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Common sense changes to amateur fishing regulation

Common sense changes to amateur fishing regulations

'Common sense' changes have been made to the amateur fishing regulations after recommendations by Minister of Fisheries Jim Anderton were agreed to at cabinet this week. These will come into effect on 16 December this year, in time for the coming holiday season.

"The changes have been made in response to a series of issues identified by the New Zealand Recreational Fishing Council as priorities for review, and after feedback was received from stakeholders nationwide. They will contribute to preserving people's enjoyment of recreational fishing," Jim Anderton said.

The decisions on regulations are:

1. That divers be allowed to take extra bag limits of scallops and dredge oysters for each of up to two safety people on board a fishing vessel.

“It is important to encourage divers to have a safety person on board the boat and giving them extra bag limits provides a positive incentive to do this. It must be clear, however, that this is not a precedent for other species or for other situations," Jim Anderton said.

2. To retain the regulations that mean scallops taken by divers must be counted and measured at the first reasonable opportunity.

“The Ministry of Fisheries will develop a code of practice to clarify the law in this area and to guide the actions of the public and Fishery Officers.

3. That the use of bobs and ring pots in taking crayfish be allowed, and that scoop nets (landing nets) be allowed to be used to secure fish taken lawfully by any method.

“I am not yet convinced that hand-held lassoes should be permitted to be used in capturing a crayfish.

4. That the recreational daily bag limit of 20 for Coromandel scallops be retained.

“The Coromandel scallop fishery is rebuilding from a period of historical decline and I commend the recreational sector for its contribution to the management of this important shared fishery. However, there is not yet enough information available on the nature and extent of the scallop fishery to support a bag limit increase.

"It is important to retain regionally consistent bag limits to avoid confusion and misunderstanding of the rules.

5. That the restrictions around the use or possession of underwater breathing apparatus when taking mussels be removed; however the current restrictions for paua will be retained.

“A method control is no longer necessary in the mussel fishery as there are no longer any significant sustainability risks or poaching concerns in most areas.

"Considerable concerns still exist for paua and I believe the prohibition on the use and possession of underwater breathing apparatus remains an important management tool for this fishery.

6. That scallops and dredge oysters be allowed to be shucked and eaten while on board a vessel, so long as the fish eaten form part of a fisher’s daily bag limit.

“Eating shellfish while on your boat is now considered to be an essential part of the recreational experience. The requirement to observe daily bag limits and size limits will of course remain, as will the requirement to land the uneaten shellfish in their shell,” Jim Anderton said.

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