Keywords: fisheries, human rights, indigenous people, individual transferable quota, Maori, sovereignty, treaty, New Zealand
The genesis of the New Zealand Parliament's Treaty of Waitangi (Fisheries Claims) Settlement Act, 1992
Economic expansion and globalisation are contributing to greater appropriation of marine ecosystems. Conflicts over access to fisheries resources nevertheless date back many centuries in most parts of the world, and - as with land resources - are closely tied to colonial histories, struggles for self-determination by indigenous peoples, and changing market conditions. This paper gives a detailed discussion of one case of political process associated with this process of globalisation of the fisheries on the one hand and assertions of economic autonomy by indigenous people on the other. The case concerns conflict between the Crown and Maori tribes of New Zealand over the implementation of a system of Individual Transferable Quota. The system was advocated by the Crown as an effective way of achieving the objectives of biological sustainability and economic efficiency. Maori tribes saw the system as an instrument of dispossession. With the conflict having its parallels in many parts of the world, the insights from the New Zealand case can also have value in the 'globalised' ideas marketplace.