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The year 2006 marked the twentieth anniversary of the introduction of the Quota Management System (QMS) in New Zealand fisheries management. This major institutional change made individual transferable quota (ITQ) the quantitative authority for commercial fisheries catches, leading structural change and economic development to transform the New Zealand fishing industry into a prosperous and major contributor to the national economy. In addition to being a significant anniversary for the QMS, last year also saw significant development of a new objectives-based co-management framework by the Ministry of Fisheries. Created to build on the strengths of the QMS, the new approach seeks to establish a hierarchy of specified objectives for fisheries management from overall statements of desired outcomes through to detailed standards for processes and management performance explicitly linked through stated intervention logic. Working to this set of objectives and standards, an agency-facilitated stakeholder process will develop agreed management plans for defined fisheries. Objectives must be measurable and linkages testable, with monitoring of specified performance indicators being integral components of agreed plans. The new Fisheries Plan framework capitalises on the coherence brought to the commercial sector by secure catching rights under the QMS, attempting to extend this across the broader stakeholder community. It is endeavouring to establish a new process model for agency-initiated co-management that has the potential to draw diverse stakeholders together and develop common goals for management of their fisheries. After providing a brief introduction to the New Zealand context and the QMS and its history, this paper sets out to assess how the QMS has performed against the assumptions that underpinned its implementation in the mid-1980s. This in turn provides the context for the next step the development of the Fisheries Plan framework envisioned to move the overall management system in New Zealand forward into an era of broader stewardship of resources and environment, by all fisheries stakeholders. This new framework and the progress thus far are briefly described.


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