Sport fishing council seeks changes to policy

New Zealand Sport Fishing Council spokesman Scott Macindoe
New Zealand Sport Fishing Council spokesman Scott Macindoe

The New Zealand Sport Fishing Council is calling on political parties to consider a new approach to setting policy.

The council had consulted with its members over what they wanted in terms of fisheries stewardship, spokesman Scott Macindoe said, resulting in five major policy requirements:

To establish a Royal Commission of Inquiry into fisheries management and the Quota Management System; to amend the Fisheries Act 1996 to include an allocation principle; the removal of industrial fishing methods such as trawling, seining and dredging from the inshore zone; to establish a separate, well-resourced Ministry of Fisheries; and amending Section 13 of the Fisheries Act to deliver a minimum biomass target of 50 per cent, in line with international best practice.

Mr Macindoe said New Zealand's fisheries were owned by the public of New Zealand, yet all too often that was forgotten in the rush to commer-cialisation.

"These fish belong to all New Zealanders, and attempts to change public access to fish amounts to privatisation," he said.

"With this manifesto we want New Zealand political parties to fully embrace the entirety of the fisheries issues, not just the short-term commercial gain that might be there for the few.

"The challenges facing New Zealand's fisheries are broad and complex, and merely tinkering with the detail of the current system simply won't work. We face a tipping point for many over-fished stocks, and if we don't act now we may not have a fishery to protect in years to come," he added.

"We call on all political parties to take this issue seriously. Recreational fishers know the current model is untenable - we want to ensure there are fish left in the sea for future generations to enjoy.

"We have already seen an end to plentiful crayfish, gurnard and trevally in many areas, and said goodbye to john dory and hapuku. The current focus on exporting so much of our precious inshore fish for less than $3 per kilo when Kiwis cannot buy it for anywhere near that price has to stop.

"We will be advising our members according to which party supports that view."

- Northland Age

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