only one possible solution to this mess and that is to right the wrong that has accrued to Maori and the New Zealand people by a government who breached a treaty and gave away for free a national and cultural asset that didn't belong to them.
Remove the illegal ownership of the fishery given to the commercial fishers because it is in breach of the treaty. Allocate the entire offshore fishery to Maori for settlement and for export. Declare that inside the 12nm limit shall be customary New Zealand only and not for export.
Never again should the citizens of NZ be denied a healthy inshore fishery because the exporters are getting a good price for fish in Hong Kong. The inshore fishery and our vast NZ coast is a public wild resource, it is not farmed by the government and therefore they do not have the right to over-allocate its natural resources to the point of depletion for the sake of a better export balance. All a commercial fisher is, is a person with a boat who goes to sea and catches what he finds and sells it for profit. That most defiantly does not give them the right to own that wild fish.
The politicians got away with giving away our fish to those who didn't deserve it and we customary family New Zealand fishers want it back.
Sales Manager: Graham Carter P: 07 8551833 M: 021 02600437 E:
W: www.fishingoutdoors.org P.O. Box 10580, Te Rapa, Hamilton 3240 Facebook