20 September 2017

MINISTER'S DECISION ERODES MĀORI FISHERIES SETTLEMENT

Primary Industries Minister Hon Nathan Guy’s decision to decrease the Total Allowable Commercial Catch in pāua will eventually erode hard won Māori Fishing Settlement rights says Te Ohu Kaimoana Chief Executive Dion Tuuta.

Mr Tuuta is responding to changes to catch limits and sustainability measures announced by the Ministry of Primary Industries (MPI) this week. It outlines changes for 18 fish stocks as part of the regular twice-yearly fisheries sustainability review.

“Te Ohu Kaimoana supports reducing catch to ensure the sustainability of fishing stocks,” Mr Tuuta said. “However, the mechanism the Minister has decided to use to achieve these reductions sets in place a process which will breach the terms of the 1992 Fisheries Deed of Settlement.

“Due to the existence of 28N rights in some of these fish stocks,” Mr Tuuta said. “When the Total Allowable Commercial Catch (TACC) is increased in the future, Māori settlement quota shares will be taken by the Crown and given to the holders of these rights without compensation for iwi.”

“Had the Minister followed industry’s recommendations and instituted voluntary shelving of catch instead this situation would have been avoided.”

Only last week Te Ohu Kaimoana advised MPI officials that 28N rights posed a significant risk to the terms of the Fisheries Settlement, and would dilute Māori quota interests in key fisheries species, including pāua.

“Under the Fisheries Settlement Māori accepted an initial 10 per cent of key fisheries quota,” Mr Tuuta said. “When Māori agreed to the Deed of Settlement in 1992 we did not agree to settle the Crown’s obligations for them. MPI has advised the Minister to follow a process which will reduce Māori settlement interests in these key fisheries when stocks rebuild and TACC’s are raised again.

“The Minister should remember that when making important fisheries decisions, he also has an obligation to uphold the agreements expressed in the Deed of Settlement – not undermine those agreements.”

Te Ohu Kaimoana calls on MPI to find a solution to this matter in a way which does not compromise Iwi rights under the Deed of Settlement.

ENDS

For more information, contact:
Verona-Meiana Putaranui
Te Ohu Kaimoana Communications Manager
027 499 5850

Background information:

About Te Ohu Kaimoana: Te Ohu Kaimoana is a product of the 1992 Deed of Settlement, and acts as the mandated agent for Mandated Iwi Organisations and Recognised Iwi Organisations on national marine, fisheries and aquaculture related matters.

Read Ministry of Primary Industries' media release: Adjustments to fishing limits

About the 1989 and 1992 Settlements, and Māori Fisheries Act 2004

About 28N Rights: 28N Rights were awarded by the Crown to a small number of quota owners in 1986 who had declined to accept financial compensation for a reduction in their catch history rights to sustainable levels. Instead of money, these quota owners were given priority over Crown rights to sell extra quota in those fisheries.