New Zealand's Quota Management System (2011)

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Contents

Introduction

New Zealand’s Quota Management System (QMS) has been world leading in fisheries management ever since its introduction in 1986. The motive for changing to the QMS was due to dangerous declines in fish stocks and a ‘race to catch fish’ attitude. The QMS is an Individual Transferable Quota (ITQ) system which estimates the total allowable catch (TAC) of each species for specific quota management areas (QMAs) in New Zealand’s 200 nautical mile exclusive economic zone (EEZ).
New Zealand QMA's<ref>R. Connor (2001) Initial Allocation of Individual Transferable Quota in New Zealand Fisheries, Case studies on the allocation of transferable quota rights in fisheries, Centre for Resource & Environmental Studies, Australian National University, Canberra, Australia</ref>.

The QMS was introduced to fulfil 3 key objectives

  • Sustainability
    • Ensure all catches are limited to levels that can be sustained long term
    • Rebuild New Zealand's fish stocks when required
  • Efficiency
    • Ensure all catches are harvested in a way which maximises benefit to industry in New Zealand
    • Manage the fisheries so that industry retains maximum security of access and flexibility of harvesting
  • Equity and Administrative Efficiency
    • Integrate the management of both inshore and deepwater fisheries
    • Develop a management system which can be applied both nationally and regionally

No other country has used ITQ to the extent New Zealand has, therefore, it's success has gained it interest from other countries. Success of the QMS can be merited to characteristics of New Zealand. Firstly, because of the nation's geographic isolation, it shares no resources with neighbouring countries and so there are no external factors influencing the system. Secondly, New Zealand benefits from a system whereby one government is responsible for all jurisdictions <ref> Aranda, M. and Christensen, AS. (2009) The New Zealand Quota Management System (QMS) and its Complementary Mechanisms, in Hauge K. H., Wilson D. C., editors. Comparative Evaluations of Innovative Fisheries Management: Global Experiences and European Prospects. Dordrecht: Springer; 2009. p. 19-42.</ref>. The QMS allows participation for all stakeholders who can give their input to all matters and it ensures economic efficiency by requiring low levels of governmental intervention.

However, the implementation of the system is not perfect, resulting in problems which will be discussed on this page.

We aim to critically evaluate the QMS as one of New Zealand's environmnetal management tools. In order to fully evaluate New Zealand's QMS, this page will compare with Australia's Fisheries Management Authority and Japan's Fisheries Management System.

History

The introduction of the quota management system in 1986 indicated a transformation of fisheries management in New Zealand from one of confused ideology and implementation to an economically efficient and sophisticated system. The history of New Zealand’s transition towards a succinct management system follows a particular process that replicates that of many other nations around the world. The initial strict licensing and non-development policies are followed by a period of total deregulation and encouragement of industry expansion that inevitably leads to an environmental crisis in the face of depleting fish stocks. From this point, different nations have followed a variety of management systems, all aiming to maximize profitability in a way that still promotes sustainability. The QMS was the New Zealand government’s attempt to find this environmental and economic balance.

