the management plans, recognized the goal of maximizing the economic returns from fisheries, as well as biological conservation, but did not integrate these goals.
Also in 1983, the government issued a Deepwater Fisheries Policy that introduced a system of enterprise allocations for the deepwater trawl fisheries based on company individual quotas. In 1986, the government passed an amendment to the Fisheries Act 1983 that allowed for the introduction of an ITQ program in the inshore fishery and for its broader application to the deepwater fishery.
Prior to the introduction of ITQs in 1986, there was a widespread perception within government and industry (based primarily on falling catch rates because few quantitative stock assessments existed at that stage) that the harvest from inshore fisheries could be increased in the long term by a short-term reduction in fishing. Initial TACs for most of the inshore finfish stocks were based on average reported landings during periods when the catches were considered to be sustainable. This was a largely qualitative rather than quantitative assessment. For a number of the prime inshore species, the initial TACs were set at levels up to 75% below the catches reported immediately prior to the introduction of ITQs.
Prior to the introduction of ITQs in 1986, there was a widespread perception within government and industry that profits from inshore fisheries could be increased in the long term by a short-term reduction in fishing. Again, there was limited economic information to support this perception. The only published information available was a statement that the harvesting sector was overcapitalized by about NZ$28 million, based on insured value (Anon., 1984).
The problems and issues that led to the introduction of the ITQ program were based on the perception that New Zealand's fishery resources would be more productive, both biologically and economically, if fishing activity were reduced temporarily. The industry was overcapitalized, crippled by excessive government management intervention, and subject to rapidly declining economic performance. Recreational fishermen were also concerned about the decline of their fishery.
During the development of the proposed ITQ program, the government is-