Recognising the need for integrated land, water and infrastructure management to protect their local marine environment, Te Korowai o te tai ō Marokura in Kaikōura developed the Kaikōura Marine Strategy in 2012 which led to the Kaikōura (Te Tai o Marokura) Marine Management Act 2014. The Act established a group of Marine Guardians who advise Ministers, modelled off the Atawhenua Fiordland approach (see case study: Fiordland created a novel model for managing the marine area). The statutory Guardians and Te Korowai are closely linked, with almost all members overlapping. Members represented iwi, central and local government agencies, environmental interests, tourism interests, and commercial and recreational fishing interests.

In 2016, the Kaikōura region suffered a significant earthquake. In response, the Minister of Fisheries, in consultation with the local Kaikōura community, immediately closed several local fisheries. A rapid response was required to protect affected pāua, seaweed and other shellfish populations while the area recovered.

Since a diverse range of local stakeholders were already connected and had built consensus on their shared goals for Kaikōura’s marine environment, the previously established local group allowed the local pāua industry to more easily draw on the collective views of the community to inform the efforts to manage and reopen the fisheries, arguably with greater agility than the regulator.[1] The shared goals of Te Korowai, underpinned by specific localised legislation, helped fisheries management approach these challenges in a nimble way.

A diverse range of local stakeholders were already connected and had built consensus on their shared goals for Kaikōura’s marine environment.

Some examples of how having this regional body has streamlined processes in fisheries management include:

  • Providing consolidated feedback into the regulatory amendment process. In the pre-consultation phase of a regulatory amendment process to reopen fisheries, Te Korowai engages with the community and provides feedback on the views to the Kaikōura Marine Guardians, who then advise Ministers on their recommendations. Te Korowai’s views also feed into the proposal to amend the regulation and are considered during the later public consultation.
Two fishing vessels near the coast with the Kaikōura mountain in the background, and a rocky shore in the foreground

Fishing vessels off the Kaikōura coast. Image credit: Nick Brunsdon/Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0).

A crayfish on gravel.

Rock lobster, Kaikōura. Image credit: Kelvin Perrie/iNaturalist (CC BY 4.0).

  • Feeding directly into the earthquake response effort. A representative from the Guardians was part of the Earthquake Restoration Liaison Group for informing the design, management and monitoring for the reconstruction of infrastructure along the coast. Their role was to provide advice and expertise into the rebuild process from the experience within Te Korowai and the Guardians.
  • Being across rapid research and data to inform decisions. The Ministry for Primary Industries funded $3.5 million of community-led research projects to generate data to inform decisions in response to the earthquake, some of which related to fisheries management. The Marine Guardians have stayed across this evidence and support it feeding into regulatory processes through their advisory process.
  • Proposing localised solutions to fisheries management problems. Through community discussions and collaboration, the group collated local knowledge about the unique bathymetry and ecology of Kaikōura and the impact to the Kaikōura community to inform a Kaikōura-specific option for the Hector’s and Māui Dolphin Threat Management Plan, which was submitted to Fisheries New Zealand and informed the final advice to the Minister of Fisheries.

The emergency setting highlighted the utility of a regional group in informing agile fisheries management by the local community and industry. An established strategy and trusted relationships meant that consensus could be built quickly to inform decision making. As the demand for more responsive fisheries management increases (see section ‘Changing fisheries demand nimble and responsive decision making’), regional responsibility similar to that held by Te Korowai and the Kaikōura Marine Guardians may provide a key tool to facilitate the shift to quick, responsive management underpinned by strong local knowledge.

References and footnotes

[1] Input from Industry.