Autonomy and self-determination

The rock lobster industry has a long-standing commitment to regional autonomy and self-determination in research and management decisions.

This reflects the fact that each of the nine management regions is unique in relation to the biology, behaviour, and distribution of rock lobsters, and in relation to the size and geographical extent of fishing grounds and the distribution of the fishing fleet.

Local knowledge and effective communication between commercial participants enable timely responses to changes in the fisheries.

Care and responsibility

The rock lobster industry has an extensive history of care and responsibility for the sustainable and pragmatic management of the resource.

It is fair to claim that the New Zealand rock lobster fisheries were administered rather than effectively ‘managed’ from the early 1960s until the early 1990s. The establishment of the Rock Lobster Steering Committee (RLSC) in 1991 was the first significant step in producing a coherent long-term management plan for rock lobsters.

The RLSC was a concept actively promoted by the industry, and eventually adopted by the then Minister, the Honourable Doug Kidd. The RLSC drew together representatives from recreational, Maori, conservation, science, and commercial interests, working with Ministry of Fisheries officials, to develop a ten-year management plan for what were at that time deemed to be depleted lobster stocks.