for Tautoko FM
Meeting of Ngapuhi and Recreational Fishers
hui was held at Whitiora Marae, Te Tii over the last weekend.
The meeting was attended
by representatives of Ngapuhi, Whangaroa, Te Rarawa, Ngati Whatua,
New Zealand Big Game Fishing Council, New Zealand Recreational Fishing
Council and option4. It was a hui of huge significance as the Ministry
Of Fisheries have done an excellent job of fooling us into thinking
that our rights to fish have been catered for under the customary
This is as far from the
truth as one can get, the fact of the matter is, Mfish have created,
in law, three categories of fishers. Customary fishers, recreational
fishers and Commercial fishers. Customary fishers are those
who collect seafood for a hui mate or an occasion of significance.
When we fish to feed our babies, Mfish has categorised that
as recreational fishing. So it was natural for Ngapuhi to host this
meeting of fishers with a common interest, to have more fish in
All who attended this
hui were adamant that we must work together to achieve the objective
of more fish in the water.
The other part of that
is what is termed, the preference debate. This is quite a complex
issue however what the people who attended that hui said was this: Because
the fish in this country are subject to the quota management system,
if there needs to be a reduction in the amount of fish allowed to
be caught, this reduction must be to the commercial take and not
customary or recreational catch.
99.999% of the time Maori
are fishing they are categorised as recreational fishers. It is
my contention that the customary allowance for hui is ours as of
right. The area then where we catch most of our fish for kai is
recreational, so we must join forces with Tauiwi to fight for our
share. Although we hold commercial quota on behalf of Ngapuhi, it
is the ability to have kai, fish, on our tables for our babies and
mokopuna to come that matters most. Consequently, our biggest quota
is deepwater and not really affected by this debate. We will be
bringing this message out to the Takiwa in the near future.