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People who take undersized fish steal

People who take too many and undersized fish steal from everyone!

The Kai Moana of New Zealand is a resource that belongs to us all. The rules regarding size and number of fish caught by recreational fishers are present for the control of greed, to manage the resource so it is sustainable, and they apply to everyone. Marine biologist Peter Crabb from New Zealand Underwater endorses this weekend's prosecutions for violations of the amateur fishing regulations. Taking undersize fish and greater numbers makes controlling sustainability impossible and jeopardises the long-term viability of the classic kiwi fish populations like snapper, crayfish and paua.

Wade Doak, celebrated author, filmmaker and diving pioneer launched SEAweek, a weeklong celebration of the Sea last night at a special Function at Auckland Museum. In his opening address, Doak focussed on the resetting-of-baselines-syndrome. This is a phenomenon where fishers are not aware of the overall depletion of the resource because the time they participate as extractive users is not long enough to see the long terms effects that overfishing have. When subsequent fishers participate they see a resource at a completely new and different level that is more reduced to a new "baseline". Doak said, that if you talk to the old guys then you get to see the true picture of depletion of species around our coasts. When the Maori named Kaikoura, they did not have scuba gear, they could see the "feelers" poking out of the tide pools, Doak said. Doak also pointed out that when scuba

The greed and overfishing that has been exemplified this weekend at Whangaparaoa is what causes the insidious depletion of our fish stocks, says New Zealand Underwater marine biologist, Peter Crabb. Removing fish that are small may mean that they are removed from the population before they have even had the opportunity to breed once and the viability of a population can become compromised. If we can create a no-take marine reserve around Whangaparaoa and Tiritiri Matangi Island we can at least leave some fish for our children to see, and maintain biological diversity within the reserve. This creates positive opportunities for education tourism and the health of our oceans, says, Crabb

There is currently less than 1% of NZ's marine area in marine reserve. Minister of Conservation, Chris Carter speaking at the same Auckland Seaweek function, reiterated the Government's intention to continue to focus on the greater need to protect marine biodiversity. The creation of a reserve around the Auckland Islands and in Te Matuku Bay in Waiheke is the start, and we plan to continue our commitment in this area, Chris Carter pointed out.

We know that the recreational fish catch from Mfish surveys in Snapper area 1 exceeds the commercial catch of snapper by a whopping 40%. The levels of people flaunting the regulations in one small part of the coastline over the weekend would surely make the fisheries estimates of recreational snapper catch conservative, Crabb says. This should be of concern for all New Zealanders and the messages that we have amazing marine life and we should protect is the theme for this years Seaweek. It is encouraging that Mfish are taking a leadership role in helping to mitigate the effects of overfishing and appropriate that this should happen during Seaweek, Says Crabb.

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