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Government Should Encourage Us To Fish

Government Should Encourage Us To Fish

The government should be encouraging New Zealanders to eat fish and stay healthy by going fishing themselves, says a recreational fishing lobby group.

Trish Rea, spokesperson for the option 4 group, was responding to news that Australian researchers have found that fish oil supplements appear to ward off asthma symptoms in young children.

Children who consumed higher amounts of omega-3 fatty acids as found in fish, showed significant reductions of coughing and wheezing.

Ms Rea said pelagic species such as tuna and kahawai have high levels of omega-3 fatty acids.

A combination of eating fish and catching the fish brought health benefits in two complementary ways - intake of fish oil and healthy outdoor exercise.

Ms Rea said historically fisheries had been over exploited and the government’s preference for allocating fishing rights based on catch history was depriving New Zealanders of the chance to catch fish for food.

"Frequently fish in supermarkets is priced beyond the reach of the average consumer. Naturally people turn to red meat and chicken. That's why it's vital for the Government to protect the right of every New Zealander to go and catch a fish to eat".

One of the most accessible fish for the average New Zealander nationwide was the kahawai. However, in the last two decades company purse seiners had decimated stocks.

The Minister of Fisheries has now placed kahawai into the quota system, but in doing so has not taken into account the significance of kahawai and the concerns of recreational and customary fishers. Most of the 3000 t annual commercial quota will go to the purse seiners who are responsible for fishing kahawai down to where it is today – a shadow of what it was.

The contribution of recreational fishing to the mental and physical health of the nation needs to recognised.

option4 in conjunction with other non-commercial fishing representative organisations have set up a website and are preparing to mount a legal challenge over the Minister's decisions regarding kahawai, added Ms Rea.

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