Limits to co-management - the case of New Zealand Public Deposited

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  • New Zealand’s quota management system, the QMS, has for years been considered as one of the most successful rights-based fisheries management system in the world. Although the hard evidence is at best patchy, New Zealand’s fishing industry is performing well ahead of most competitors, both in economic, biological and administrative terms. Part of the explanation to this relative success has been the co-management system set up between industry and government. Most operators are now organised in Quota Owner Associations (QOAs) and these have in many cases been allocated important management functions. Central functions like the registry service is now delegated to the industry (Fishserve) and the industry is also paying 60% of the total management costs. For years co-management has been considered an issue between government and the fishing industry, with the claim that ”user pay, user say”. More recently other stakeholders, such as Maori customary and recreational fishers, aquaculture farmers as well as environmental interests have challenged this vision of co-management. All claim rights, that are not compatible with the QMS in its most narrow sense. One solution could imply making other user-rights compatible with the QMS and let the market decide, a solution advocated by many economists. Another way around the problem is to solve the user conflicts through local planning, a solution that is now being introduced in the form of Fisheries Plans. Both solutions seem to be running into severe difficulties, indicating that fisheries management is more than ”getting the incentives right”. The main thrust of the article is to indicate that co-management in its traditional form can be perceived as an obstacle to a wider stakeholder participation. Giving secure rights only to one group (as the QMS) will in the next instance create conflicts and demands from other participants involved. The empirical evidence is largely based on my role as participant observer in the Ministry of Fisheries in 2000/2001, further detailed in Hersoug (2002).
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  • Hersoug, Bjørn. 2002. Limits to co-management - the case of New Zealand. In: Proceedings of the Eleventh Biennial Conference of the International Institute of Fisheries Economics and Trade, August 19-22, 2002, Wellington, New Zealand: Fisheries in the Global Economy. Compiled by Ann L. Shriver. International Institute of Fisheries Economics & Trade, Corvallis, Oregon, USA, 2002. CD ROM.
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