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Fishing concerns

Fishing concerns

Many fishers have seen the recreational catch limits reduced and size increased while the commercial sector has not been affected, yet with declining shellfish and finfish numbers of many species like gurnard, hapuka, pink mau mau, john dory, paua and crayfish, in many areas around NZ.

The National Government is hell bent on increasing the exporting of fish to the detriment of our recreational fishing, and all under the guise of saving our economy.

Time and time again fishers and their representative organizations like LegaSea, NZACA and many dedicated fishing clubs have cried foul yet the people you and I elect totally ignore us. “Let them eat cake” is Guys response to our plight.

Families going camping over the summer months struggle to get a feed as they watch the trawlers hammering the beaches and throwing the discarded fish overboard in an attempt to hide the disgrace.

The science is being “managed” to produce results that do not match reality. Public concerns are ignored or minimized in the process of extracting the most fish possible for the least cost.

Instead of managing for depletion we ought to be managing for abundance. The fish must come first not corporate profits. Then NZ could become the fishing mecca attracting tourist dollars and revenue not previously seen in this country.

NZ First is the only Political Party which has taken on board the many concerns that have been presented by interested Fishing groups and have adapted many of these as there policy on fishing and promise to have these issues sorted if they get in as an co-alition party.
Richard Prosser NZ First fisheries spokesperson is a recreational hunter and is seriously concerned that recreational activities in this country are taking a backward step. He spend a week in the Waikato last month talking with recreational fishers and LegaSea discussing their concerns.

Many fishing clubs are greatly concerned that nothing is heard on TV after the issue last October. Are you as a representative of many fishing clubs prepared to promote these fishing concerns as a election issue and encourage fishers to use their party vote to assist the political party that will make a difference.

The Recreational Fishing Community needs to unite and use these elections to ensure our voice is heard and clearly heard as a threat to any political party that advocates the demise of our the peoples fishery through poor management practices and unrestrained fishing by the fishing companies.

I am asking you to raise these concerns with your club and to make them an election issue.

cheers
Graham Carter

The Fishing and Outdoors newspaper has forwarded questions to each Political Party fisheries spokesperson and the minister, so that each have their chance to explain their stance for the coming elections and some of these responses will be published over the next few months.

1. What is your parties plan regarding the NZ fishery issues?

UF: a. Amend the Fisheries Act to create “Recreational Only Species” giving recreational fishers priority over commercial fishers for specific species of fish. For these species the Ministry of Primary Industries will establish a biomass bottom line setting a permanent minimum tonnage of fish in that species. Initially we will include species such as Kahawai, Snapper, Kingfish, and Blue Cod as “Recreational Only Species” while reserving the right to adjust that list as circumstances require; b. Introduce a type of new marine reserve named recreational reserves.

L-Our overarching goal is to not only see an internationally competitive and profitable seafood industry.

NZF-believes that going fishing is a birthright for New Zealanders. In addition, our Exclusive Economic Zone and the fisheries resource it contains is one of this country’s most valuable assets. NZ First’s Fishing Policy aims to sustainably manage all aspects of saltwater fishing, to preserve the right and ability of New Zealanders to enjoy sport fishing and to catch food from the ocean, and to maximize the fishing industry’s returns to New Zealand in terms of jobs, wealth, and export earnings. The Quota Management System has restructured commercial fishing, but there is still scope for improvement, and in many regards it now requires re-examination.

2. Does your party have a policy on alleviating the waste from the inshore fishing trawlers? And if so what does your party plan to do about it and when?

UF: This is a really difficult issue. Our policy addresses this in three ways. 1. Our recreational reserves will reduce the number of inshore areas where commercial fishing vessels can operate. 2. Our research funding will include funding to improve monitoring on boats, whether through cameras or a weighing system or other – innovation is key here.

L-believes in the responsible use of our natural resources and will review commercial MLS with a view to ensuring they land what they catch. This will enable real measurement of the environmental effects of trawling.

NZF-Observers on large fishing vessels will be augmented with video surveillance and GPS monitoring on all commercial fishing vessels, to ensure that quota and regulations are adhered to by commercial fishers. This will safeguard both the inshore fishery and fish breeding grounds against any potential illegal commercial fishing activity. Schedule 6 will be abolished, and all dumping of fish or parts of fish at sea by commercial fishers will be prohibited, as has been proven to be effective by the highly successful Icelandic fishing industry. All fish caught must be returned to port, to prevent wastage and to encourage compliance with quota and size regulations.

Commercial fishers will be incentivised as well as regulated to ensure maximum compliance with quota, size, and selectivity requirements.

3. Currently it is difficult to purchase top quality fresh fish on the NZ Market, what do you plan and your party plan to do to get better quality fish product on NZ shelves? For example the majority of fish sold in NZ Fish Shops and Supermarkets is export reject as the majority of fish is exported.

UF: We believe all New Zealanders should have access to quality NZ seafood and not seconds or export rejects. Our policy statement does contain the words "and will ensure that there will be adequate supplies of recreational fish available to the domestic market. We believe these fish belong to the people of NZ and not the commercial fishing companies to export overseas while NZ’s pay outrageous export prices for seconds.

L-will move to managing inshore stocks at higher levels of abundance and encourage the growth of locally based licensed fish receivers and thereby allow more sales direct to the public. Local communities should have good access to local produce in the same way farmers markets have worked.

NZF-All fish caught in New Zealand waters, both territorial and the EEZ, by New Zealand, foreign, or Foreign Charter vessels, must be landed in New Zealand, and any higher value processing must be carried out in New Zealand. The greatest part of the value of the fishery is in processed and finished products. New Zealand First is committed to maximising the returns to New Zealand industry and the New Zealand economy, by ensuring that jobs are created in this country and that export earnings from this immensely valuable resource deliver as much as is possible to New Zealand.

At present the majority of fish sold in New Zealand supermarkets is fish which has been caught in New Zealand waters by foreign charter vessels harvesting New Zealand quota under contract, shipped to Asia for processing, and then shipped back to New Zealand to be sold as “Produce of New Zealand”.

Our policy will end this misleading and economically detrimental practice, as well as ensuring a ready supply of top quality catch available to the local retail and restaurant trade.

Summary:

National, the Greens and the Maori Party gave a nil response which indicates there arrogance and lack of respect of the recreational sector and the fact that they are probably only interested in the economic value of the fishery. I give them all a X in the Party Vote box.

Labour- is very clearly economy driven, like National. They also seem to still be looking for idea's and information .They have heard some of the gripes from the recreational sector but have few answers. The main problem here is while they search for answer's the fish in the 25 quota specie's remain in decline. Recreational before commercial always, if there is no abundance then no export. The commercial response is to say to us 'Don't You Want Fish And Chips' sure I just don’t want to have to go to China to eat it or have the rubbish Chinese fish sold here in the off season. Local trade is not the problem, the mass

tonnage is export. If we only harvested what we consumed the there would be no issue at all. For me Labour lean too heavily towards commercial and get a X.

United Future - Yes there is some good thought, much more time and effort has gone into this policy compared to the labour response. This policy is much more recreational orientated. The rec reserves and rec only fish is a good in your face to the commercial sector. The rec only fish is a bit misleading because the commercial are still allowed to harvest them. So no change really just a name change. I do like that somewhere in the school year there will be time allowed for education on our fishery, hopefully good handling practices as well.

NZ First - they have a more commonsense approach to the issues, except the minimum and maximum size limit. That's a bad thing and has the potential to double the discard from trawlers. It didn’t work in Nelson and won’t work here in the gulf. They get my vote and I will be ticking the NZ First Party Vote.


ends

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