Fisheries Management Advice Process

Every year the Minister reviews a small number of fish stocks and makes a decision on whether to change the management measures in place. This can include the amount of fish that can be harvested (TAC and TACC), and any restrictions on bycatch and the manner and locations in which fishing is undertaken. The processes to undertake these reviews are called “sustainability rounds”.

Currently there are two sustainability rounds a year, resulting in new management measures being in place by 1 April or 1 October – called the April or October round. Of the stocks that are reviewed each year, most are reviewed in the October round, but rock lobster, southern blue whiting and some shellfish species are reviewed in the April round. Ministry officials undertake a priority setting process that determines which stocks will be included in the sustainability round.

Each round takes five to six months and consists of the following steps:

  • A Consultation Paper is prepared for each stock that is being reviewed. This is normally prepared by the Ministry, but in some cases is prepared by a fisheries management group, for example the National Rock Lobster Management Group. This will set out the issues to be addressed, identify and assess options to address them, and make recommendations as to what management measures should be adopted. The paper will also often include a summary of the relevant science related to the fish stock in question, usually drawing on the information contained in the latest plenary report.
  • The Consultation Paper is publicly released and written submissions called for. Usually six weeks is allowed for submissions, but this time may be extended for more contentious issues. Any person is able to make a written submission.
  • Once the submission period has closed, Ministry staff summarise and consider the written submissions. The Ministry then prepares a Decision Paper, which is forwarded to the Minister. This provides the information on which the Minister will base his or her decision. This paper will normally have attached to it the Consultation Paper and a summary of written submissions received.
  • A notice is then placed in the Gazette to give legal effect to the final decision.

There is no legal right to appeal the Minister’s decision on its merits. It can only be legally challenged through initiating judicial review proceedings in the High Court.

Last updated at 3:39PM on November 23, 2017