Part 2: Alternative Frameworks of Fisheries Management.

In initiating this discussion on fisheries in the Kaipara Harbour we had hoped for some feedback which may have given some insight into how people around the harbour relate to fishing, and their general feelings toward how fishing is and has been governed and managed in the harbour. Unfortunately, to date there has been no feedback. Despite this we will continue the discussion based on existing information and look forward to contributions as the discussion progresses.

Following our outline the next section to this discussion addresses problems facing fishing in the harbour. There are some preliminary points to make. Firstly, for the purpose of this forum, we make the presumption that there is a desire among the communities of the Kaipara Harbour that a commercial fishing industry, in some form, be sustained within the harbour. We take this position from earlier work published in December 2003 by the Kaipara Harbour Sustainable Fisheries Management Group (KHSFMG) Fishing for the Future. The title itself speaks explicitly to the future and the overall goal and purpose of their work has been “[t]o ensure the sustainable utilisation of the fisheries of the Kaipara Harbour so that this resource meets the economic, social and cultural needs of existing and future generations” (2003; 19). Furthermore, the membership of that forum was made up of both recreational and commercial fishermen and women (2003; 14-17) indicating a level of agreement between those sectors, rather than opposition.

A second point that needs some clarification for this forum is the distinction between commercial fishing, recreational fishing, and customary catch allocation. When the overall wellbeing of the Kaipara Harbour fisheries is under discussion this distinction cannot always be clearly defined. Indeed, some members of the KHSFMG forum are described as having interests in both recreational and commercial sectors. Some of the problems facing the commercial sector have implications on the recreational and customary sectors. Governance and management strategies are then negligent to focus on one at the exclusion of the other sectors. This forum will be addressing fishing overall; that is, all sectors. When we discuss environmental issues for example, this approach is relatively straight forward; environmental issues impact all sectors. However, in terms of governance and management, the discussion can be expected to become more complex. Having said that, and keeping in mind a fully integrated approach, the task of this forum is to negotiate those complexities.

To begin with and at risk of repetition, we will recap on issues already identified through earlier work, drawing from the Integrated Kaipara Harbour Management Group’s (IKHMG) Gaps Analysis (2010) and KHSFMG’s Fishing for the Future (2003). Both groups identify commercial fishing itself as an historic contributor to the problems faced now by Kaipara Harbour fisheries. Commercial fishing overtime results in demographic changes (changes in the makeup of the population), amongst target and non-target species, possibly over a relatively short period of time. There is no data available for the Kaipara Harbour, but based on models from other areas there is no reason to think that the Kaipara fishery enjoys any exception to these models  (Makey 2017, 288). Records show that the population of West Coast North Island snapper, Quota Management Area (QMA) SNA8, has decreased in average age and size over twenty years and most recent figures (2003 – 4)  indicate “… no evidence of population recovery…” (ibid).

In New Zealand and elsewhere commercial fishing has historically enjoyed varying degrees of self-management. To their credit, in recent years commercial fishers have taken the initiative to voluntarily reduce their catch in some QMAs around New Zealand where governance has been slow to respond to anecdotal evidence of dwindling stocks (Peart: 67-8). However, such voluntary acts of conservation have not always been the norm. Commercial fishers have been slow to respond to environmental damage despite declining catches. This is, in part at least, as a consequence of their methods, (Peart: 70-92).

In the Kaipara Harbour commercial fishers have also been negligent. Historically, the harbour fisheries were perceived by early European settlers as abundant. Commercial operations were exploiting the resource as early as 1882 but it was not long before depleted stocks became evident. During 1913 twenty boats were fishing the harbour and by “… 1928 one hundred fishermen were reported as being employed on the harbour”.  Japanese commercial trawling began on the West Coast off the mouth to Kaipara Harbour during the 1950s, soon followed by New Zealand trawlers and later pair trawlers. West Coast snapper stocks were depleted over twenty to thirty years, having a negative impact on inner harbour stocks. Improved technologies and methods of the inner harbour launch based fisheries also led to improved (higher) catches. In more recent years a failure by commercial fishers to reach agreement over practice and management amongst themselves and with governance, has exacerbated problems facing the Kaipara Harbour fisheries (The Kaipara Harbour Sustainable Fisheries Management Study Group 2003, 6) Commercial fishing has to a large degree then been the architects of their own demise elsewhere and on the Kaipara Harbour. Furthermore, the KHSFMG have explicitly defined four problematic points of reference facing the fishery. All four are seen as a result of “… increased commercial fishing effort applied to the flounder (FLA), grey mullet (GMU) and rig (SPO) fisheries …” (KHSFMG 2003; 10).

