16 Jul 2012

Fishing quota 'not good model' for water allocation

10:53 pm on 16 July 2012

A former commercial fisherman, and now fishing commentator, says a system for allocating water rights along the lines of the Quota Management System will not work.

The idea was suggested by former Treaty of Waitangi fisheries negotiator Sir Tipene O'Regan.

The Quota Management System was introduced more than 25 years ago to better protect the resource from over-fishing.

Former commercial fisherman and now editor of Professional Skipper magazine, Keith Ingram, says if fresh water is allocated along the same lines, it will be the same failure as the quota management system has turned out to be.

He says it has destroyed many coastal fishing ports and says young people getting into the industry struggle to obtain quota at a reasonable price.

Inshore commercial fisherman Marty Hansen says working with the quota system is a constant struggle for small operations such as his.

"With the quota management system they've recreated the British landowner system on the sea. The guys that are out there doing the work aren't getting any of the wealth from the work, and all the quota owners are sitting pretty."

A hearing on water rights is continuing at the Waitangi Tribunal, with the Crown this week continuing to present evidence submissions from claimants represented by the Maori Council last week.