Removal of fee charged to vessel operators for observers to supervise returning fish to the sea

Closing Date:

Consultation update – 7 December 2015

Government's decision

Consultation has closed and the Government has made a decision on the removal of fees charged to vessel operators for observers to supervise returning fish to sea managed under the Quota Management System. The changes will come into effect on 20 December 2015.

The Government's decision letter provides the details of the decision and the reasons for it. Further information can be found in the decision document.

In summary, the fee's removal will result in:

  • cost savings for MPI as administrative costs associated with invoicing vessel operators are approximately double the revenue generated
  • cost savings for vessel operators – operators already pay for most observer coverage and an additional charge for a standard component of observer duties represents double charging
  • more accurate information on the fate of fish taken in New Zealand waters – the presence of the fee influences behaviour on some vessels, with crew taking steps to avoid having to pay it.

Also in the decision letter

Background to consultation

MPI sought feedback from tangata whenua and stakeholders on the proposal to remove the fee charged to fishing vessels operators for observers to supervise the return to the sea of fish managed under the Quota Management System. Consultation ran from 20 April 2015 to the 18 May 2015.

The proposal

MPI is consulting on the removal of the fee charged to fishing vessel operators for observers to supervise returning fish to the sea.

With a limited number of exceptions, commercial fishers are prohibited from returning any fish managed under the Quota Management System to the sea. One such exception is when the return is authorised by a fishery officer or observer. Fisheries regulations currently require MPI to charge a fee to vessel operators for each occasion on which observers or fishery officers supervise fish being returned to the sea. MPI is proposing that the regulations be amended to remove the requirement to charge a fee (the provision allowing observers or fishery officers to authorise fish being returned to the sea would remain unchanged).

The primary benefits of removing the requirement to charge a fee are that:

  • It would result in cost savings for MPI as administration costs associated with the process of invoicing vessel operators are approximately double the revenue generated.
  • It would result in cost savings for vessel operators. Vessel operators already pay for most observer coverage and an additional charge for a standard component of observer duties represents double charging.
  • More accurate information on the fate of fish taken in New Zealand waters would result. The presence of the fee is known to influence behaviour on some vessels, with crew taking steps to avoid having to pay it. Removing the fee will avoid incentives to alter behaviour with regard to returning fish to the sea when an observer or fisheries officer is on board the vessel.

Consultation document

How to make a submission

Consultation on the proposal to remove the fee charged to fishing vessel operators for observers to supervise returning fish to the sea is open until 18 May 2015.

You can send your submission to MPI by email or post.

Email: FMSubmissions@mpi.govt.nz

Post:
Deepwater Fisheries Management
Ministry for Primary Industries
PO Box 2526
Wellington 6011

Note that your submission is public information. Submissions may be the subject of requests for information under the Official Information Act 1982 (OIA). The OIA specifies that information is to be made available to requesters unless there are sufficient grounds for withholding it, as set out in the OIA. Submitters may wish to indicate grounds for withholding specific information contained in their submission, such as the information is commercially sensitive or they wish personal information to be withheld. Any decision to withhold information requested under the OIA is reviewable by the Ombudsman.

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