  • “ … combination of increasing part-time fishers
  • the ability to work many areas of the Kaipara in various weather conditions
  • trawling and long-lining operating along and adjacent to the Kaipara entrance
  • and changing fishing rules …”

These are seen as cumulative problems facing the fishery and are themselves the legacy of commercial fishing practice.

Historically then, self-management or variations of it appear problematic. However, Peart identifies self-management as the fourth key element for the establishment of the QMS; the establishment of joint entities of quota holders to oversee the governance of the fishery, designed “to enable effective collective action” (Peart 2017, 21). Makey, on behalf of the Integrated Kaipara Harbour Management Group (IKHMG), cites a lack of local management and a lack of kaitiakitanga (local iwi stewardship) as an ongoing issue facing the fisheries and communities of the Kaipara Harbour (Makey 2017, 292-3). But these two models of self-management, on the one hand motivated by commercial interest and on the other founded on community values, would seem in opposition to each other. What would an ongoing and effective model of management over commercial fishing in the Kaipara Harbour look like? Can commercial interest and community values be conciliated?

Makey identifies three potentially conflicting- “categories of relationship” that require consideration when management decisions over commercial fishing in the Kaipara Harbour are under scrutiny:

  • Competition within the fishing industry
  • Relationships between fisheries and other coastal users, such as aquaculture, sand mining, energy and coastal development
  • Relationships between fisheries and charismatic mega–fauna (e.g. dolphins, orca, seals) (Makey 2017, 292)

These three relational categories exemplify locally identified points of reference to serve decision making protocol. They are not considered under the current management regime.

Current fisheries management under the QMS does not take into consideration “… environmental, economic, cultural and social impacts of resource use …” (Makey 2017, 293). Scholars have recognised the socio-economic and environmental benefits of local management of inshore fisheries,(Peart 2017, 108-112; Pinkerton 2015). And as a further example of the value of local knowledge it is locally recognised that “[t]he level … and scale … at which quota was set meant that these catch restrictions have never served as an effective constraint on fishing pressure for the main target species … in the Kaipara” (KHSFMG 2003; 6). However this knowledge has been ignored at government level.

Locally it is well understood that it is inappropriate that the Kaipara Harbour, an inshore estuarine harbour be included in oceanic QMAs. This is an example where decision making from central government has been founded on expedience rather than scientific rational or indeed local knowledge. Delineating QMAs was undertaken with “a rudimentary knowledge of species distribution” and a need for departmental expedience. As a result QMA delineation does not correlate with the “geographical range of [the] biological stock” (Peart 2017, 25-6).

In 2003 the KHSFMG argued for “…collective stakeholder management, underpinned through the statutory powers of the Minister and the Fisheries Act …” (2003; 13). Who the stakeholders are at this point, remains unclear but it is recognised that the powers of central government are engaged.

In November 2016 a workshop was held where a model for future fisheries management was discussed which included “co-governance” over the Kaipara Harbour. Here it was also recognised that “… there will be a need for statutory underpinning of what we do” (Integrated Kaipara Harbour Management Group – Fisheries sub-komiti 2016). But the point is that there has been considerable thought into some form of local self-management of fisheries in the Kaipara Harbour.

Going back to our question, can commercial interests and community values be conciliated, we have investigated institutional arrangements for common property that equally considers noneconomic values.  For example, Bresnihan (Bresnihan 2016) likens fisheries to common ground and introduces ideas about commons management or “commoning”. Under his model the introduction of commodity market logic to fisheries management under quota management schemes is comparable and related to the “closure of the commons” or what was in effect the privatisation of community land. While the privatisation of the New Zealand fisheries appears to be complete under the QMS, some of Bresnihan’s ideas about “commoning” are relevant in terms of local management. Under similar circumstances to the Kaipara Harbour, in Bresnihan’s site of research, a small fishing village on the western Irish coast, local knowledge of generations of inshore fisherman has been ignored by the regulatory institutions. This local knowledge in practice defines commoning. In this sense Bresnihan conceptualises the commons not so much as a spatial environment but as practices and knowledge systems that interact fully within it. “It is not a ‘thing’ but the mesh of humans, animals, plants, land, technologies, and knowledge that enables the making and sharing of ‘things’”  (Bresnihan 2016, 128). The commons is then a way of doing things and is not simply human focused. It is “more than human” and the commons necessitates “commoning”.

