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Kiwi Angler 2001


A Kiwi Angler Tells His Story

2001



I tried hard for years to avoid the issues which recreational anglers face by saying that it's really someone else's problem. I don't have to get involved. I just want to fish

I was the silent majority. I relied on the efforts of many dedicated and passionate anglers never once giving any consideration to the time and costs involved. I was and still am a strong critic of the Recreational Fishing Council mainly because I never understood how they could claim to represent me, "the great unwashed", Joe Public angler. I didn't know why they conceded cuts to our bag limits which I thought to be draconian and far too great. Jeez, I'd only ever once caught 30 snapper in one session and I fed half a neighbourhood with it. I didn't waste it.....it was a special day. I recognised though that 30 was far too large a daily bag and 15 was equitable for me. However when it was soon reduced to nine I was extremely angry.

I now know why these actions occurred but I still disagree with a nine bag snapper limit when the commercial sector has given away nothing, never had a size restriction change and has continued to abuse the QMS with practices such as High-grading, dumping and even deeming. I won't even mention their targeting of kingfish and claiming it as bycatch. I realise that commercial fishermen have to make a living but to do so at the expense of the public isn't fair. When it is literally condoned and sanctioned by Government(s) then it really gets my back up. I also believe that the Ministry have failed to protect the rights of recreational and sustenance gatherers over the years and that they (Ministry) have known that their role in the implementation of Government Policy would result in members of the public becoming third class citizen in fisheries allocations, management and planning not to mention destroying their basic human rights to sustenance.

I ask myself the question constantly, why is there such a strong emphasis on the public's fishing methods and catches by HFO's and the like yet I hardly ever read or see anything about the abuses inflicted by the commercial sector. Are they all sticking to the rules too? How much is actually spent on monitoring them? Not enough. How many prosecutions did they get against them last year. What percentage of vessels are actually monitored or checked in port and at sea? All the basic questions.

A lot changed for the day I emailed option4 and was phoned by a passionate and absolutely driven member who asked me what could I do? What the hell I thought, it's pay-back time and I gave a year of my life (literally) to the cause. I enjoyed it most of the time. The learning curve was steep and I never got to the heady heights of knowledge of the old hands. However they didn't judge me and in fact they fed me so much information that it just fuelled my resolve to see this whole thing through to the end. I stood down a couple of months ago because I was mentally drained and my head was spinning too much. Three months of research had done me in.

So what's the point you ask? Well it's this;

If you want to ensure that you can fish and that your kids and their kids can fish without further punitive restrictions and controls do something about it. The louder the voice of the people the better the chance that governments will listen. Don't forsake your birthright and see another piece of your heritage slide away in the avalanche of government agendas. Don't let them tell you what's right for you.....only you know that. get out there and keep banging the drum and get your mates and colleagues to do it too. If you don't, you'll get rolled and all the effort that option4 and others have made will be just like piss down the urinal. I can't think of a better way of explaining it unfortunately.

I'm talking from my heart here, not my head, however passion and belief in the cause is the first step, fighting the fight comes after. Step up and be counted, every little counts. I've often said that I don't want to be there when my kid asks "Dad, why didn't you do something?"

I bet you don't want to be in that position either.....am I right or am I right?

Done my dash for now.

Kiwiangler


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