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Snapper catch under the spotlight this summer

24 December, 2004

Recreational snapper catch under the spotlight this summer

Just how many snapper, kahawai and kingfish are caught by recreational fishers in the north and east of New Zealand is the focus of a new research push, says Fisheries Minister David Benson-Pope.

The Ministry of Fisheries is using spotter planes and conducting boat ramp surveys in Northland, Coromandel and the Bay of Plenty this summer. They will be counting the number of boats fishing, and backing this up with catch details from boat ramp surveys at key locations around East Northland, the Hauraki Gulf and Bay of Plenty.

“Snapper are one of our icon fish species and are hugely important to the recreational fisher,” says Mr Benson-Pope. “We already know that around 80 percent of the nation’s recreational fishing occurs in the Northland/Bay of Plenty area and that over 50 percent of that catch is snapper.

“With such a significant level of recreational catch we would like a better idea of the actual tonnages being caught there.

“I'm encouraging people to participate in the survey, as it gives us important information for the sustainable management of these valuable fish stocks. The better we understand the level of recreational catch, the better we can take account of recreational interests in fishery management decisions."

A similar survey of recreational snapper fishing was conducted in the Hauraki Gulf last summer. This summer the project is being extended to estimate the recreational catch of snapper, kahawai, kingfish, and rock lobster over the whole of Quota Management Area 1 (North Cape to Cape Runaway).

The initial results of the recreational catch surveys should become available in mid 2005 and provide fisheries scientists with a more precise estimate of recreational catch than they had previously.

The recreational catch surveys are being done by the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Sciences (NIWA), under contract to the Ministry of Fisheries.

Interviewers will be at the major boat ramps, including: Mangonui, Mangawai, Opito Bay, Parua Bay, One Tree Point, Tutukaka, Waitangi, the main ramps in the Hauraki Gulf, and Bowentown, Maketu, Motu River, Ohope, Sulphur Point, Tairua, Waihau Bay, Whakatane and Whitianga in the Bay of Plenty.

ENDS

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