A Good Catch - Better Fishing For Kiwis

Dr Randall Bess
Insights Newsletter
1 July, 2016

‘Teach a man to fish, and he’ll eat for life. Give him someone else’s fish, and he’ll vote for you.’ Politicians obviously know about this saying.

Over the next year or so, The New Zealand Initiative will look at why many New Zealanders consider their recreational fishing experience is not what it used to be.

We will look at the current state of recreational fisheries and identify what needs to be fixed, so that our children and grandchildren are able to grow up enjoying a pastime that is an integral part of the Kiwi way of life.

If New Zealanders do not earnestly look at this issue now, then there may well be fewer and fewer fish to catch. Daily bag limits will continue to decrease while minimum legal sizes increase. Going down this path does not look good for the future of recreational fishing.

We will examine the issues that affect the recreational fishing experience. These include the way fishstocks are allocated between fishing sectors; the highly controversial practices of discarding, high grading and misreporting of commercial catches that have been in the media recently; and, the drivers of increasing demand for recreational fishing, such as growth in population and tourism.

It is important that we find solutions that improve the abundance of fishstocks and their sustainability. These solutions must also uphold the rights associated with commercial quota ownership and Maori customary food gathering.

Our work will engage widely with fishers, recreational fishing representatives, iwi leaders, and government officials, as well as opposition parties.

It will produce a series of reports to promote public debates about what is possible. We are approaching this work with an open mind about what will be acceptable to the wider public. This is an opportunity for bold and creative discovery of what will work best.

We want to hear from you, so make sure you connect with us on our fisheries Facebook page and on the New Zealand Initiative website for updates.

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