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A couple of large icebergs in the southern ocean near Antarctica

Legal Framework

Longliner in heavy seaThe Ministry’s role is to act as the Government’s principal adviser on New Zealand’s fisheries management and the impacts of fishing on the aquatic environment.
In performing its role, the Ministry operates within the framework of a range of laws, most notably the Fisheries Act 1996.
The essential purpose of the Fisheries Act 1996 is to provide for the utilisation of fisheries resources, while ensuring sustainability.
In addition to the Fisheries Act 1996, the Ministry is also responsible for the administration of a range of other laws, including:
Aquaculture Reform (Repeals and Transitional Provisions) Act 2004, which provides a legislative framework for, amongst other things, the approval of Aquaculture Management Areas (AMAs);
Treaty of Waitangi (Fisheries Claims) Settlement Act 1992, which implements the 1992 Fisheries Deed of Settlement under which all historic Treaty of Waitangi claims relating to commercial fisheries have been fully and finally settled;
Maori Commercial Aquaculture Claims Settlement Act 2004, which provides for a settlement of Maori interests in commercial aquaculture, including the provision of 20% of new space in AMAs and the provision of 20% equivalent of existing space allocated since September 1992;
Maori Fisheries Act 2004, which provides that the Crown, through the provisions of the Fisheries Act 1996, allocates to the Treaty of Waitangi Fisheries Commission 20% of quota for any new quota management stocks brought within the quota management system.

The Ministry has a vital role in delivering the Crown's obligations to Maori under the Treaty of Waitangi (Fisheries Claims) Settlement Act 1992, the Maori Commercial Aquaculture Claims Settlement Act 2004 and the Maori Fisheries Act 2004.

The Ministry also administers a significant number of regulations which relate to the management of fisheries within New Zealand and fishing outside New Zealand’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).
A significant portion of New Zealand's domestic legislative framework in relation to fishing on the high seas is ultimately derived from international instruments that New Zealand has signed up to, including the United Nations' Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

For more information

For information on International Fisheries Law, go to International Fisheries

Contact us about this page    Last updated 26/01/2017