Ministry for Fisheries, New Zealand

Strategy for managing the environmental effects of fishing (2005)


1.6 Core principles

Drawing on the Fisheries Act 1996, the Ministry of Fisheries Strategic Plan 2003-2008, the approach to fisheries management set out in the Ministry of Fisheries Statement of Intent 2005-2008, and other environmental instruments and international agreements, it is possible to identify principles relevant to managing the environmental effects of fishing. These principles should guide the implementation of this Strategy in terms of overall approach, process design and operation, and decision-making. They should also provide the basis for the monitoring framework that will be used to assess the effectiveness of the Strategy.

A number of generic principles, which should influence the Strategy as a whole, are set out below. Other, more specific, principles are listed at the beginning of the relevant sections of the Strategy. Principles relevant to the Strategy as a whole are:

  • Avoid, remedy, or mitigate any adverse effects of fishing on the aquatic environment.

  • Give effect to the purpose of the Fisheries Act 1996 (to provide for the utilisation of fisheries resources while ensuring sustainability), and the overall fisheries outcome set out in the Ministry of Fisheries Statement of Intent 2005–2008 (value is maximised).

  • Meet New Zealand ’s international obligations.

  • Clearly define roles, responsibilities, and accountabilities.

  • Adopt a “learning culture” to support improvement of environmental effects management over time.

  • Use best available information.

  • Take into account wider (non-fisheries) New Zealand government priorities.

  • Monitor and assess effects of fishing on an ongoing basis.

Setting environmental standards

2.2.1 Principles

Key principles relevant to the setting of environmental standards are:

  • Prioritising species and habitats for the development of standards should be based on analysis of risk-including consideration of probability, impact, reversibility, information availability, and tangata whenua and stakeholder concerns.

  • Processes for setting environmental standards should incorporate consideration of environmental factors and social values.

  • The degree of caution exercised in determining biological limits should take into account the nature of available information.

  • Tangata whenua and stakeholders should have opportunity to contribute to the development of standards.

  • An adaptive approach should to be taken to setting standards, particularly where information is uncertain.

  • Where practicable, standards should be designed to allow flexibility in the mechanisms by which the standards can be achieved.

  • Compliance and enforcement costs should be considered when determining the nature of environmental standards.

Managing fisheries to achieve environmental standards

2.3.1 Principles

The key principles relevant to managing fisheries to meet environmental standards are:

  • The onus to demonstrate that the effects of fishing are within environmental standards should be on those responsible for managing the fishery.

  • Environmental impact assessment (EIA) methods should consider all effects on habitats and species and be consistent across fisheries.

  • Implementation of management measures should be verifiable and monitored.

  • Determination of management measures necessary to meet environmental standards should take into account the views and interests of tangata whenua and stakeholders.

Monitoring and reporting

2.5.1 Principles

The key principles relevant to monitoring and reporting are:

  • Where possible, monitoring of performance should be against agreed outcomes and standards; where this is not practicable, agreed proxies for the outcomes should be used.

  • Monitoring systems should meet minimum requirements to ensure effective monitoring and maintain the confidence of tangata whenua and stakeholders.

  • Monitoring should be used to inform the continued development of the Strategy.

  • The results of monitoring should be presented in a manner accessible to tangata whenua and stakeholders.