The plan was prepared by industry organisation PauaMAC4 on behalf of paua quota owners and harvesters, with the support of the Iwi and Imi of the Chatham Islands. PauaMAC4 Chairman Albert Tuuta emphasises that “the plan is for all Chatham Islanders and all those who value and depend upon our healthy fisheries. Local community involvement is essential for effective management of Chatham Islands fisheries.”
PauaMAC4’s community-focused approach in developing the plan paid off – during the public consultation process one hundred percent of the submissions were supportive. The Fisheries Minister has also been consistent in his encouragement of the Plan, indicating in his approval letter to PauaMAC4 that “It is my view that the Plan is beneficial in providing a more responsive, localised management of the resource, increased stakeholder commitment to management decisions, and a more transparent operating environment”.
Now that the Plan has been formally approved, PAU4 quota owners and divers are looking forward to implementing it. PauaMAC4 Executive Officer Gary Cameron explains that “every year we will develop detailed management measures for the fishery in discussion with Iwi, Imi, Fisheries New Zealand and the local community via the Chatham Islands Fisheries Forum. The management measures – including fine-scale spatial management and fishery enhancement initiatives – will be set out in PauaMAC4’s Annual Operating Plan and implemented by the paua industry using non-regulatory means.”
The Fisheries Plan’s significance extends beyond the Chatham Islands – Paua Industry Council Chairman Storm Stanley sees it as an encouraging precedent for other fisheries. He says “it’s been a long time coming and I congratulate PauaMAC4 on their foresight and persistence in securing their fisheries plan. But this is just the beginning of a new approach to managing paua fisheries. The paua industry is now looking to extend the successful concept to other fisheries including in Marlborough and Kaikoura/Canterbury. We will be working with Iwi and local communities in these areas to develop fisheries plans that consolidate the strong sense of industry and wider community responsibility for the wise stewardship and management of paua fisheries.”
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