With less than two weeks to go before our conference and AGM in New Plymouth (1st & 2nd July) things are hotting up. With Fisheries Minister Phil Heatley having recently made totally contradicting statements those attending will be able to get a first hand explanation about just what he means.
It seems incredible that he can attend a commercial fishers conference boldly stating that he is going to open up more areas to commercial fishing for paua and increase commercial allocations in two of New Zealand’s major Snapper fisheries, then the very next day be seen on “Gone Fishin” claiming he always allows for public fishers first when making allocation decisions! Just how recreational fishers can benefit from having areas presently closed to commercial fishing opened is beyond me even if there is some poaching going on. Unless they allocate the new commercial catch to those presently doing the poaching, it is inevitable that catch will increase leaving us with less.
Allowing commercial greater access to Snapper around most of the North Island, as he proposes, will destroy the rebuilds that we have all worked so long and hard for over the years. Rather than thinking about increasing catches he should be looking at reducing commercial allocations from East Cape south to provide for a long awaited rebuild in that area.
I am sure Martin Salter, international expert on recreational fishing representation and advocacy will have something to say on this subject. I suspect he will point out to us it is for the very reasons such as those above that we need a strong, focused and well resourced body ensuring that public fishers can always have Guaranteed Access to Abundant Fisheries.
If you want to attend the conference it isn’t too late and you can register now on this site.
It would be great to see you in New Plymouth.