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Consultation on fishing reserves a National misfire

Consultation on fishing reserves a National misfire

Public fishers are being promised future discussions on recreational only fishing zones if they re-elect National. Consultation will begin in November on proposals for the Hauraki Gulf and Marlborough Sounds.

Fishing group LegaSea is pleased that recreational fishing is being recognised as important, but more commitment from political parties is required to address the real issues, such as waste and depleted fisheries, rather than dangling baited hooks in front of voters two weeks out from an election.

“While we support recreational only fishing areas, the public will need convincing that there will be any real improvements for the fishery overall. We will need more commitment than a promised consultation process before we are convinced this is anything but electioneering,” says LegaSea spokesperson Richard Baker.

“Fishing with family and friends is a Kiwi way of life and needs to be preserved for future generations. However, the promises of recreational only fishing areas sound very similar to those made by National in 2008. Those areas never eventuated because the fishing industry would not agree to them” continues Mr Baker

Further analysis of the proposal shows very limited small scale commercial fishing, and no trawling, is currently occurring in the proposed Hauraki Gulf recreational fishing reserve.

“It seems strange for National to propose consultation regarding an area where trawling restrictions are already in place. It’s like they’ve redrawn existing lines on the map and are presenting it as a new concept,” says Mr Baker.

There are also concerns about displacing fishing effort to already stressed areas such as the Manukau and Kaipara Harbours and the Bay of Plenty.

Last year fisheries scientists advised there is less than 10% of the original snapper stock left in the Bay of Plenty. This estimate prompted outrage and calls for the main fishing method, the ‘appalling trawling’, to be eliminated from fragile and overfished areas.

National suggest they will pay compensation to the commercial industry and propose a discussion paper on how this might be achieved. The plan’s detail reveals it is likely that smaller local operators, who use lesser impact fishing methods compared with trawling, will be the ones who are removed from the proposed recreational only fishing areas. Most of these operators don’t own quota and rely on leasing it. They all depend on fishing for their livelihood, yet they may miss out on compensation altogether.

LegaSea is calling for politicians and fisheries managers to get serious about properly managing inshore fisheries by addressing commercial fishing waste, implementing international best practice to rebuild fisheries to at least 40% of their original stock size and establishing equal size limits between sectors.

LegaSea’s campaign coordinator, Adam El-Agez says “Nationals Minister for Primary Industries, Nathan Guy, has responded to our requests by stating that they are not interested in addressing any of these issues and have falsely stated that they regularly review all fish stocks - it’s simply not true”.

LegaSea is encouraging people who care about their children enjoying abundant fisheries and a meaningful fishing experience to get online, support the 5 principles and stay informed of future developments in our fisheries. www.legaSea.co.nz/tipthescales

“As New Zealanders we must demand sustainable and abundant fisheries, not just lines on a map, which essentially already exist. That’s why LegaSea is promoting legal, affordable and achievable policy in the pre-election ‘Tip the Scales’ campaign” says Mr El-Agez



Richard Baker

LegaSea spokesperson

021 869 889

Adam El-Agez

LegaSea campaign co-ordinator

021 318 575

About LegaSea and Tip the Scales

LegaSea (www.legasea.co.nz) promotes fisheries management practices that will allow for ‘more fish in the water’. LegaSea was launched in February 2012 to facilitate the people working together, raise public awareness, promote education, and to provide an opportunity for people to unite in action, to stand for and protect our precious marine resources for our people, our communities and for the future.

LegaSea’s Tip the Scales campaign is about gathering public support for five principles that will help us achieve our goals. http://www.legasea.co.nz/tipthescales/

Those principles are:

1. Let’s rebuild the fishery

2. Stop senseless waste

3. The public own the fishery

4. Equal size limits for all

5. Value recreational fishing

Check out our videos on the principles on our Facebook page



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