The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) is releasing historical reports dealing with compliance risk profiling of the Southern Blue Whiting fishery that were designed to better inform fisheries management practices and, in turn, raise compliance levels.
MPI manager of compliance investigations Gary Orr says the 2012 exercise, Operation Trois, was intended to give a picture of compliance risk in the Southern Blue Whiting fishery.
"Operation Trois was designed to inform work to support the National Fisheries Plan for Deepwater and Middle-depth Fisheries.
"The purpose of these reports, a summary of which was released on our website last year (2017), was to identify the extent to which the reporting of catch may have been inaccurate and the reasons for those inaccuracies.
"As a result of this work, industry changed its processing procedures which resulted in more accurate reporting and MPI altered conversion factors to ensure the way the fish was processed was more transparent.
"There have been a number of important changes made in deep water fisheries since this exercise with the most notable being the requirement for foreign-owned vessels to be New Zealand flagged. This resulted in a number of foreign charter vessels leaving New Zealand.
"It is also now a requirement for all foreign-owned vessels to have an MPI observer on board.
"These changes and improvements demonstrate the value of all of our risk assessments. They ensure that some behaviours are changed and that fisheries management practices are as transparent as possible."
Mr Orr says MPI has started the process of proactively releasing all of its historical risk assessment reports on its website.
"While these reports are not investigation reports, they do contain analytical techniques which, if shared publicly, could compromise our ability to monitor compliance effectively in the future.
"We have published summaries of these reports in the past in the public interest. However, as some of these historical reports have been leaked to the news media and have been published, we are now taking the step of releasing them all."