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National Backs Recreational Fishers In New Policy

12 July 2002

National Backs Recreational Fishers In New Policy

"The right of New Zealanders to go down to the sea and catch a fish without a licence, fee, or quota or having to belong to any organisation needs to be strengthened, said National's Environment spokesman Nick Smith today, in releasing National's Recreational Fishing Policy.

"National will stop recreational fishers being squeezed out by commercial interests by making it quite explicit in our fishing law that the rights of recreational fishing comes first. We will also enable recreational fishers to apply for an increased share of any fishery, based on demonstration of need and of responsible fishing practices.

"Fisheries management has been biased against recreational interests because of the legal weight given to commercial and cultural fishing rights. National believes the recreational right of all New Zealanders should come first.

"National wants to see recreational interests more involved in fisheries management. That is why we want to give local communities the right to co-manage particular fisheries.

"The right to fish is meaningless without access. National is concerned that some valuable recreation areas are becoming the domain of overseas interests that have a different cultural heritage in regard to public access. National will change the law and require any Queens Chain or riparian right to be surrendered whenever a property adjacent to the river or coast is said to be an overseas interest.

"National does not want to see charging for access to develop into a de facto commercial trout fishery. We will work with Fish and Game New Zealand to close this loophole and ensure we maintain trout as a true recreational fishery," said Dr Smith.


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