The issue

The issue

The system is broken

Our marine environment and the management of our fisheries is at crisis point.

In 1986 the Government introduced the Quota Management System as a way to halt the dangerous depletion of our fish stocks.

Unfortunately the experiment just hasn’t worked. 

Thirty years later we have not achieved the goals of resource sustainability and economic efficiency promised by the introduction of the QMS.

Now, there is widespread concern about declining fish stocks and biodiversity loss in our marine environment.

And, fish quotas are being accumulated to protect market share. This means a few large businesses are hauling in the profits from using our fish stocks at the expense of our environment and regional businesses. For a Government that promotes a reputation of fairness and well-being, the current system makes no sense at all. 

Problems of the current system include:


The Quota Management System has created a powerful lobby of commercial interests that block initiatives to rebuild depleted fish stocks.


The QMS permits environmentally damaging fishing methods. These include dredging and bottom-trawling in inshore waters and sensitive nursery areas.


Dumping of unwanted fish and the unnecessary deaths of precious birds and marine mammals.


Small scale commercial fishers do not receive a reasonable return for their efforts. This encourages low cost, bulk harvesting of fish.


Inadequate funding for effective research, monitoring and policing of commercial fishing.


No resource rental applies to commercial catch, this leads to overfishing of inshore fish stocks. Now there is not enough kaimoana available in areas traditionally fished by families.

Find out more about the problems with the Quota Management System

There is a solution

Rescue Fish is a holistic solution to address depleted fish stocks and biodiversity loss. Effective implementation of the Rescue Fish policy will make our marine environment more productive. It’s critical we restore abundance and fairness to the management of our fisheries so generations to come have access to this collective natural resource.


Keen to help? Here’s how!