wants right to fish to become law
fishers want priority over commercial fishermen. PHILIP
A group of saltwater anglers wants the
right to fish locked into law.
movement, which claims huge support among recreational marine
anglers, wants the public's right to fish to take priority
over the catches of commercial fishermen.
Option4, the movement grew out of a Ministry of Fisheries
consultation exercise last year on the future management of
consultation process resulted, not surprisingly, in an uproar
over licensing amateur fishers. The option was quickly dropped
by the Government before the full consultation process was
over. At the time anglers thought they had won a major
Option4 watchdog group wants to move on.
has nothing to do with our right to fish," says Scott
Macindoe, of the Option4 management team.
licensing debate galvanised the public and the media it is now
off the agenda.
issue is the priority right. It has been submerged in the
licensing debate. It is important that the real issue is kept
in the public mind."
Ministry of Fisheries consultation exercise contained in the
Soundings discussion document attracted 61,117 submissions
from supporters of Option4, which reckons it made up about 98
per cent of all the submissions made.
consultation process the Option4 group called for the public's
right to fish to be given priority over commercial catches. It
is not seeking the same right to take priority over
traditional or customary Maori fishing.
is still involved in discussions over the future management of
hopeful of winning support from the Government and bureaucrats
for the priority right to fish being enshrined in law.
not only seeking a right to fish over commercial fishermen but
also wants the commercial sector excluded from recreationally
important fishing grounds. It wants a planning right to ensure
that fish conserved by the public through voluntary management
regimes are reserved for future generations of anglers - not
the commercial industry.
Macindoe believes there is an official agenda to "privatise"
the New Zealand fishery.
mean taking the fisheries out of public ownership and vesting
them in private hands. It will mean a share of our fisheries
will be allocated to the public and the public will have to
constrain themselves within that overall limit.
population and/or our enthusiasm for fishing grows, so our
individual catches will have to be continually reduced to
remain within our overall limit. Eventually our bag limits
will be reduced to levels so low it simply won't be worth
want to eat fish we will find ourselves paying export prices
to the fishing industry to purchase back our fish that were
given away through this process we are involved in right now.
fishing industry will always want more for the very reason
that the worldwide demand for our precious inshore fish stocks
points to the past to make its argument. In spite of fisheries
management processes introduced by the ministry as a
consequence of inshore fishing industry practices in the 1970s
and 1980s, many recreational fishers still return to boat
ramps demoralised with no fish.
president of the Federation of Commercial Fishermen, Peter
Jones, said the federation did not have an official view on
Option4 at present.
is just an option. There are a whole heap of options. We hear
a lot of different things."