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TRAnsposing New Zealand management experiences to EU fleets and Fisheries: a bio-economic modelling approach

Final Activity Report Summary - TRANZEF (Transposing New Zealand management experiences to EU fleets and Fisheries: a bio-economic modeling approach)

The first period of the project (01/08/2007 - 31/07/2008) was carried out at the Seafood Industry Council (SeaFIC) in Wellington (New Zealand), according to the contract's schedule.

First, we have compared the fisheries management systems existing in New Zealand and in the European Union. While advisory processes are well established, quality control and peer reviewing are probably stronger in the EU management system than in the New Zealand one. The involvement of stakeholders at all stages of the management process is generally more transparent in New Zealand than in the EU. Both systems aim at achieving an adequate balance between sustainability and utilisation and consider the precautionary approach as a founding principle.

In New Zealand, BMSY is a legal management target for all stocks in the quota management system (QMS), and management strategies generally consist of keeping TAC constant between assessments, and to update TAC following assessment results. In the EU, there have not been any legal management targets or strategies until 1999, when a number of multi-annual recovery and management plans have been established. Both management systems include conservation and access regulation measures. The EU management measures aim at regulating fisheries outputs and inputs, and discarding is tolerated. New Zealand management is almost exclusively output-based, and discarding practices are banned. In the EU, while individual quotas (IQ) are implicit in several countries, there is no consistent pattern across member states for allocating TACs. In New Zealand, individual transferable quotas (ITQ) are implemented, and some flexibility in catch balancing is provided by a carryover allowance and the payment of a landing tax for every fish landed above quota, the deemed value. If rights-based management were introduced in the EU, we suggest that concentration rules be set in accordance with the social objectives of the Common Fisheries Policy, and also that the deemed value should be set based on science and economics.

Both New Zealand and EU fisheries managers will be challenged in the future by the implementation of the ecosystem approach to fisheries (EAF), increased fuel costs and the competition of the aquaculture sector. These factors will require an adaptation of fishing practices, but also an increase of the fisheries economic efficiency. As to the EU fisheries, more economic efficiency could be brought about by the introduction of rights-based management.

Second, we have investigated the relative weights of catch plans, expected profit and traditions in fishers' decision-making for five New Zealand fleets subject to an ITQ management regime. Metiers were defined for these fleets as a combination of gears, management units, and of a targeting index. A nested logit random utility model (RUM) was used to model the metier allocation of fishing effort in relation to catch plans, expected profit and past fishing allocations.

This study showed that traditions and catch plans, which appeared to be determined to a large extent by an annual strategy, were the most important determinants of fishers' behaviour for these New Zealand fleets. The model developed in this study fitted the data generally well, and was also able to predict in most cases future effort allocation both one month and one year ahead.

Third, we have evaluated, using a bio-economic modelling approach building on the ISIS-Fish software, the impact of relative TACs and deemed values on the sustainability of a selection of species exploited by the New Zealand hoki fishery. We investigate some aspects of the hoki mixed fisheries, consisting of four fleets and nineteen metiers, by considering the technical interactions between hoki and hake. The dynamics of effort allocation were modelled using the gravity model, using value per unit effort (VPUE) as attractivity coefficient. Eleven management scenarios, based on different levels of cache limits, effort limits and landing taxes have been defined, and their impact on spawning biomass, catches and VPUE have been preliminarily investigated.