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Recreational fishers to get new voice in fisheries

12 January, 2005

Recreational fishers to get new voice in fisheries decision-making

Two new initiatives will give recreational fishers greater input into Fisheries decision-making, says Fisheries Minister David Benson-Pope.

Mr Benson-Pope today announced his intention to establish an independent ministerial recreational fishing advisory panel, as well as the creation of a nationwide network of recreational fishing forums, saying they recognised the importance of recreational fishing to New Zealand society.

The ministerial advisory panel will be an expert group of recreational fishers and will advise the minister directly on the strategic issues confronting the recreational sector.

Mr Benson-Pope says the regional recreational forums have the potential to be as valuable as the regular meetings he has with the seafood industry, which have helped to better understand issues in that sector.

The regional recreational fishing forums will be made up of representatives of local fishing groups. They will contribute knowledge and advice to: the statutory decision-making processes on fisheries; Ministry policy advice to Government; and decisions on the nature and extent of Ministry services such as research and compliance.

"We are committed to all fisheries stakeholders having opportunities to participate in fisheries management processes, such as the establishment of stock strategies, decisions on total allowable catch, and regulations," said Mr Benson-Pope. "These new initiatives will be on top of existing stake holder consultation under the Fisheries Act.

"The regional recreational forums will complement a network of regional forums for Maori customary fishers, which is being established for similar purposes."

Mr Benson-Pope says these new initiatives will build on other commitments he has made to the recreational sector including a new $4million four-year research plan he announced in this year's budget.

"The management of our fisheries resource recognises that commercial, recreational and customary fishers all have a stake. We are trying to get good outcomes for all of them while ensuring the resource remains available for generations to come," said Mr Benson-Pope.

ENDS

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