Great effort goes into surveying 17 species, landed and released, including:
- Angler numbers
- Boat numbers
- Target species
- Non-target species
- Angler and boat details
In total the four-year project has cost MFish zip. But just because MFish has not provided any support does not invalidate the results.
By casting aside the survey results as anecdotal the Ministry has successfully alienated a committed bunch of individuals whose mission is to achieve ‘more fish in the water’.
And to say local Hawke Bay fishers are frustrated is an extreme understatement.
Taking another approach, the Hawke Bay-based fishers combined efforts with all other NZ Sport Fishing Zone 5 clubs to respond to the recent management proposals for Trevally 2.
In response to their assertions that trevally catches were declining, the Ministry advised the Minister, “MFish notes that it is difficult to draw the conclusion of a ‘steady decline’ from three data points”. Notwithstanding that MFish regularly uses much less information to draw conclusions on the state of our inshore fisheries.
MFish also notes that there was an increase between the 2008-09 and 2009-10 season; from 0.08 to 0.11 trevally per person, per day. But this still requires nine day’s fishing effort to catch one trevally!
Not only is MFish being selective about what information is acceptable; it is being totally dismissive of people who genuinely want more abundant fisheries.
There is a proven need to rebuild the Area 2 fisheries so the Minister can fulfil his statutory obligation to manage fisheries sustainably, to enable people to provide for their social, economic and cultural well-being.
A good start to the restoration process would be to have a Ministry who was more honest about the rate and reasons for the ongoing, excessive commercial catch in this same area, but then that is another story.