and Recreational Fishing Interests Plan a United Front
and recreational fishing interests have joined forces to restore
access for all New Zealanders to the nation's marine environment.
Iwi affiliates and representatives
from Ngapuhi (New Zealand's biggest iwi) Whangaroa, Te Rarawa, Ngati
Whatua, also representatives from the New Zealand Big Game Fishing
Council, the New Zealand Recreational Fishing Council and option4
(a group of concerned fishing public, clubs and individuals) attended
a recent hui at Whitiora marae in Northland.
"More fish in the water"
was the hui's theme.
The hui was convened to discuss how
best to address non-commercial fishing interests to achieve the
goal of rebuilding New Zealand's inshore shared fisheries, following years
of mismanagement under the quota system.
Said Sonny Tau, the Chairman
of Te Runanga A Iwi O Ngapuhi: "It was a hui of huge significance.
The Ministry of Fisheries has done an excellent job of fooling Maori
into thinking that our rights to fish have been catered for under
the customary fisheries regulations.
"This is far from the truth.
The Ministry has created, in law, three categories of fishers -
customary, recreational and commercial.
"Customary fishers are those
who collect seafood for a hui mate (tangi) or an occasion of great
significance, but it must be accompanied by a permit.
"Only a very small percentage
of Maori apply for customary fishing permits.
"When we fish to feed our
babies, MFish has categorised that as recreational fishing"
"Those attending the hui
were adamant that we must work in unison to achieve the objective
of more fish in the water for the million New Zealanders who fish
for food in the sea."
Mr Tau also said the preference
debate needed a public airing.
Where a fishery had been
depleted through excessive commercial fishing and a reduction in
the amount of fish caught was needed, this reduction must be to
the commercial take, not customary or recreational catch.
This is what was promised
in 1986 with the introduction of the quota management system.
"Although commercial quota
is held on behalf of Ngapuhi, it is the ability to have kai - fish
- on our tables for our babies and mokopuna that matters most.
Said Ngapuhi Kaumatua Andy
Sarich: "The blame for the depletion of fish stocks can unequivocally
be placed at the feet of the Minister and Ministry of Fisheries".
He quotes an old whakatauki
(proverb): Te kai atihau, he kai totonui. The food
of life is preservation, seeding that will sustain continuity.
A recreational fishing representative,
Scott Macindoe said: "We went up North to compare notes with Ngapuhi
about our non-commercial fishing interests, driven by our frustration
at having to work within such a commercially biased fisheries management
"We came home filled with
hope, having heard first hand from Ngapuhi leaders that they have
the same concerns and frustrations.
"It was clear our non-commercial
fishing interests are, by and large, the same and we are planning
a united front."