The Early Days

Maori had always depended heavily on fishing as a primary food source but because population numbers were so low before British arrival in Aotearoa, the impact on fish stocks was minimal. The first fisheries-based legislation came into being in 1908 with the passing of the Fisheries Act <ref name=" Clark, I. and Major, P."> Clark, I. and Major, P. (1988) 'Development and Implementation of New Zealand's ITQ Management System', "Marine Resource Economics" 5, 325-349.</ref>. Prior to this act, fishing went entirely unchecked and unmanaged in New Zealand <ref name=" Hughey, K."> Hughey, K. (1997) 'Fisheries Management in New Zealand: Privatising thePolicy Net to Sustain the Catch?', "Environmental Politics" 6(4), 140-149.</ref>. The situation at the time was characterized by a small industry, confined primarily within a few hundred meters of the shore while New Zealand’s deeper waters were exploited by the Japanese and Koreans, and later the Soviet Union <ref name=" Clark, I. and Major, P."> Clark, I. and Major, P. (1988) 'Development and Implementation of New Zealand's ITQ Management System', "Marine Resource Economics" 5, 325-349.</ref>. The initial juridical boundary only extended 3 nautical miles, so vessels tended to be smaller and remained close to shore <ref name=" Clark, I. and Major, P."> Clark, I. and Major, P. (1988) 'Development and Implementation of New Zealand's ITQ Management System', "Marine Resource Economics" 5, 325-349.</ref>. Although the act advocated the need for biological protection by way of regulatory policies, in reality little active management took place <ref name=" Hughey, K."> Hughey, K. (1997) 'Fisheries Management in New Zealand: Privatising thePolicy Net to Sustain the Catch?', "Environmental Politics" 6(4), 140-149.</ref>. By 1938 the management system relied heavily on gear controls and the restriction of areas prescribed for fishing, indicating specific ports from which vessels could be launched <ref name=" Clark, I. and Major, P."> Clark, I. and Major, P. (1988) 'Development and Implementation of New Zealand's ITQ Management System', "Marine Resource Economics" 5, 325-349.</ref>. The implications of the Act and these management measures were to successfully limit the industry to small numbers and this was the case for a number of decades. Eventually, the economic potential of fisheries in New Zealand was realized and the increasing demand required the government to rethink the legislation.

The Boom

By the early 1960s it was obvious that restrictive licensing was ineffective in conserving fish stocks. The government was allowing others (primarily the Japanese) to exploit the deeper waters without reaping any of the benefits. After the Scott Report was released in 1964, the government quickly put an end to these strict controls and totally deregulated the industry <ref name=" Clark, I. and Major, P."> Clark, I. and Major, P. (1988) 'Development and Implementation of New Zealand's ITQ Management System', "Marine Resource Economics" 5, 325-349.</ref>. Fisheries growth was encouraged through incentives for investors, tax breaks and grants provided by central government <ref name=" Clark, I. and Major, P."> Clark, I. and Major, P. (1988) 'Development and Implementation of New Zealand's ITQ Management System', "Marine Resource Economics" 5, 325-349.</ref>. The industry boomed throughout the next two decades with the value of fisheries increasing 600 percent in the period 1977-1988 <ref name=" Hughey, K."> Hughey, K. (1997) 'Fisheries Management in New Zealand: Privatising thePolicy Net to Sustain the Catch?', "Environmental Politics" 6(4), 140-149.</ref>. In 1965 the territorial sea was extended from 3 to 12 nautical miles and fishers ventured into these deeper waters, enhancing the rapid growth <ref name=" Gibbs, M."> Gibbs, M. (2008) 'The historical development of fisheries in New Zealand with respect to sustainable development principles', "The Electronic Journal of Sustainable Development 1(2), 23-32.</ref>. New Zealand had found a new export industry through which great revenue could be gained. Fisheries quickly became an important part of the nation’s income.

