Dr Randall Bess

Former Research Fellow

Randall has researched and published articles on New Zealand’s management of fisheries, including the seafood industry and conflicts between the commercial and non-commercial fishing sectors. He also worked for the former Ministry of Fisheries (and the Ministry for Primary Industries) for 13 years. Before immigrating to New Zealand, he commercially fished in Alaska.

During his time at the Initiative, Randall was the Research Fellow for our fisheries project. This work involved a series of three reports that contribute to the debate on what needs to be fixed within the recreational fishing space. 

Latest reports:
The Future Catch: Preserving Recreational Fisheries for the Next Generation (2017)
The Overseas Catch: The state of recreational fisheries management abroad (2017)
What's the Catch?: The state of recreational fisheries management in New Zealand (2016)

Recent Work

Rec fishing

Recreational fishers should have a proportional share of the catch

To say the new Minister of Fisheries, Stuart Nash, inherited some fisheries management problems is an understatement. The Ministry for Primary Industries and its predecessors have failed to grapple with the misreporting of commercial catch, discarding of unwanted bycatch and the high grading of targeted catch.They have also failed to mitigate the tensions and conflicts arising from the way a fishery's total allowable catch is allocated between competing fishing sectors.These problems can be considered "wicked", or difficult, if not near... Read more

Dr Randall Bess
New Zealand Herald
18 January, 2018

The Future Catch report launch

On Monday 4 December we launched our third report on how we can improve the recreational fishing experience.The panel discussion included Dr Randall Bess (author of the report), Hon. Stuart Nash (Minister of Fisheries), Sir Mark Solomon (Deputy Chair of Te Ohu Kaimoana), and Bob Gutsell (Vice President of the New Zealand Sport Fishing Council).You can read more about our findings here: http://bit.ly/2B6F5XC Read more

Dr Randall Bess
The New Zealand Initiative
12 January, 2018
Rock lobster

Bite may have to be put on fishers

Recreational fishing in New Zealand’s marine waters is one of the few remaining free-of-charge public goods available to everyone. However, managing fisheries is not costless.Management costs will inevitably be an important consideration for the new Minister of Fisheries, Hon Stuart Nash, as he considers how best to improve inshore fisheries.The costs of managing these fisheries are partly borne by the commercial fishing sector through cost-recovery levies; the remaining costs of management and enforcing rules are borne by taxpayers, though most... Read more

Dr Randall Bess
New Zealand Herald
4 January, 2018
Stuart Nash

National's pretty kettle of fish

Some opposition MPs take to their new roles swimmingly. It is hard to imagine that these politicians ever did anything else but criticise others for not solving problems. Which would be fine if those very problems had not been presided over by their own party for nine years. The prime example is Gerry Brownlee. The former foreign minister is now spokesperson for, among other things, fisheries. Read more

Dr Randall Bess
Insights Newsletter
8 December, 2017
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Dr Randall Bess discusses The Future Catch

How can we preserve our fisheries now and into the future?Our Research Fellow, Dr Randall Bess, talks to Breakfast's Jack Tame about his latest report, The Future Catch.Read The Future Catch here: http://bit.ly/2Avuv95 Read more

Dr Randall Bess
TV1 Breakfast
5 December, 2017
Randall The AM Show

Randall Bess about the future of recreational fisheries

In his new report 'The Future Catch', Dr Randall Bess is calling for a peak body to be set up to influence policy around recreational fishing to ensure future generations will be able to fish. Duncan Garner interviews Dr Randall Bess on The AM Show about his recommendations. Read more

Dr Randall Bess
The AM Show
5 December, 2017
Rec fishing

Future of recreational fisheries

Increasingly, we are hearing recreational fishers are frustrated about the depletion of some fisheries compared with what they experienced in the past. Also, tensions and conflicts between recreational, commercial and customary fishers are intensifying as they compete for limited fisheries resources. Each fishing sector shares an interest in taking more from a fishery, and they value their share quite differently. The aim of the New Zealand Initiative’s fisheries project is to find ways to preserve fishing for food and fun... Read more

Dr Randall Bess
Insights Newsletter
1 December, 2017
Rec fishing

New Zealand's inshore fisheries - a game of chicken

With some exceptions, there is a distinct lack of co-operation among the various interests in New Zealand’s inshore fisheries. The lack of co-operation worsens as competition increases for limited fisheries resources. This is largely due to each interest asserting its rights of access to the resources prevail over others. There is no easy solution to this standoff. It is a classic game-theory problem known as the game of chicken, which was first popularised in the movie, Rebel Without a Cause. Read more

Dr Randall Bess
The National Business Review
15 September, 2017
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The Future of Recreational Fishing in NZ

The New Zealand Initiative's Dr Randall Bess and Geoff Rowling from Our Fishing Future, speak to Radio New Zealand about the future of recreational fishing in New Zealand. Throughout August and September, Dr Bess will be travelling the country holding public meetings to gather feedback from local fishing communities and discuss the draft recommendations in his latest report, 'The Future Catch: Preserving Recreational Fisheries for the Next Generation'. Read more

Dr Randall Bess
Radio New Zealand
22 August, 2017

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