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New plan to manage Otago's sports fish and game resources

New plan to manage Otago's sports fish and game resources

The Otago Fish & Game Council has publicly notified its new draft sports fish and gamebird management plan for Otago, and it wants to hear your views on how sports fish and gamebird resources should be managed across Otago for the next ten years.

“This is the Fish and Game equivalent of the regional water plan or district plan ”, Otago Fish & Game Council chief executive Niall Watson stated. “It’s a statutory plan developed and eventually approved under the Conservation Act 1987 that guides how we manage Otago’s extensive fishing and hunting resources, and also how we advocate to other organisations in protecting and enhancing this public natural resource for the benefit of future generations”.

There has already been substantial work from Councillors and staff, as well as pre-draft consultation with anglers and hunters in 2013, feeding in to the revised and modernised plan. He stated that he looked forward to explaining the plan to anglers and hunters across Otago and to receiving their submissions.

“Greater involvement on the part of licenceholder, organisations and other interested parties will result in a plan that better meets the aspirations of the Otago community. It is important to remember that Fish & Game’s activities benefit the wider public through environmental and public access gains as well as protecting the recreational amenity of fish and game resources. Wild self sustaining trout fisheries and game bird populations can only flourish where freshwater ecosystems are healthy and productive. That is sometimes an uphill battle but that is the reality where there is increasing competition for water resources for a whole variety of uses.”

The Fish and Game Plan aims to inform regional and district councils, and natural resource users about fish and game resource values, management priorities and habitat requirements so that those matters will be adequately accommodated in wider resource planning and in management activities.

New aspects of the plan include a strengthened focus on advocacy to regional and district councils to protect fisheries against declines in water quality, quantity and the natural character of Otago’s waterways and establishment of explicit criteria for determining the significance of a fish and game resources, and an alignment with similar types of plans produced by the Department of Conservation.

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