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Better Reporting Needed for Recreational Fishing

MEDIA RELEASE
21 December 2006

More Effective Reporting Needed for Recreational Fishing

Te Ohu Kaimoana, the Maori Fisheries Trust, today called on more effective reporting methods to be introduced for recreational fishers.

In the trust’s annual report released today, Te Ohu Kaimoana said the government’s proposed “shared fisheries” plan could have a detrimental effect on the Maori Fisheries Settlement. The Government proposes that a large portion of the commercial fishing sector be reduced and transferred to the recreational sector.

In a number of fisheries, the recreational allowance is a significant portion of the Total Allowable Catch. The recreational catch is limited by a daily bag limit, but recreational fishers have no responsibility to report their catches. There is no annual reporting and estimates of take are made every few years using questionnaires. Additionally, there is no organisation with a mandate to speak on behalf of all recreational fishers and ensure that the overall take by them is within sustainable limits.

Te Ohu Kaimoana Chief Executive Peter Douglas said it was difficult to see how the Government’s proposals would provide a better basis for management of New Zealand’s fisheries. “With no reporting by the recreational sector, the proposals place greater costs, constraints and uncertainty on the commercial sector.

“This uncertainty will reduce incentives for long-term investment in the fishing industry by the commercial players,” he said.

He added that the Fisheries Act 1996 provides that the Minister cannot reduce the commercial share in a fishery and transfer that share to another sector without providing compensation.

“If science and recording of catches are the benchmarks for ensuring the sustainability of the commercial and customary fisheries, then the same systems should apply to the recreational fishing sector,” Mr Douglas said.

ENDS

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