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Kingfish Go Wild: Sanford, RFC Prepare for Release

Media Release

Monday 26th June 2006

Kingfish Go Wild – Sanford Ltd and NZ Recreational Fishing Council Prepare for Rescue and Release

Commercial fishing company Sanford Ltd and the NZ Recreational Fishing Council (NZRFC) have joined forces to affect the release into the wild of healthy kingfish from a failed fish farming venture in the Far North.

“The goal is to save the healthy fish and transport them to release spots down the east coast,” said Sanford Ltd CEO Eric Barratt. “In the kingfish fishery – a shared fishery between commercial, recreational and customary – everyone can potentially benefit from the release of tens of thousands of fish into the wild. It’s important for all users of fisheries to participate in sharing responsibility for the management of fisheries. That benefits everyone. We’re very pleased to be able to make the difference in ensuring the success of the project.”

Permission is being sought from MFish (Ministry of Fisheries) and BioSecurity, with support from NIWA (the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research) which breeds kingfish for farming, for the approvals to release the fish identified as suitable into the wild.

The NZRFC has started its campaign in seeking donations from the public and acknowledges the public support given to this project. President of the NZRFC, Keith Ingram says that Sanford Ltd’s commitment has helped to save the day.

“Any project facing deadlines such as this must be carried out quickly and to have Sanford Ltd on board will ensure its success. It’s a great way to support shared fisheries and we now have the resources to make the goal achievable. We still need more – so we’re asking recreational fishermen and women to donate what they can. Quickly. We hope that further donations will make up the difference required.”

There is a deadline for the project as the fish farm can only continue to support the kingfish for a limited time. The fish are owned by a subsidiary of the Parengarenga Incorporation. The farm is to close and the fish must go, however the joint venture has the potential to ensure the fish are purchased and then safely released when the appropriate approvals are given. The kingfish identified as suitable to travel distances range in size from 0.5kg to 2kg. Consideration of releasing the larger fish locally is underway.

Keith Ingram confirmed that NIWA has made its purpose built live fish transporting tank system available for release of the fish at sites from Taipa and Whangaroa to the Bay of Islands and Hauraki Gulf, where the truck-mounted tanks would be put on a barge and taken to islands such as the Noises. NIWA has advised that the fish are hardy and healthy and believe from past experiences they should survive and will likely remain in a school near the release locations for some time as they acclimatize.

The NZRFC are proactively seeking further donations to support the initiative. They have a web site www.kingfishgowild.co.nz providing regular updates. Donations can be sent to the NZRFC at 4 Prince Regent Drive, Half Moon Bay, Auckland, or to PO Box 26-064, Newlands, Wellington.

ENDS

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