Update – 17 April 2018
Consultation has closed and the Minister of Fisheries has made a decision on an in-season increase to the total allowable catch for southern bluefin tuna, for the 2017/2018 fishing year. This includes decisions relating to Total Allowable Catch (TAC), Annual Catch Entitlements (ACE) and recreational allowance.
The minister's decision letter provides the details of, and reasons for his decision.
In summary, the minister has decided on an in-season increase to the 2017/2018 fishing year southern bluefin tuna Total Allowable Catch of 88 tonnes which will be achieved by:
- retaining the customary Māori allowance of 1 tonne
- increasing the recreational allowance by 12 tonnes to 20 tonnes
- retaining an allowance for other fishing mortality of 20 tonnes
- retaining the Total Allowable Commercial Catch of 971 tonnes
- increasing the available Annual Catch Entitlement for commercial fishers by 76 tonnes.
Background to consultation
MPI sought feedback on proposed options on whether to implement a decision of the Commission for the Conservation of Southern Bluefin Tuna (CCBST) to increase New Zealand's national allocation of southern bluefin tuna in the current fishing year and, if so, how that should be shared between sectors.
The CCSBT is the regional fisheries management organisation responsible for the management of southern bluefin tuna. CCSBT sets the global total allowable catch which is then allocated to individual countries, including New Zealand.
What was proposed?
The most recent allocation agreement provided an increase of 88 tonnes for New Zealand for the 2018 to 2020 period, from 1,000 tonnes per annum to 1,088 tonnes per annum.
An in-season increase would allow New Zealand to apply the increased country allocation granted at the most recent meeting in time to be used within the current fishing year and realise the economic and social benefits from the additional catch.
There were 3 proposed options:
- Option 1 – Maintain the status quo, where the TAC remains unchanged for the remainder of the 2017 to 2018 fishing year
- Option 2 – An in-season increase, with no change to the recreational sector allowance
- Option 3 – An in-season increase, with changes to commercial and recreational sector allowances.
Consultation on the proposed changes closed at 5pm on 9 February 2018.
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