While it sounds somewhat academic and to some, even idealistic, this approach has merit. Perhaps one of its strongest points is the requirement of community participation and the potential to put management of the local industry into the hands of the community at an integrated level; that is, where management is overseen from the catch to the end user.  Raewyn Peart documents anecdotal evidence of the Kaipara fisheries before the introduction of the QMS that reflects some of these characteristics.

“… it was mainly locally based fishers [who] knew the harbour intimately … There was a culture of looking after the fishery and after each other …We would discuss what areas could be worked and which areas needed a rest.” (Peart 2017, 57)

A key critique of QMS arrangements is that, in one form or another, QMS’s has had a negative impact on locally based inshore fisheries throughout the world. Drawing from her research on the salmon and halibut fisheries of British Columbia, Canada, Evelyn Pinkerton (Pinkerton 2015) examines “traditional moral practices and understandings” and how these have been eroded under neo-liberal management where emphasis is on “efficiency and capital accumulation”. She proposes the introduction of a ‘moral economy’ into the management regime. Her model counters the “bio-economic” foundation of the rationalising process and draws parallels with the concept of ‘commoning’ in the sense of how things are done for overall “well-being”. “The term has been applied to almost any economic policy which recognises that moral values matter in achieving the socio-economic goals of any society …” (Pinkerton 2015, 411).

Pinkerton identifies three elements necessary to achieving a morally founded management regime; local access and tenure to local fishing grounds; equal economic opportunity to differently sized and equipped boats, and for limitation on corporate ownership of license and boats. She also argues in favour of the share system which divides some of the catch amongst the crew. Regarded as the antithesis to economic efficiency, the share system has come under attack by “neoliberal economists”, but Pinkerton maintains that the share system facilitates place and occupational identity and describes it as “[o]ne of the most widespread manifestations of a moral economy …” (Pinkerton 2015, 412).

Both commoning and a moral economy are only two examples of alternative systems of management that begin to reflect an overall principle of social justice. Social justice is a complex area of thought that is possibly best understood as “… a society that truly values human worth and dignity” (Reisch 2002, 349). But what would a commercial fishing management regime look like founded on the principles of social justice or more specifically, principles of equality, justice and self-determination? It would firstly require an ethic of care as an input[1] measure into fisheries management (personal communication Leane Makey) and it would be required to go beyond being human-centric to consider nature relations. Indeed there would be times when humanity would be required to take second place; when, for example, the integrity of the harbour would take priority over the wants of humanity. It is hoped that these are the sort of questions that can be addressed through this forum.

To gain some insight into what it means to bring social justice into fisheries management it may help to look at some of the social injustices facilitated under the current regime. There is a considerable amount of recent literature to draw from. For example Fiona McCormack’s comparative critique of New Zealand, Icelandic, and Irish fisheries explains how they have all been affected by the introduction of some configuration of QMS. The level of privatisation and the subsequent ability to trade quota differs between them, but the outcomes are very similar; the loss of fisheries affecting mostly small, local fishers and coastal, rural communities. Furthermore, in the three cases the introduction of QMSs has required heavy handed political intervention and has at the same time been highly contentious and contested (McCormack 2016).

Next Stage:

Part 3 of our fisheries blog will look more closely at the status of Kaipara nature – defined as Kaipara ecosystems, such as status of shellfish stocks, seagrass habitat and invasive species.  Part 4 will consider the state of other inshore fisheries in the upper North Island like the Manukau, Hokianga and Tauranga.  Any comments on such harbours please let us know.

References cited

Bresnihan, Patrick. “The More-Than-Human Commons: From Commons to Commoning.” In Transforming the Fisheries: Neoliberalism, Nature, and the Commons. Nebraska: University of Nebraska Press, 2016.

Integrated Kaipara Harbour Management Group – Fisheries sub-komiti. “Synopsis of Workshop Held Friday 25th November 2016 at Wellsford Library “: IKHMG, 2016.

Makey, Leane. 2010. Restoring Sustainable Use of Fish & Invertebrate Stocks.  In,  IKHMG, http://www.kaiparaharbour.net.nz/Content/Publications/Chapter10RestoringSustainableUseofFishFinal.pdf 19-09-2017. (accessed September, 2017).

McCormack, Fiona. “Quota Systems: Repositioning Value in New Zealand, Icelandic and Irish Fisheries.” In Anthropologies of Value: Cultures of Accumulation across the Global North and South, edited by Luis Fernando Angosto-Ferrandez and Geir Henning Presterudstuen, 175 – 97: Pluto Books, 2016.

