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NZFN Update March 2003

Dear [ supporter ]

Rights Reform Process - Reference Group - 1 st Meeting 29/1/03

The meeting focused on the purpose of reform. Different interpretations of what Government hoped to achieve from the reforms were expressed. Officials stated that the objective had always been clear - to improve the quality of recreational fishing through better defining the recreational right (and thus protecting it from possible future erosion), providing for its integration with existing rights and improving the operation of fisheries management. The reforms also sought to increase the participation of recreational fishers in the management of their fisheries. Public fisher representatives thought the reforms were more to do with capping the level of public harvest to avoid future compensation issues for the crown.


The following questions have been asked. What is the specific legislation that has been passed that threatens the rights of the public to fish for food? What was the purpose and intent of that legislation and how were the public consulted when that legislation was introduced? Officials agreed to provide a paper setting out where the right to fish came from, how (and at what point) this right to fish became eroded and subservient to other statutory rights and obligations.


Once the minutes/notes of these meetings are agreed upon they will be posted to the option4 website under the heading "Rights Reform Process - 2003"


Guardians of Fiordland Proposals

The Alert that the online supporters of option4 received generated 270 submissions. The final submission from option4 covers many of the concerns arising from the proposals and incorporates a number of points made by option4 supporters. The focus of option4's submission is on the proposals by the Guardians to change many regulations that currently define the rights of the public to fish for food. Of real concern are the changes proposed to your right to accumulate daily bag limits and reductions in those daily bag limits. The chance to fish these amazing waters comes but rarely to a small number of the public. Those who are keen enough to make the effort to enter this region generally do so for extended periods. The reality of what they actually harvest is not dealt with adequately in the proposals. Nor is there sufficient information offered about the catches of the other sectors. The fishing industry would appear to have agreed to not fish inside the "Habitat Lines". These are lines drawn across the Sounds at about the mid point. They are also considering a range of practises designed to minimise environmental damage from cray pots. However, they are not considering any reductions in Total Allowable Commercial Catch (TACC) whilst the public are being asked to consider quite significant reductions. Sustainability has not been adequately covered. In summary, option4 are clear; before any changes to regulations are considered the public must have their rights to fish for food more clearly defined, especially as they pertain to a priority right ahead of the export driven fishing industry.


The Marine Reserve Act review.

This is now before Select Committee with submissions closing on 31/1/03 . There are some very good submissions in place from NZRFC, NZBGFC and MTA. They are well worth reading and may be found on site under the heading "Marine Reserves".


Tiritiri Matangi Marine Reserve Proposal from New Zealand Underwater.

By the time you read this the deadline for submissions will be upon us ( 28/2/03 ). Again we see a proposal that fails to acknowledge the role of the groups in place to advocate public fishers interests and rights. New Zealand Underwater have not consulted with NZRFC, NZBGFC or option4. They have invested heavily in promoting a range of complete no take options for Tiri and Whangaparoa. Please go online and have your say under "Alert # 3 - Tiritiri Marine Reserve" - at the top of the "What's New" column


Subscribers to the online option4 Updates.

One very pleasing aspect of all the activity lately has been the big surge in subscription and support for the option4 online network. Ass seen with both Volkner and the Guardians of Fiordland proposals, there are many people who are willing to stand and be heard and counted. This network is starting to work. Well done. Remember, one of the most tangible and constructive actions you can take is to introduce friends and family who you know want to contribute before it is too late.


Thankyou to those who have posted (c/o Fishing News) your generous contributions and letters of encouragement.


Regards from the team at option4

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