New Zealand Fisheries Act 1996


The Act's principles are contained in sections 9 and 10.  Under this statute, "all persons exercising or performing functions, duties, or powers ... in relation to the utilisation of fisheries resources or ensuring sustainability" have a duty to "take into account" the following principles:

9(a):   Associated or dependent species should be maintained above a level
           that ensures their long-term viability;

9(b):   Biological diversity of the aquatic environment should be maintained;

9(c):   Habitat of particular significance for fisheries management should be

10(a): Decisions should be based on the best available information;

10(b): Decision makers should consider any uncertainty in the information
           available in any case; and

10(c):  Decision makers should be cautious when information is uncertain,
            unreliable, or inadequate.

10(d):  The absence of, or any uncertainty in, any information should not be used as
           a reason for postponing or failing to take any measure to achieve the purpose 
           of this Act.

Comment: it is noteworthy that, when this Act was drafted, more powerful and more detailed principles had been developed at the international level (for example, through the FAO code of conduct for responsible fisheries 1995). Those drafting the New Zealand legislation would have been well aware of these developments.  It is also noteworthy that the Act could have obliged players "to give effect to" the listed principles, rather than merely "to take into account".