Restructuring

With the rapid growth of the industry, came serious pressures on fish stocks, particularly on specific species. The cases of the orange roughy, chatam island crayfish and tasman bay spawning snapper all characterize the dangerous biodiversity outcomes of unchecked fish stocks. With the extending of New Zealand’s marine boundary to 200 nautical miles of EEZ in 1977, the government realized the need for management strategies to cater to this enormous new marine area <ref name=" Clark, I. and Major, P."> Clark, I. and Major, P. (1988) 'Development and Implementation of New Zealand's ITQ Management System', "Marine Resource Economics" 5, 325-349.</ref>. New Zealand’s EEZ extension made it the 5th largest in the world <ref name=" Marchal, P., Lallemand, P., Stokes, K. and Thebaud, O."> Marchal, P., Lallemand, P., Stokes, K. and Thebaud, O. (2009) 'A comparative review of the fisheries resource management systems in New Zealand and in the European Union', "Aquatic Living Resources" 22, 463-481.</ref>.
QMS Allocation Cartoon <ref name="Option4"> Option4. (2003) 'Back to the Future', http://www.option4.co.nz/Updates_and_Alerts/update148.htm. Accessed: 1/10/2011 </ref>.
It was decided that the EEZ would be managed separately from the inshore fisheries and so initially the deep waters remained largely unexplored domestically with the government continuing to allow foreign fleets access <ref name=" Clark, I. and Major, P."> Clark, I. and Major, P. (1988) 'Development and Implementation of New Zealand's ITQ Management System', "Marine Resource Economics" 5, 325-349.</ref>. Over the next few years exploitation and overfishing continued in the inshore fisheries and it was not until 1983, when the situation became so grave (both in economic and biological terms) that the government was forced to introduce sustainability focused legislation. The 1983 Fisheries Act restructured fisheries management by advocating the need for ‘maximum return’ and by introducing a rights-based individual transferable quota for deepwater fisheries which they hoped would help avoid the stock depletion seen closer to shore <ref name=" Gibbs, M."> Gibbs, M. (2008) 'The historical development of fisheries in New Zealand with respect to sustainable development principles', "The Electronic Journal of Sustainable Development 1(2), 23-32.</ref>. The emphasis shifted from maximizing catch and productivity to ensuring sustainable growth. However it wasn’t until 3 years later, under the 4th Labour government (infamous for its coinciding neoliberal economic and environmentally focused policy reforms) that the ITQ was extended to inshore fisheries and the specifics of a Quota Management System was clarified in the amendment to the Fisheries Act in 1986.

Since the QMS was introduced in 1986, there have been multiple changes and amendments as knowledge about fish species, population patterns and fishing behaviour improves<ref name=" Lock, K. and Leslie, S."> Lock, K. and Leslie, S. (2007) New Zealand's Quota Management System: A History of the First 20 Years. Motu Working Paper 07-02. Motu Economic and Public Policy Research, pp. 1-75.</ref>. These changes have occurred through at least 30 amendment acts to the Fisheries Act 1986 and 1996.

Implementation

Fisheries management occurs at the individual species level. A species, or stock, describes a unit of measurement for managing a species of fish under the Quota Management System (QMS), a stock can be thought of as the population of a particular species occurring in Fisheries Management Areas. Each stock has a Total Allowable Catch (TAC) , the TAC describes the total amount of fish that can be sustainably taken from a stock in one year <ref name=" Lock, K. and Leslie, S."> Lock, K. and Leslie, S. (2007) New Zealand's Quota Management System: A History of the First 20 Years. Motu Working Paper 07-02. Motu Economic and Public Policy Research, pp. 1-75.</ref>.

The Ministry of Fisheries sets the TAC with reference to the Maximum Sustainable Yield (MSY). The MSY is the largest catch that can be taken from a species stock over an indefinite period. The MSY aims at a balance between too much and too little harvest, it is the yield that can be sustained indefinitely because the harvest is equal to the growth rate of the stock. The TAC could be set so that a stock can be fished down to a size that supports the Maximum Sustainable Yield, or it could be set at a level which lets a stock rebuild <ref>Straker, G., Kerr, S., Hendy, J. (2002). A Regulatory History of New Zealand’s Quota Management System. Draft Motu manuscript</ref>.
Table 1: This table shows the aggregation limits placed on fish stocks under the Quota Management System<ref name=" Lock, K. and Leslie, S."> Lock, K. and Leslie, S. (2007) New Zealand's Quota Management System: A History of the First 20 Years. Motu Working Paper 07-02. Motu Economic and Public Policy Research, pp. 1-75.</ref>..