Peart, Raewyn. Voices from the Sea: Experiencing New Zealand’s Fisheries Management System: Unpublished draft copy, 2017.

Pinkerton, Evelyn. “The Role of Moral Economy in Two British Columbia Fisheries: Confronting Neoliberal Policies.” Marine Policy 61 (2015): 410-19.

Reisch, MIchael. “Defining Social Justice in a Socially Unjust World.” Families in Society: The Journal of Contemporary Human Services 83, no. 4 (2002): 343-54.

The Kaipara Harbour Sustainable Fisheries Management Group, (KHSFMG). “Fishing for the Future: A Strategy for the Fisheries of the Kaipara Harbour “, 2003.

 

 

 

[1] Fisheries management commonly includes both input and outpueasures.  QMS systems are predominatly output systems and lack input measures or controls such as size limits, spatial restrictions and closures.

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Part 1: Kaipara Fisheries and its Social-Ecosystem

It has been three years since our last ‘blog’ post and you are probably wondering where we have been, what we have been doing.  If you are interested in this, check out the IKHMG Facebook for a quick update.

We are intending to re-start our blog with a more strategic dialogue function on particular topics that may need more critical thinking, strategic and long-term analysis which we don’t tend to do in our Facebook entries or our Kaipara ripples & waves e-newsletter.

A key purpose of IKHMG is to promote and coordinate integrated management and action.  The Kaipara harbour strategic plan provides ideas how implementation of this should be strategically approached, given the social, political, economic and institutional context of the Kaipara.  The plan asks for information and knowledge to be respectably co-produced from both science and mātauranga Māori.  In addition, innovative methods are required to address the large, complex and conflicting issues, values and perspectives and practices, and the plan provides an example, in that innovation seek to incorporate a trans-disciplinary approach to achieving the longterm objective of integrated management and coordinated inter-agency management.

With this in mind it is our intention to continue and extend the work of the IKHMG by promoting discussion that encapsulates the amalgamation of scientific objectivity, mātauranga-hapū ki kaipara, and community founded knowledge.

It should be noted that discussion generated here adheres to an integrated perspective. It can be expected then that any area of discussion will inevitably overlap into others. So, for example, while our first topic of discussion is fisheries, to isolate fisheries from the many other facets of the Kaipara Harbour is regarded by this forum as contradictory to the principle of integrated management.

Critical analysis of Kaipara fisheries

Our first topic of critical thought will be on the corporatisation of fisheries. We bring a four-part analysis of the activity of fisheries and the social-ecosystem in which it operates.

Part 1 will seek to identify the problem(s) facing Kaipara Harbour fisheries. We will initially draw from existing material compiled by the IKHMG and the Fisheries Subkomiti. Secondary sources will include recent international critiques of fisheries management with a particular focus on inshore fisheries. From there it is envisaged discussion will add to a broad oversight into identifying the problem(s) surrounding Kaipara Harbour fisheries, on the understanding that any conclusion is not a final model; the purpose is to encourage and generate ongoing discussion.

In consideration of Part 1, we will explore in Part 2 alternative frameworks for fisheries management, developing a critique of existing management systems. We suggest the writing of an alternative fisheries ecosystem model should suggest at least 3 frameworks:

1) Commoning

2) Social-ecological systems

3) Ecosystem-based management (EBM)

Why would we look at these three models?  Because we are interested in social inequality and power/control dynamics within common property regimes like Fisheries management, and the implications of such struggles for social justice and ‘good’ management of resources. This section will examine what is meant by these terms and the implications thereof, drawing from recent global case studies of inshore fisheries.

Part 3 asks if the Kaipara Harbour is an isolated case. To this end we approach our west coast cousins; Kawhia, Hokianga, Aotea, Whaingaroa (Raglan) and Manukau, with the possibility of extending the discussion beyond the west coast of the North Island, to include, for example, Tauranga Moana.

Part 4 looks at implementing an equitable, sustainable, and just framework for an integrated fisheries ecosystem-based management regime. What would this look like; what would be the purpose and goals of such a regime; what are the roles and responsibilities; what practices will be adopted for what outcomes; what moral and ethical principles will guide this regime?

Feedback, comments:

We encourage you to become involved in this forum and ask to add your views, comments, and/or questions in the “comments” section below.

