A Kiwi Angler Tells His Story
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.