Each stock has a Total Allowable Commercial Catch (TACC) set for each fishing year. This catch is the amount left over from the TAC after subtracting allowances for recreational and Maori Customary Fishing. The TACC is divided into quota shares called Individual Transferable Quotas (ITQ) which can be owned by individuals or companies. Each ITQ has an Annual Catch Entitlement (ACE), this is the amount of a particular species that can be physically taken in a fishing year by the owner of the quota. Quota owners receive Annual Catch Entitlements in proportion to the size of the share of the TACC they own<ref name=" Lock, K. and Leslie, S."> Lock, K. and Leslie, S. (2007) New Zealand's Quota Management System: A History of the First 20 Years. Motu Working Paper 07-02. Motu Economic and Public Policy Research, pp. 1-75.</ref>.

Commercial fishermen must provide a monthly report of their catch of each fish stock which is compared to their ACE to ensure they don't go over their entitlement. Each fisherman's Annual Catch Entitlement and catch to date is held on a public register.

To prevent one person or entity controlling an entire quota share and having a monopoly on the harvest of a particular stock aggregation limits are placed on stock which are managed by the Quota Management System. These limits range from 10 to 45% of quota shares, depending on species<ref name=" Lock, K. and Leslie, S."> Lock, K. and Leslie, S. (2007) New Zealand's Quota Management System: A History of the First 20 Years. Motu Working Paper 07-02. Motu Economic and Public Policy Research, pp. 1-75.</ref>.

Evaluation

Problems With Predicting Maximum Sustainable Yield

A full catch of Orange Roughy caught in New Zealand

Maximum sustainable yield (MSY) is difficult to determine as it cannot be measured directly. MSY is estimated by seeing how a particular fish stock reacts to pressure. There are a number of issues which need to be taken into account when the MSY for a particular species is estimated, these include the migratory habits of the fish, the age at which they reach sexual maturity and the time of year which they spawn. The Orange Roughy is an example of a fish stock in New Zealand being overfished as the result of inaccurate estimation of MSY. Large reductions in TACC of Orange Roughy were required, however because of the property rights associated with ITQ's this meant the government would have to spend up to $100 million to buy back enough quota to reduce the TACC to a sustainable level. This expense was deemed too high, instead the government introduced legislation to redefine the ITQ to mean that it represented a percentage of the total catch, rather than a fixed tonnage. The result of this was that the government could adjust the TACC without having to pay compensation to quota holders <ref name=" Straker, G., Kerr, S., Hendy, J."> Straker, G., Kerr, S., Hendy, J. (2002). A Regulatory History of New Zealand’s Quota Management System. Draft Motu manuscript</ref>.

Allocation to different sectors

The Total allowable catch (TAC) is set by the Minister of Fisheries. From the TAC, portions are delegated to customary fishing, recreational fishing and the remainder is for the commercial sector as the total allowable commercial catch (TACC) <ref> Ministry of Fisheries (2010) NZ Fisheries InfoSite: Quota Management System (online), available: http://fs.fish.govt.nz/, accessed: 10/09/2011.</ref>. Allocating fishing portions to the different sectors is problematic. The Ministry of Fisheries must prioritise the sectors to determine which receives more fishing allowance <ref name=" Lock, K. and Leslie, S."> Lock, K. and Leslie, S. (2007) New Zealand's Quota Management System: A History of the First 20 Years. Motu Working Paper 07-02. Motu Economic and Public Policy Research, pp. 1-75.</ref>. Current policy requires customary allowance to be identified first. The allowance of customary fishing cannot restrict the customary fishing practices in any way, so the amount allocated to customary fishing needs to be quite substantial <ref name=" Lock, K. and Leslie, S."> Lock, K. and Leslie, S. (2007) New Zealand's Quota Management System: A History of the First 20 Years. Motu Working Paper 07-02. Motu Economic and Public Policy Research, pp. 1-75.</ref>. The priority of recreational and commercial fishing is not defined in the legislation; it is at the discretion of the Minister of Fisheries <ref name=" Lock, K. and Leslie, S."> Lock, K. and Leslie, S. (2007) New Zealand's Quota Management System: A History of the First 20 Years. Motu Working Paper 07-02. Motu Economic and Public Policy Research, pp. 1-75.</ref>. The second problem with allocation of fishing to the different sectors is the inability to accurately quantify the amount fished by the recreational sector. The only collected data that gives any indication of the amount fished is through voluntary surveys, which often fail to be accurate or consistent <ref name=" Lock, K. and Leslie, S."> Lock, K. and Leslie, S. (2007) New Zealand's Quota Management System: A History of the First 20 Years. Motu Working Paper 07-02. Motu Economic and Public Policy Research, pp. 1-75.</ref>. If the actual catch of the recreational sector is larger than the estimate made by the ministry of fisheries, then there is a sustainability problem <ref name=" Lock, K. and Leslie, S."> Lock, K. and Leslie, S. (2007) New Zealand's Quota Management System: A History of the First 20 Years. Motu Working Paper 07-02. Motu Economic and Public Policy Research, pp. 1-75.</ref>.

