Latest developments with recreational only areas

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.”


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(1) Reader Comment

  1. When you consider all the frustrations that the recreational sector has had all these years, while we see the serious decline in the inshore fish stocks, especially where the people live and fish, there is no doubt in my mind, the recreational sector must pull together and make the changes required.
    That change is firstly to be united, we be recognised by government as a statutory body, like Fish & Game and the Game & Forest Foundation.
    We are NOT talking of licencing but being ONE BIG club or organisation, that we may pay your subs to, to enable the best possible experts of the land to defend our statutory rights. And that includes going to court.
    The lack of performance of the Ministry of Fisheries in regards to this proposed change, is the core reason change will happen.
    Maori have their customary rights well established and commercial managed to estblish their place in their rights to the sea, all be it by “catch history.” Do you not believe we recreational fishers have a “catch history” also ?
    So instead of complaining all the time, back the Recreational Fishing Council’s initiative which incidentally, is backed by many Maori recreational fishers as well as all those out there who admit we have a huge problem that needs to be put right.
    The comments by the president about Phil Heatley finally addressing areas closed to commercial, for recreational only, is proof that we need spacial separation from commercial because where we live and fish, and is easy access, and uses less fuel causes “localised depletion.” Take a look at the enormous number of commercial pots in Gisborne Bay and the surrounds ? Take a look at the hapuku/groper depletion in the key traditional spots that have disappeared recently ?
    Commercial believe they own all of the sea so in my mind, the only way to bring peace is to have some key areas where we can catch a feed and go home happy.
    To achieve this, the recreational sector has to be united and accept that change is the only way. Things simply cannot continue to drag along doing nothing.
    Now is the time, for you to do something. To do that something, will enhance and highlight the VALUE that recreational fishing does for this country.
    Alain Jorion

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