The evolution of New Zealand's fisheries science and management systems under ITQs
New Zealand implemented a comprehensive management system using individual transferable quotas in 1986 that has been instrumental in guiding the roles, responsibilities, and accountabilities of fisheries science, fisheries management, and the fishing industry ever since. However, at the time of the initial design, a number of issues were not adequately considered. These relate mainly to the dynamic nature of fish stocks, multispecies considerations, and environmental and other externalities. Subsequent efforts to address these issues have been challenging and many are not yet fully resolved. The outcomes for fisheries science, stock status, multispecies management, ecosystem effects, and fishing industry accountability have been mixed, although mostly positive. Fisheries science, fisheries management, and the fishing industry have all become much more professionalized and their activities have been increasingly streamlined. New initiatives to further improve the system continue to be researched and implemented. Overall, we believe that the positives considerably outweigh the negatives. The initial design has proved to be a system that can be built upon. Comparing New Zealand with most of the rest of the world, key positive outcomes for preventing overfishing are the current lack of significant overcapacity in most fisheries, the development of biological reference points and a harvest strategy standard, the favourable stock status for the majority of stocks with known status, and the development and implementation of comprehensive risk assessments and management plans to protect seabirds and marine mammals.
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