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Commercial Industry Opposes Recreational Fishing Policy

Commercial Fishing Industry Opposed to United Futures Recreational Fishing Policy

Press release from Alan Simmons.
United Future Outdoors spokesperson and Candidate for Taupo.
United Future Party President.

The sea fishery is a publicly owned resource and a public heritage says United Future's president outdoors spokesman Alan Simmons of Turangi in response to criticisms by the commercial fishing industry of the party's fisheries policy.

"Government is for the people and fish belong to the people," he said.

United Futures recreational fishing policy was launched at the recent Auckland Boat Show and soon after the commercial fishing industry wrote to Party Leader Peter Dunne voicing their concerns about recreational anglers trying to "claim back their fish".

But Alan Simmons reiterated his call at the boat show for the recreational sea fishing public to "claim back" their fish" via the forthcoming election on September 20.

"This was an obvious attempt by the industry to nobble election policy knowing full well that small coalition parties do have the ability to make things happen especially during coalition talks," he said.

In its letter the Seafood Council, in reacting to United Future's policy of creating a "recreational only category" to include snapper, kahawhai, blue cod and kingfish, said that fish were "not a birthright" and that it would not support United's proposals. In addition the council said it would argue against any proposals that gave a priority to recreational anglers.

"They believe that fish are a national asset to be managed by the government," said Alan Simmons. "Talk about weasel words, or double speak.

United Future's policy of "recreational only" fishing areas was also singled out by the Seafood New Zealand which made it clear it would oppose "recreational only" fishing areas as they see the oceans being managed as a "commons".

"This has a very hollow ring to it in view of past history of plundering fish stocks to very low levels," he said.

The commercial industry’s argument that the recreational catch cannot be monitored and will therefore cause the fishery to sink to “extinction levels” while the commercial catch is governed by economics was absurd, illogical and contradictory.

“Too often fisheries have been over-fished and alleviation has only been by attrition, i.e. commercial boats opting out because of ailing economics. That’s no way to manage a fishery in a sustainable manner,” said Alan Simmons.

He cited examples such as the orange roughy fishery which was exploited so harshly that fish numbers levels plummeted.Most populations were cut to below 20% of their original un-fished size with one reduced to just 3%.

The 3 page letter from the Seafood Council detailed a number a reasons why United Futures recreational fishing Policy will not work while trying to justify the excellence of the current system.

Alan Simmons said the Seafood Council were obviously worried as he as United Futures President and Outdoors Spokesperson had been selected as the first candidate off the party list when Peter Dunne wins his Ohariu seat.

Under MMP “a few thousand party votes” from anglers could therefore see long time fishing and hunting advocate Alan Simmons “thumping the table” in Wellington alongside the intense negotiations that will take place post-election during coalition talks.

“Especially if whoever is forming a government needs two or more votes,” commented Alan Simmons.


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