Social Impacts

While the environmental impacts of the QMS have been deemed a success, there have been some negative social implications. The emphasis on economic efficiency has meant that the small scale, community character of New Zealand’s fisheries has been replaced by a “big man’s industry”. The number of smaller owner-operated vessels has plummeted and while some ports have substantially expanded, others have near disappeared <ref name=" Gibbs, M."> Gibbs, M. (2008) 'The historical development of fisheries in New Zealand with respect to sustainable development principles', "The Electronic Journal of Sustainable Development 1(2), 23-32.</ref>. The large companies such as Sealord have amalgamated much of the commercial quota, the result being many fishers leaving the industry. The economic gains have come at a social cost, with a small concentration of beneficiaries, and a change in livelihood for a number of independent New Zealand fishers.

The Single Species Approach

One of the other primary criticisms of the QMS that is inherent in its management strategy is the focus on individual species. There is no policy that ensures the overall wellbeing of the marine ecosystem, nor the thousands of fish species excluded from the QMS. This is particularly problematic as according to marine biologists, there are likely to be tens of thousands of marine species in New Zealand that we are yet to discover and so we have very little grasp of the exact effects the fishing industry is having, particularly in the deepwater's <ref> Huck, P. (2010). Fish Forever?. New Zealand Herald, http://www.nzherald.co.nz/greenpeace/news/article.cfm?o_id=320&objectid=10648019. accessed: 17 September, 2011. </ref>. A Forest and Bird assessment found that of 75 commercial fisheries analysed, over 2/3rds caused habitat destruction and even more than that had resulted in adverse ecological effects<ref> Huck, P. (2010). Fish Forever?. New Zealand Herald, http://www.nzherald.co.nz/greenpeace/news/article.cfm?o_id=320&objectid=10648019. accessed: 17 September, 2011. </ref>. Fishing techniques such as bottom trawling and dredging, which are known to be destructive to seabed habitat’s, are still permitted in New Zealand <ref name= "la la."> Forest and Bird (2009) The Best Fish Guide 09-10 (online), available: http://www.forestandbird.org.nz/what-we-do/publications/-best-fish-guide, accessed: 13/09/2011.</ref>. The system’s species focused emphasis also fails to recognise the effects of by-catch that results in marine species deaths, most notably to dolphins, fur seals and seabirds. Environmentalists, such as Greenpeace argue that the ideology of the QMS is not holistic enough to provide sustainable protection of the marine environment.

