The Hauraki Gulf Fisheries Plan (the Plan) has recently been approved by the Minister for Oceans and Fisheries and is now being implemented. Under this plan the control of the fisheries has been taken out of the hands of democratically accountable representatives, now to be managed in a co-governance arrangement between Māori and Crown agencies.
The Plan justifies managing the fisheries along racial lines this way: “providing economic, cultural and social outcomes for iwi is central to how Fisheries New Zealand manages fisheries”.
In effect, as regards the management of fisheries of the Gulf, nothing will happen without the consent of the iwi representatives.
Below are examples of provisions in the Plan to facilitate this arrangement:
“The Annual Operation Plan will be prepared in partnership with Tangata Whenua”.
“Governance structures will support Fisheries New Zealand and tangata whenua to work in partnership on the setting of management objectives and management actions and prioritisation of resourcing…….”
“Facilitate the ongoing input and participation of tangata whenua in fisheries planning, prioritisation, and management, through Hauraki Gulf iwi fisheries forums or other platforms.
“Where iwi fisheries plans exist within the Hauraki Gulf, delivery of management actions within them will be incorporated into the annual planning framework”.
Management Objective 3.2: Support input and participation of tangata whenua in fisheries management decision making and have regard to tangata whenua-led kaitiakitanga, tikanga and mātauranga Māori.
Management Action 3.2.1 • Facilitate transition to customary fishing regulations (either Fisheries (Kaimoana Customary Fishing) Regulations 1998 or new regulations made under s186 of the Act) and support iwi in efforts to use their customary and other management tools including mātaitai, taiāpure, and rāhui (s186a closures).
Financial support will be granted to tangata whenua, presumably by the Government, to facilitate their governance role:
“Support building tangata whenua capacity to participate in governance, management and monitoring of fisheries”.
One area the public may have a say is in the proposed Ahu Moana zones for the co-management of intertidal and nearshore environments in relation to fisheries outcomes.
Ahu Moana areas are recommended in the Sea Change – Tai Timu Tai Pari Marine Spatial Plan, to be co-managed 50-50 by hapū/iwi and local communities. Ahu Moana zones would be localised areas along the length of the Hauraki Gulf and its islands, extending from mean high water springs (the high tide mark) generally out 1km. According to the Sea Change Plan – “On commencement, Ahu Moana will not prevent or restrict commercial or recreational fishing, aquaculture, marine protection, or other activities in these areas. However, the Sea Change Plan notes that there may be a need for such restrictions in the future. Even so, customary harvest may take place in all areas – except during rāhui.
You can read the Hauraki Gulf Fisheries Plan at: mpi.govt.nz/dmsdocument/58396-Hauraki-Gulf-Fisheries-Plan.