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Fisheries Feud Jan 2005


TV and t-shirts: Fisheries Feud

Blenheim Sun

January 2005


This article was originally published in the Blenheim Sun

January 2005

Marlborough recreational fishers are backing a campaign to fight government plans to allow corporate fishing companies to over exploit the popular sea fish the kahawai.


Chairman of the Marlborough Recreational Fishers' Association Tony Orman says in a media statement that four national recreational fishing groups have combined efforts to set up the "Kahawai Legal Challenge".


Together they will fight through the High Court a government decision to allow new commercial kahawai fishing quotas.


"Many consider these to be just a continuation of the plundering of kahawai numbers."


A major public television fundraising campaign is to start in the next few weeks to raise money to support the challenge over several months leading up to the High Court hearing. The case should be heard about the middle of the year.


Fund raising by way of donations and selling T-shirts is being organised locally by the Marlborough Recreational Fishers' Association.


The group takes issue with the decision of the fisheries minister David Benson-Pope to make a 15% reduction in both commercial and recreational fishing levels for kahawai, saying it is necessary to safeguard the species. Recreational fishers say the measure is totally inadequate and merely continues the over fishing of the already depleted species.


"The new commercial limit will push kahawai stocks to a further all-time low, already depleted after 20 years of purse-seine fishing," says Tony Orman.


"The government seemed obsessed with privatising the ocean by way of the tradeable quota management system which gave private property rights to species.


" Kahawai is one of 21 new fish species added to the Ministry of Fisheries quota management system (QMS) since October 1 last year."


The Minister had breached section 21 of the Fisheries Act in not ensuring the fishery remained sustainable, according to Kahawai Legal Challenge campaign manager Don Glass, of Auckland.


"We believe he is in breach of his own act," he said.


The minister is by law required to consider the public as Section 21 of law requires the minister, when setting the total allowable commercial catch, to allow for "Maori customary, recreational and other mortality".  


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