Fish Stock Target Levels

The QMS was seen to be working well with results showing by 2000, 80 percent of fish stocks were already near or at target levels for sustainable harvest <ref name=" Walrond, C."> Walrond, C. (2009) 'Fishing industry - The quota system – an evaluation', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, available: http://www.TeAra.govt.nz/, accessed: 12/09/2011</ref>. In 2010, there were 633 stocks however sufficient information was able to be gathered for only 119 of these stocks. Of these 119, 69 percent were at or above target levels, the remaining 31 percent were considered to be below target levels.
Figure 1: This figure shows the stock status for fish stocks assessed relative to the management targets, 2006-2010 <ref name=" Ministry for the Environment"> Ministry for the Environment (2010) Environment Report Card: Fishing Activity: Fish Stocks (online), available: http://www.mfe.govt.nz/, accessed: 10/09/2011</ref>..
Almost a quarter (24 percent) of all fish stocks are experiencing over fishing<ref name=" Ministry for the Environment"> Ministry for the Environment (2010) Environment Report Card: Fishing Activity: Fish Stocks (online), available: http://www.mfe.govt.nz/, accessed: 10/09/2011</ref>. Three of nine collapsed fish stocks are closed to fishing in order to rebuild. However, strategies have recently been praised by the Fisheries and Aquaculture Minister, Phil Heatley, due to damaged Hoki fish stocks being successfully rebuilt. Through lowering catch limits since the collapse in 2006, the Hoki stock has reached a stable state so the TAC can be increased later this year <ref>Qualasa (2011) New Zealand -Hoki Stocks Recovered (online), available: http://qualasa.wordpress.com/, accessed: 13/09/2011.</ref>.

Although it appears that over time more fish stocks are declining, the comparison to previous years is problematic because more species have been introduced and new methodologies for accessing fish stocks have been employed. It is hard to assess some fish stocks and the impacts the QMS has on slow growing deep water populations, as assessment is expensive and difficult. This can cause a misunderstanding in the TACC and result in overfishing, as did with the orange roughy <ref> Aranda, M. and Christensen, AS. (2009) The New Zealand Quota Management System (QMS) and its Complementary Mechanisms, in Hauge K. H., Wilson D. C., editors. Comparative Evaluations of Innovative Fisheries Management: Global Experiences and European Prospects. Dordrecht: Springer; 2009. p. 19-42.</ref>.

A 2009 global report on fisheries management stated only the Californian Current and New Zealand were going to reach target conservation levels of under 10% of all fish stocks collapsed, judging from current exploitation rates. The report also detailed that only Alaska and New Zealand have employed strategies that act in 'foresight' of overexploitation <ref> Worm, B. (2009) Rebuilding Global Fisheries, Science 325, 578.</ref>.

Catch Balancing

A common issue with commercial fisheries around the world is the amount of bycatch taken by fishers while trying to catch their quota of another species. This unintentional catch means that the TAC, and as a result the MSY for a particular species can be exceeded. Catch balancing systems provide a mechanism for fishers to deal with either excess catch of species for which they have quota, or unintentional catch for species which they don't hold a quota for. One catch balancing system currently used is "banking quota." This system allows quota holders to transfer from one fishing year to the next up to 10% of their unused quota. This system also allows a quota holder to exceed their quota by 10% and offset this by a reduction in their catch in the next fishing year. There a number of issues with this system. By banking quota from one year to the next, the MSY for a particular year could be exceeded by up to 10%. This makes planning for the future difficult as the population could take years to recover from one season of overfishing. The system of banking quota gives too much flexibility around the annual catch entitlement and creates a system where exceeding the ACE is not seen as a serious offence.

