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Kahawai decisions recognise fishers' interests

Tue, 10 Aug 2004

Cautious kahawai decisions recognise recreational fishers' interests

Recreational fishers get 45 per cent greater share of the catch than commercial users.

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Fisheries Minister David Benson-Pope has announced an overall 15 per cent reduction in the amount of kahawai that can be caught to safeguard the popular fish species but has given recreational fishers the lion's-share of the catch.

Kahawai, dubbed "the people's fish", has until now been managed under a permit system but from 01 October will be introduced into New Zealand's world recognised Quota Management System (QMS).

Central to that introduction is a series of decisions about what the Total Allowable Catch (TAC) will be in each of the six geographic quota regions around New Zealand. TACs are set to ensure sustainability.

Mr Benson-Pope says he has taken a deliberately cautious approach in setting the TAC because of uncertainty in information on the status of kahawai stocks, doubled with a desire to maintain and hopefully improve the available stock.

"A nationwide combined estimate of recreational catch, customary catch, fishing-related mortality and reported commercial landings exceeded the best available yield estimates," says Mr Benson-Pope. "Consultation with different sector groups made it clear that management of kahawai is an important issue for all groups.

"In total, recreational and customary users' share of the catch is to be set at a level 45 per cent greater than the catch of commercial users (TACC). I acknowledge that there will be an economic impact on commercial fishers and there will be a need for constraint in recreational catch, but these decisions reflect the importance of kahawai to recreational and customary fishers.

"The decisions I've made are based on the best information available."

ENDS

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