Increasingly, we are hearing recreational fishers are frustrated about the depletion of some fisheries compared with what they experienced in the past.
Also, tensions and conflicts between recreational, commercial and customary fishers are intensifying as they compete for limited fisheries resources.
Each fishing sector shares an interest in taking more from a fishery, and they value their share quite differently.
The aim of the New Zealand Initiative’s fisheries project is to find ways to preserve fishing for food and fun as a valued pastime and tradition for current fishers and the next generation. But, it is vital that this is done while upholding the rights of the other fishing sectors.
For this purpose, the Initiative first released the report, What’s the Catch? that outlines the current situation for managing New Zealand’s fisheries.
The second report, The Overseas Catch, provides useful overseas comparisons. Consideration of how best to improve New Zealand’s situation benefits from knowing what is working well and not so well overseas.
Western Australia was selected as the location for our ‘fisher exchange’, when a group of New Zealanders involved in recreational, commercial and customary fishing learnt first-hand from Western Australia’s example.
We were particularly interested in the high level of public trust and confidence in the way recreational fisheries are managed, despite severe restrictions on recreational fishing access and fishers needing to pay license fees.
The third report, The Future Catch, was first released for consultation. It set out draft policy recommendations that incorporated the lessons learnt in Western Australia and elsewhere.
The Initiative followed up the report’s release with 14 public meetings from Dunedin to Paihia. Attendees were generally supportive of the draft recommendations and expressed their appreciation for the opportunity to discuss the future of recreational fishing. Most meetings ended with applause.
The Future Catch now reflects the feedback about what New Zealanders want for the future of recreational fisheries. It clarifies needed changes in policies and practices.
The Future Catch will be launched at 5.30pm on Monday, 4 December at Mac’s Function Centre, 4 Taranaki Street, Wellington.
I will be joined at the panel by the Hon Stuart Nash, Minister of Fisheries, Mr Bob Gutsell, Vice President of the New Zealand Sport Fishing Council, and Sir Mark Solomon, Deputy Chair of Te Ohu Kaimoana. After the panel discussion, we will answer questions from attendees.
Please register if you would like to attend the launch via https://thefuturecatch.eventbrite.co.nz