January 13, 2016
Maori rights ditched for Auckland boaties
Environment Minister Nick Smith’s plan to turn the inner Hauraki Gulf into a recreational fishing park has been slammed as an attack on the Maori fisheries settlement.
Jamie Tuuta, the new chair of the Maori fisheries settlement trust Te Ohu Kaimoana, says Maori can accept their rights being curtailed to protect sustainability, but not to gratify Auckland boatmen.
“Locking off inshore areas of the marine environment to commercial fishing in favour of allowing only recreational fishing is not a sustainability issue,” he says.
The proposed legislation will provide a framework for the creation of recreational fishing parks, as well as marine and seabed reserves and species-specific sanctuaries.
It will directly establish large “recreational fishing parks” in the Hauraki Gulf and the Marlborough Sounds.
Mr Tuuta says that will prevent adjacent iwi from exercising customary commercial fishing rights, agreed under the 1992 Deed of Settlement between Māori and the Crown.
The new classes of marine reserves and sanctuaries also propose to exclude all customary fishing – both commercial and non-commercial.
“All of the proposals set out in the Government’s consultation document will have a significant adverse impact on iwi fishing and fishing rights under the 1992 settlement,” Mr Tuuta says.
“The Māori Fisheries Settlement agreed ongoing access to and participation in all fisheries for iwi and Māori. The Government’s announcement rides roughshod over that agreement by proposing to take away iwi fishing rights and take back the recognition of Māori rights that were made a quarter century ago.”
Te Ohu Kaimoana, the Maori fisheries settlement trust, acts on behalf of and provides advice to iwi organisations in matters relating to Maori use of the marine environment, fishing and fishing-related activities.
Chief executive Peter Douglas says if there are real risks to the environment from fishing, then measures should be implemented under the Fisheries Act.
“Te Ohu Kaimoana does not accept the suggestion that additional protection measures are needed outside the Fisheries Act to ensure sustainability. These imply the Minister for Primary Industry has not being doing his job – which we reject,” Mr Douglas says.
He says if ministers want to provide greater levels of protection, they should do so in a manner that is aligned with their duties to actively protect treaty settlements.
Last year Te Ohu Kaimoana objected to the way the Government barred all commercial fishing from Fisheries Management Area 10 around the Kermadec Islands, in response to a campaign by an international environmental organisation to create marine sanctuaries around the Pacific.
“The Government needs take a step back and consider the importance of iwi rights in the development of the proposed marine protected areas legislation. When implementing measures relating to public use of the marine environment, the Government should adopt solutions to problems that are effective while having the least adverse impact on the Maori Fisheries Settlement and Maori fishing rights,” Mr Douglas says.
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