Fisheries Minister Jim Anderton today announced a new strategy to guide the setting of catch limits and related management actions for New Zealand's fisheries.
The Harvest Strategy Standard is a best-practice standard that has been under development for more than three years. It identifies targets and limits for the amount of fishing and size of fish stocks, along with management actions to achieve the targets and avoid the limits.
Jim Anderton said the Harvest Strategy Standard would guide the future management of our fishstocks and help ensure they are available for generations of New Zealanders to come.
"Adoption of the Harvest Strategy Standard will give fishers, tangata whenua and other stakeholders greater certainty about how sustainable catch limits will be set into the future. It will also provide guidelines for when action, like catch reductions, needs to be taken to ensure sustainability.
"When developing this Harvest Strategy Standard the best-practice approaches of other countries, and international fisheries organisations, were considered and adapted to suit our unique management system.
"Adopting this best-practice approach helps ensure New Zealand's fisheries management keeps its place at the forefront of fisheries management internationally."
Jim Anderton said it would be implemented over time, primarily through the development of fisheries plans, which are currently being developed around the country in collaboration with stakeholders. Fisheries plans will incorporate the core elements of the Harvest Strategy Standard.
"I expect adoption of the Harvest Strategy Standard to have positive benefits for New Zealand's efforts to gain environmental certification for its fisheries."
If there is no fisheries plan in place for a fish stock, the Minister of Fisheries will take the Harvest Strategy Standard into account when reviewing catch limits and other management actions.
"Our fisheries are an extremely valuable asset for New Zealand.
"They are our fifth largest export earner. Over one million New Zealanders go fishing for food and enjoyment every year. Fish are also an important customary food source and taonga for Maori.
"It is vital we get the management right" he said.