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Administration and Compensation. The New Zealand ITQ program is administered primarily by the Ministry of Fisheries, except for quota trading, which is carried out directly among quota holders or through private brokers. The Ministry of Fisheries is consulting with fisheries stakeholders on the transfer of responsibility to the commercial industry for administering the ITQ program. Some of the major administrative issues encountered during the first 10 years of the New Zealand ITQ program include bycatch problems in multispecies fisheries, TAC overruns, and the complicated nature of the quota management system.
Evaluation and Adaptation. One of the glaring gaps in the New Zealand ITQ program is the lack of any systematic, quantitative evaluation of the benefits and costs of the program either by government agencies or by the fishing industry. There is not much in the way of objective, quantitative information available, but there is a great deal in the way of perceptions. A number of adaptations have been made in the first 10 years of the New Zealand ITQ program. The important ones include reducing bycatch problems in multispecies fisheries, settlement of Maori fisheries claims, the change to proportional ITQs from fixed tonnages, and implementation of strategies for adjusting TACs in situations with limited information.
Outcomes of the ITQ Program
Biological and Ecological Outcomes for the Fishery. The major biological and ecological outcomes of New Zealand's ITQ program include improved biological status of fish stocks and development of an open and transparent stock assessment and TAC-setting process. Of the 179 Fishstocks in the QMS as of October 1, 1997, 30 were created for administrative purposes around an offshore island group that is only lightly fished for a few species. Of the remaining 149 Fishstocks, only 11 (7.4%) were estimated to be below a level of biomass that will sustain a stock's maximum sustainable yield (BMSY). Sixteen (10.7%) Fishstocks were estimated to be above and 27 (18.1%) at or near BMSY. The status of the remaining 95 (63.8%) Fishstocks relative to BMSY was not known.
One of the strengths of the New Zealand QMS is the completely open and transparent stock assessment and TAC-setting process. The process is open to all users of the resource and all groups with interests in the fisheries, including Maori, the commercial industry, recreational fishermen, and environmental or conservation groups. All stock assessment data collected by the Ministry of Fisheries are made available (at cost) to all participants in the process. The data are provided only in an aggregated form so that individual fishermen and/or companies cannot be identified. The foundation of the stock assessment process are the Fishery Assessment Working Groups. The working groups analyze the available fishery and research data and prepare draft reports giving the details of the stock assessments and status of the stocks according to agreed terms of reference for all 179 Fishstocks in the QMS. Fishstocks for which the stock