The Association has 155 members comprising quota owners, processors and general (non-quota owning) industry members. It is funded by an annual levy from quota owners.
It is governed by a board of 11:
- 6 quota owner representatives
- 2 processor representatives
- 2 general member representatives
- 1 Ngai Tahu nominee representing customary interests.
The objectives of the Association are:
- To promote the sustainable harvest of CRA8 lobster within the CRA8 management strategy of enhancing the economic return from the harvested resource.
- To promote accountability from all those harvesting lobster within CRA8 to maintain the standards necessary to maximise the position as responsible harvesters of lobster in environmentally sensitive habitats, and professional stewards of a public resource.
- To encourage and promote, and generally advance the improvement of the businesses of participants in the New Zealand rock lobster industry in the Southern Region of New Zealand.
- To ensure active participation in the Fiordland Marine Guardians, recognising the group’s legislative mandate to provide advice on the management of the Fiordland Marine Area.
- To advise and advocate with regulatory agencies promoting good facilities for vessels, facilities that support the industry, and improving safety for all those at sea.
- To do anything conducive to the attaining of these objects.
The Association has also adopted the following Vision Statement:
“That the CRA8 industry continues to be a national leader in sustainable rock lobster fisheries management. Advancing the interface between commercial fisheries and marine environmental integrity is critical in maximising the economic return for members and the nation from a limited natural resource.”
As a result the role of the Association has expanded greatly since its inception.
Ongoing monitoring and development of appropriate management strategies (more formally known as Management Procedures) remains a major focus for the Association. The objective of the CRA8 Management Procedure is to maintain a very high abundance of rock lobsters of all sizes. In turn this provides the opportunity for the fishermen to maximize their financial return by choosing when to fish and by catching the sizes that are most in demand at any particular time.
Protection of the property right that quota provides, as well as access to the productive fishing grounds that is inherent in this right, is another important function. It advocates on behalf of the CRA8 industry in numerous forums. This necessitates regular contact with other groups within the fishing industry and non-commercial sectors, as well as MPI and other central and local government departments.
In addition the Association has a major focus on research:
- It is a contracted research data provider to NRLIC
- It has commissioned three significant research projects in recent years in conjunction with Seafood Innovations Ltd and funding partners.
- The New Zealand Institute for Plant & Food Research Ltd (Plant & Food) has carried out the studies that have contributed to the development of best practice guidelines from the time of harvest to the point of export.
- A project carried out by the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA) has improved the understanding of the changes in nutritional condition and physiology that occur throughout the year.
Members of the CRA8 industry have been instrumental in the development of a number of significant environmental initiatives including:
- the establishment of the first two marine reserves in Fiordland
- the Fiordland (Te Moana o Atawhenua) Marine Management Act 2005
- southern coastal clean-ups.