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Graeme Sait – World Soil Health Expert (Guest speaker at our event)

Don’t miss this chance to hear a World leader in soil, human and planetary wellness speak.

 guest-speaker - graeme sait

Graeme Sait is the CEO and co-founder of Nutri-Tech Solutions (NTS), a world leader in biological agriculture. He is also an internationally renowned speaker, an expert in nutrition, author of “Nutrition Rules” and has published over 300 articles.

Graeme travels the world spreading the word about the importance of soil and human nutrition. He created the internationally acclaimed, four day, Certificate in Sustainable Agriculture and has trained over 20,000 farmers and consultants internationally. With a depth understanding of ecology, soil, bacteria and fungi, Graeme Sait has the formula to bring the land back into sustainability and strategies of eliminating chemicals that ends up into the Harbour.

His captivating presentations cover every aspect of wellness and his deliverance are infused with entertainment style while delivering educational and inspirational speeches. His presentation are often described as “life changing”.

Do not miss out on this two day symposium of Kaipara Moana   Looking Back…Thinking Forward event happening this weekend 15-16 November, Te Ao Marama Centre, Te Hana. Don’t’ forget that the event will be filled with expert speakers including acclaimed nutrition specialist – Graeme Sait.

Please register and come and learn strategies to improve the health of our farm, our Harbour, our land and our water.

http://www.kaiparaharbour.net.nz/KaiparaMoana#

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Discover the world where you live – conservation week

Discover what the Kaipara Harbour has to offer through the work of IKHMG

fish nursery

The Kaipara Harbour is 947 km2 with 800 kilometre shorelines and is the second largest Harbour in the southern hemisphere. It is a large estuary and supports an array of fish species, oysters, mussels and scallops. The Harbour is also home to juvenile snapper, and it is estimated that about 90% of New Zealand snapper use this Harbour as a nursery. Juvenile snapper are attracted to the Harbour because of its sea-grass. Sea-grass are very important for the juvenile snapper as they provide a nursery home for fish. Sea-grass also help trap sand and mud deterring both from making it into the nursery. As sediments and farm run-off from the river banks finds its ways in the Harbour this causes problems for the nurseries.

The Integrated Kaipara Harbour Management Group (IKHMG) has been working with landowners to clean up their local waterways through planting and fencing. IKHMG has also established eight flagship sites (a mix of dairy, sheep, beef and limestone quarry) that were set up to showcase best practice and improve the management of their land. IKHMG has been working on restoring wetlands within the Kaipara region through tree planting. They hope to plant 2 million trees by 2015, as these will help filter sediments and waste that usually end up in the harbour. IKHMG has also been working together with stakeholders and the wider community toward the restoration, health and productivity of the Kaipara Harbour. This collaborative effort has proven to be the backbone of the restoration process.

To find out more about the work of the IKHMG and how you may get involved, come along to the IKHMG inauguration event ‘Kaipara Moana – looking back…thinking forward’ being held this November 15 -16, 2014 at Te Hana Te Ao Marama, Te Hana, NZ.

For more information on how to register follow this link http://www.kaiparaharbour.net.nz/KaiparaMoana#

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Pre-register for IKHMG Events!

We are 10 days out!

listen to the radio advert, inviting you to the IKHMG’s inaugural event happening on 15 -16 November 2014  focusing on the health and productivity of the Kaipara moana

The Kaipara Harbour is the largest in the Southern Hemisphere – covers 94,700ha and soaks up run-off from a river network of more than 9000km, in a 6400sq km catchment. More than half of that catchment supports productive pasture. Keeping this harbour safe and health has been one of the work IKHMG has been involved in. This event is an opportunity to learn of all the hard work that has been happening over the last 10 years and ways to go forward.

There is still time to register for the ‘Kaipara Moana’ Looking Back… Thinking Forward event – kaiparaharbour.net.nz/KaiparaMoana

 

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Tim Brandenburg – Fonterra Project Manager Living Water Partnership

Here is our latest video of Tim Brandenburg talking about the challenges the Kaipara Harbour has been facing and how we need to understand the effect of the environment such as climate change plus how we can work together to change these challenges.

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Introducing Willie Wright Chairman of IKHMG explaining how the group began

checkout the latest video with Willie Wright explaining how the and why the group began

Take this opportunity to also celebrate a 10 year partnership, and experience first hand the IKHMG has been doing and  to network, to share knowledge, and to support action under the theme of a ‘Kaipara Moana: looking back, thinking forward‘.

register for the event of the inauguration on 15, 16 November 2014
>>> kaiparaharbour.net.nz/KaiparaMoana

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