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If a minimum threshold is set in the Fishing Allocation Plan, then only quota owners who own [threshold]kg of quota or more would be eligible to apply for an allocation of New Zealand Units (NZUs). Setting a minimum threshold does not affect the number of NZUs eligible quota owners would receive because the amount of allocation is determined by the formula specified in section 74 of the Act.
Having no threshold is the most costly and complex option from an administrative point of view as more than 1400 quota owners could potentially open Registry accounts and be allocated NZUs.
The consultation document invited feedback on whether or not a threshold should be set, and if so, at what level and why.
There were 17 responses to these questions. Of these, seven submitters (including three individuals, Lady Marcella Fishing, Ngāi Tahu Seafood, Sanford and the Seafood Industry Council) supported having no threshold. Reasons for having no threshold reflected the view that fishing quota owners are best placed to make a decision about whether they wish to access their entitlement and whether there would be a net benefit to them.
Of the remaining responses to the questions around thresholds, four submitters wanted a threshold but provided no reason or threshold level. Two respondents wanted a threshold but recommended thresholds about individual species or stocks whereas the Act requires allocation of NZUs based on a quota owner’s total holding. The remaining four responses were inconclusive.
Officials recommend that, consistent with the Draft Fishing Allocation Plan, a minimum amount of quota to be held on 24 September 2009 for eligibility for an allocation of NZUs will not be specified in the final Fishing Allocation Plan. This is the Government’s preferred option and was supported by seven submitters including a major iwi, the major industry body, and a major quota owner. No reasons were provided by other submitters in support of a threshold.