International Governance of Fisheries Ecosystems: Learning from the Past, Finding Solutions for the Future

Chapter 7: International Governance of Deep-Sea Fisheries—a Perspective from New Zealand

Matthew Hooper, Rebecca Lawton, Mathew Bartholomew, and John Glaister

doi: https://doi.org/10.47886/9781888569995.ch7

The challenges for successful management of deep-sea fisheries are significant and are generated by a combination of biological, political and economic factors. Countries have struggled to develop effective governance arrangements for deep-sea fisheries within areas of national jurisdiction. On the high seas, where governance frameworks are based on international legal instruments and depend on close cooperation among fishing nations, the management of deep-sea fisheries has proved even more challenging. There have, however, been some successes, particularly within national jurisdictions where more advanced and robust management regimes have been established, and as knowledge about the species themselves has improved over time.

New Zealand is currently engaged in several initiatives to improve the management of deep-sea fisheries, both domestically and internationally. Inter-governmental negotiations are underway for the establishment of a new Regional Fisheries Management Organization (RFMO) to manage fisheries in the high seas of the South Pacific Ocean—an initiative being led by New Zealand, Australia and Chile. New Zealand is also a founding member of the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR), and in July 2006 it signed the Southern Indian Ocean Fisheries Agreement (SIOFA). In working to establish effective governance over deep-sea fisheries on the high seas it is important that we learn from mistakes and build on successes, including applying experiences within areas under national jurisdiction to the international context.

For the purposes of this paper we have used a definition of deep-sea fisheries as being those that are fished at depths of greater than 200 m. This paper compares and contrasts the governance and management arrangements for three deep-sea species that are caught in the oceans around New Zealand. Hoki Macruronous novazealandiae is one of New Zealand’s largest domestic fisheries in terms of both volume and economic return to the country. Orange roughy Hoplostethus atlanticus is fished by New Zealand vessels both within and beyond the New Zealand Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and is also a valuable species to New Zealand in per-unit and total export value. Antarctic toothfish Dissotichus mawsoni is caught in the Southern Ocean under exploratory fisheries tightly managed by CCAMLR.