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Marlborough Sounds Cod Need Credible Research

Marlborough Sounds Cod Need Credible Research

The Marlborough Recreational Fishers Association wants sound, credible research on the Marlborough Sounds blue cod fishery, to ensure soundly based management.

"Knowledge of the population dynamics of individual saltwater fish species is vital to implementing sound and effective management of the sea fisheries,” says Peter Watson, president Marlborough Recreational Fishers Association (MRFA).

Marlborough Sounds' blue cod fishery has been the centre of controversy since 2007 when the Labour-led government’s fisheries minister Jim Anderton introduced a ban on recreational blue cod fishing, after initially attempting to ban all recreational fishing in the Sounds.

“The research on which the ministry and Anderton based the closure on was poor, lacking methodology both in timing and sampling” said Peter Watson.

Anderton did not consult with the Marlborough recreational fishing public and instead with the NZ Recreational Fishing Council (NZRFC)which approved the ban also without consulting the Marlborough public. The association then took the matter up with the incoming National-led government but found ministers reluctant to meet and when they did, showing disinterest.

Now in 2017, ten years after the ban the Ministry of Fisheries now part of Ministry of Primary Industries, had not carried out any meaningful research into when and where blue cod spawn. Management is still based on guesswork and assumptions by bureaucrats in Wellington.

"The pity is the Ministry has no better knowledge in 2017 than in 2007,” said Peter Watson.


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