On the 27th June 2011, the Minister of Fisheries has issued an invitation to some recreational fishing representatives to discuss options for establishing recreational-only fishing areas.
NZRFC President Geoff Rowling has the following to say about the Minister’s invitation, timed just days before the NZRFC national conference and close enough to the national election to be worth political points:
” It is great to see some forward movement on the recreational fishing areas by Minister Heatley with an invitation finally arriving to attend a meeting in the next few months. It seems the Minister has given up all hope of getting any positive help from commercial stakeholders, who we know he has spent the last couple of years courting for assistance.
The NZRFC will be taking up the offer to get around the table with other recreational fishing representatives to discuss how improvements could best be achieved. Given the tight constraints outlined in the Minister’s covering letter, we believe it will be a difficult task to achieve positive gains. Just why it has taken the Minister almost 3 years to get this invitation out is difficult to understand when we have made several requests to him for progress. We know MFish has been busy tearing themselves apart and then trying to rebuild, only to face another disruption with the merger into MAF. Maybe it is this or maybe he believes the MFish spin that so long as a ‘process’ is being run then we recreational fishers will sit quietly and wait for deliverance.
We are sure many others share our frustration at the lack of action on this and for that matter on anything else positive for recreational fishers. Perhaps the fact that he has gotten away with no action for so long serves to underline why reform and strengthening of the public fishing sector is needed. It may well be we have strong rights on paper, but fishing rights with no fish or access to fish are not much use to anyone. We look forward to the setting of a meeting date.”