“Te Huapae Mataora Mo Tangaroa –
the Future of Our Fisheries”

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) has released details of its operational review of the Fisheries Act 1996.  The review, which was announced last year by the Minister, Hon Nathan Guy, is aimed at improving the framework under which New Zealand’s fisheries are managed. 

The approach MPI intends to take to improve the fisheries framework is included in four documents: a summary report, Te Huapae Mataora Mo Tangaroa – the Future of Our Fisheries, which provides an overview of MPI’s strategy, accompanied by three additional reports that give details of each strategic proposal and regulatory change.

Iwi and Te Ohu Kaimoana were not consulted in the development of the proposals within these documents beyond our submission that was made in conjunction with iwi and provided to MPI in December last year.

Some of the proposals in the documents align with Te Ohu’s submission.  However, we consider certain strategic proposals being recommended by MPI, if pursued, will undermine Māori fishing rights and interests confirmed as part of the 1992 Fisheries Deed of Settlement.

The document refers to the Fisheries Settlement and Treaty of Waitangi (Fisheries Claims) Settlement Act 1992 but we consider it ignores the full scope of rights recognised in the settlement when referring to the Crown’s obligations. 

It is Te Ohu’s consistent view that MPI and Government have responsibilities to act in accordance with the Deed of Settlement and Settlement legislation at all times, and not advance, disseminate or promulgate policies that compromise the Deed of Settlement or the associated QMS, which provides the currency of the Settlement.

Te Ohu Kaimoana strongly recommended the Minister for Primary Industries to amend the document and exclude any draft proposal which was not compliant with the 1992 Deed of Settlement.  The Minister declined to do so.  Read our letter to Hon Bill English

We have broken down the summary document provided by MPI into a table outlining Te Ohu Kaimoana’s preliminary observations against each of the objectives and strategic proposals.


MPI’s “The Future of Our Fisheries”

Vision: Abundant fisheries and healthy aquatic environment that provide for all our people, now and in the future

Objective 1

Objective 2

Objective 3

Objective 4

Abundant fisheries in our seas and healthy aquatic system

Everyone plays their part in managing New Zealand’s fisheries resources

Everyone can share fairly in the benefits of our aquatic resources

The fisheries management system is trusted in New Zealand and internationally


Strategic Proposal 1

Strategic Proposal 2

Strategic Proposal 3

Maximising value from our fisheries

Better Fisheries Information

Agile and Responsive Decision-making

Valuing our marine eco-systems and fish resources to optimise resource utilisation

Identifying and capturing a wealth of information, ensuring its consistency and quality for decision-making

Fisheries system decisions are well-informed, responsive to need and reflect optimal level of risk


Address discarding of fish

Implement IMERS

Shift decisions to a level of accountability that reflects the level of risk to achieve clearly identified management objectives

Encourage and enable innovative harvest technologies

Gather more information to support decision-making and value adding

Support independent advice through a National Fisheries Advisory Council

Maximise the value of shared fisheries

Invest in ecosystem-based management

Develop a more flexible decision-making framework

Build the market position of New Zealand seafood

Use more independently commissioned research


Deliver value from new or underdeveloped fisheries




Regulatory Change Proposal 1
Integrated Electronic Monitoring and Reporting System
Accurate, integrated and timely reporting and monitoring of commercial fishing activity – able to meet strategic and operational needs.

Regulatory Change Proposal 2
Enabling Innovative Trawl Technologies
A sustainable and agile framework for innovative technologies and fishing methods to transform how we fish.

The consultation document notes that, based on feedback and analysis, reforms may proceed with any or all of the proposals.