Final Randall Bess

Dr Randall Bess

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.

At the Initiative, Randall is the Research Fellow for our fisheries project. This work involves a series of three reports that contribute to the debate on what needs to be fixed within the recreational fishing space. When the project ends, policy recommendations will be made to the new government.

Randall is available to comment on recent developments for addressing growing pressures on limited fisheries resources. The aim of these developments is to better ensure recreational fishing remains an enjoyable pastime and source of food for many New Zealanders. He can also speak about how recreational fisheries are managed overseas, having visited several locations abroad for his second report.

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)

Phone: +64 4 494 9102


Recent Work

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
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
IMG 2169

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

Sharing the cost of managing inshore fisheries

Hundreds of thousands of New Zealanders fish each year. Fishing is integral to the Kiwi way of life.We know fishing provides social, cultural and psychological benefits. It also provides economic benefits but there is much misinformation about these benefits.Nonetheless, fishing for fun and food remains a low priority for management purposes. In contrast, commercial fishing attracts the bulk of management attention.Funding differences explain the discrepancy between the management of recreational and commercial fisheries. Read more

Dr Randall Bess
The National Business Review
4 August, 2017

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