In the late 1970’s the recreational fishing sector received a challenge from the then Minister of Fisheries Duncan McIntyre, who in his frustrations of trying to deal with a fragmented dysfunctional group of recreational interests said, “I do not have time to talk with every interest group about individual sector concerns on amateur fishing interests and regulations. Get yourselves sorted out and when you can speak with one cohesive representative voice then come and see me and I will ensure your voice is heard”.
So the building blocks of cooperation, consensus and policies were laid and this Council was formed.
Since 1978, the New Zealand Recreational Fishing Council has been participating in fisheries management and advocating for recreational fishing. They have been doing this work to even up the playing field that is tilted towards maximising the commercial fishing industry’s return from the fisheries resource. They have been doing this work to ensure recreational fishers can go fishing when and mostly where they like. They have been doing this work to ensure decisions made by the Minister and Ministry of Fisheries result in abundant and healthy fisheries.
There have been notable achievements with their work in influencing decisions on fisheries management. A few examples would include the establishment of recreational only areas for scallops in the Coromandel, heavy involvement in the Hauraki Gulf Maritime Park establishment, restraining commercial drag netting in Tauranga Harbour and getting cray loops legitimised as a valid method of crayfishing.
In short, the NZRFC have been an informed voice speaking for recreational fishers in New Zealand for over 32 years. The Council is recognised by the Government and the Courts as a representative body and are the only national body directly offering membership to individual fishers. The Council works on all fish species, in all regions and for all fishers across New Zealand.
As ratified at the 2011 AGM of the Council, the amended Constitution 2011w reflects the Strategic Plan 2011-2014.
The NZRFC envisage a future that has guaranteed access to abundant fisheries for all recreational fishers in NZ.
The NZRFC have a dual mission to help achieve this vision. The Council’s mission is:
1. To foster the establishment of an independent statutory body with decision making capabilities in recreational fisheries.
2. To provide professional advocacy and active participation in fisheries management for the benefit of recreational fishers – until such time as a statutory body is established.