The strengths of the Monitoring and Reporting System

The QMS has provided New Zealand with a policy framework that has worked for the last 25 years. The QMS has been relatively effective (the extent of which is obviously debatable) in solving the two largest international issues in fisheries, namely overcapitalization and the use of illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing practices <ref name=" Gibbs, M."> Gibbs, M. (2008) 'The historical development of fisheries in New Zealand with respect to sustainable development principles', "The Electronic Journal of Sustainable Development 1(2), 23-32.</ref>. These achievements can be largely attributed to the mechanisms that support the QMS and ensure that fishers are following protocol. The quota monitoring and reporting system requires fishers to record all their activities in a catch landing log which must be available on demand if an officer requests it. Fishers must also submit a quota management report on a monthly basis which provides information on the numbers of species caught in a particular management area and that fishers' quota allowance. Thirdly, the licensed fish receivers return is a report submitted monthly by those receiving fish from the commercial fisherman, which enables authorities to check that the fisherman are not providing excess of their quota allocation <ref name=" Clark, I. and Major, P."> Clark, I. and Major, P. (1988) 'Development and Implementation of New Zealand's ITQ Management System', "Marine Resource Economics" 5, 325-349.</ref>. The purpose of these three documents is to keep regular tabs on the fisherman and to discourage exploitation. The results of these mechanisms have decreased overcapitalization and IUU and can be therefore seen as a strength of the management system <ref name=" Gibbs, M."> Gibbs, M. (2008) 'The historical development of fisheries in New Zealand with respect to sustainable development principles', "The Electronic Journal of Sustainable Development 1(2), 23-32.</ref>. However, the underfunding of the Ministry of Fisheries means that the monitoring and examination of the fishermen and their practices is not as effective as it has the potential to be.

Conclusion

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We believe the QMS is a world leading example of fisheries management. It's a model that has been applied around the world and seen as the best management system for New Zealand. However, there are a number of improvements which could be made to be more successful in ensuring sustainability and protection of our fisheries. These are;

  • Problems with predicting MSY
  • Prioritizing allocation of quota to different sectors
  • Quantifying the amount taken by the recreational sector
  • Big man's industry
  • Problems with the single species approach; habitat destruction, selected species monitored, bycatch management
  • Catch balancing

We were able to fully evaluate our QMS in comparison to other industrialised countries by comparing it with the Australian Fisheries Management Authority and Japan’s Fisheries Management System. The Australian comparison allowed us to see New Zealand’s lack of harsh penalties for overfishing. They work for smaller and less wealthy fisheries however monetary fines for large commercial fisheries are null and void. Implementing penalties such as imprisonment will act as a greater disincentive for fisheries to overfish. The weaknesses highlighted in the Australian comparison confirm why New Zealand is in fact the world leader in fisheries management. Although Japanese fisheries management is very different from New Zealand's, it exemplifies that flexibility and adaptability within a fishery is essential. As no one fishery is exactly the same, Japan's trial and error approach that has been passed down through generations proves that although uniformity in top down approaches is key, the ability to tailor management to specific social, biological and economic scenarios can help render greater management success.

Taking into account the objectives of the QMS is essential when offering a critique of its successfulness. In reference to the third objective, equity and administrative efficiency, we believe the QMS can be deemed a success. The structure of the QMS has worked effectively since its introduction, particularly so with the recent amendments. The quotas have been adopted by different regional councils reflecting the state of the stocks in their QMAs and the Ministry of Fisheries has coordinated amongst different tiers of government. We see efficiency as another strength of the system, the fishing industry is of great importance as an export and our reputation is good internationally. The downfall of the QMS is in its attempts to ensure environmental sustainability. We argue that this is not the fault of the system itself, but rather the way in which it is implemented. Some of problems that we evaluated are inherent issues; the commercialization of the fishing industry inevitably causes damage to the smaller fishing boats and the allocation of TAC is inherently difficult. Structurally, the QMS provides strict criteria and has a thorough check system for fishers. The primary problem here is the lack of funding. Without sufficient funding the pivotal roles that monitoring and research have to play in the successful implementation of the QMS fall short. The implication of underfunding is that the maximum sustainable yield is not carefully calculated, by-catch and bad fishing practice go unmonitored and research into the overall wellbeing of the marine environment is minimal. There is also need for a mechanism that protects the overall marine ecosystem; bottom trawling and dredging should be outlawed and the state of the seafloor for example needs to be regularly assessed. We believe the QMS has the potential to provide the NZ fishing industry with a healthy balance between sustainability and economic efficiency but it requires a much greater effort and funding boost to achieve this.

References

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