Rachel's Precaution Reporter #44, June 28, 2006
PRECAUTION GUIDES OCEAN FISHERIES POLICY IN NEW ZEALAND
[Rachel's introduction: The New Zealand Conservation Commission in late 2000 adopted precaution as a guideline for managing ocean fisheries.]
By Peter Montague
The New Zealand Conservation Authority (NZCA) in December 2000 adopted a set of principles that relate to governance, preservation and protection, and sustainable use of the marine environment.
The NZCA is a statutory body established by section 6A of the [New Zealand] Conservation Act 1987 whose members are appointed by the Minister of Conservation on the nomination or recommendation of four specified bodies (4 members), after consultation with three specified Ministers of the Crown (5 members) and after the receipt of public nominations (4 members).
This process ensures that a wide range of perspectives contribute to the advice provided and decisions made by the NZCA. The functions of the NZCA are centred on policy and planning which impacts on the administration of conservation areas managed by the Department of Conservation, and on the investigation of any conservation matter it considers is of national importance. The NZCA has the power to advocate its interests at any public forum and in any statutory planning process.
The NZCA has placed a high priority on marine issues and in December 2000 adopted a series of principles that relate to governance, preservation and protection, and sustainable use of the marine environment. The NZCA Marine Principles follow here:
New Zealand Conservation Authority -- Marine Principles
1. Protection of marine biodiversity and marine ecosystems and marine landforms unique to New Zealand is a national and international responsibility.
2. The marine environment will be governed for the benefit of all New Zealanders.
3. The marine environment is viewed as a taonga -- there for everybody and upon which we rely, rather than as a resource base on which to create property rights.
4. Any allocation of rights to use marine resources will be based on robust and appropriate, environmental research.
5. Decision-making will be informed by traditional knowledge of tangata whenua along with new sources of information and research.
6. Where there is insufficient information, the precautionary principle will apply.
Preservation and Protection
7. Priority for protection will be afforded to our unique indigenous flora and fauna.
8. Responsibilities to future generations requires that non-extractive values of the marine environment -- intrinsic values, wildness values, spiritual values, ecosystem services -- are protected.
9. A spectrum of protection mechanisms will be employed to enable communities to be involved in the protection and preservation as well as the rehabilitation and use of marine ecosystems (e.g. taiapure, mahinga mataitai, reserves).
10. Representative, rare, and special marine ecosystems will be preserved in perpetuity as "no take" areas within the limit of the EEZ.
11. The marine environment will be sustainably managed in a way that maintains its potential for future generations.
12. The marine and terrestrial environments will be managed in an integrated way that recognises the complex inter-relationships of land, sea and atmosphere.
13. Rights to use the marine environment should be exercised in an ecologically sustainable manner.
14. Where finite resources are being used e.g. mining of finite resources, this is to be carried out in a manner that mitigates the adverse impacts of the activity on the marine environment.