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Baldock: Kahawai legal challenge goes to court.

Tuesday, 16 August 2005

Baldock: Kahawai legal challenge goes to court.

United Future's Larry Baldock today said he was not surprised to see a legal claim on the kahawai fishery lodged in the High Court at Auckland late last week.

The claim was made by representatives of the NZ Recreational Fishing Council, NZ Big Game Fishing Association, and fully supported by the group Option 4.

"I was aware of their determination about this when I received more than 2000 emails nearly a year ago from non-commercial fishers all over New Zealand complaining about the depletion of the 'people's fish'," Mr Baldock, United Future's fishing and outdoor recreation spokesman, said.

"I congratulate them for taking the case and the work they've put into it on behalf of all Kiwis who like to throw a line into the water," he said.

Fisheries Minister David Benson Pope's announcement last month that Labour policy was now to maintain certain in-shore shared species at above the biomass maximum sustainable yield (BMSY) was an admission that he had got it wrong on kahawai, Mr Baldock said.

"I tried to convince him that the decision to go ahead with allocating kahawai quota last October was going to cause major concerns. It was unfortunate that NZ First, ACT and the Greens would not support my amendment that would have delayed the introduction of kahawai into the quota management system, and allowed more time for negotiations.

"The new policy will have United Future's support because we must ensure there are more fish in the water, and not meaningless daily allowances that no one can catch," Mr Baldock said.

He said recreational fishing was often about putting food on a family's table.

"This isn't just a pastime. Most of the time when Maori fish to feed their families they do so as recreational fishers and not under their customary rights which are there to allow for marae events such as hui and tangi. This was confirmed very clearly in a recent hui at Whakamaharatanga Marae in Northland.

"It is very much a birthright of all New Zealanders to be able to catch a feed of fish for family and friends.

"Many hail our QMS as the best fish management system in the world, but if it is not protecting this basic right it is not working properly."

ENDS

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