Quota Cut has Anglers Seeing Red
This article was originally
published in the Marlborough Express
20 January 2005
fishermen are angry at Government fishery mismanagement of one of
the public's top recreational fish species, the kahawai.
called the people's fish, because of its popularity, kahawai should
be returned to the public by sensible management say national recreational
New Zealand Big Game Fishing Council, the New Zealand Recreational
Fishing Council, the New Zealand Angling and Casting Association
and option4 are collectively challenging the recent kahawai allocation
under the transferable quota management system decision.
anger is simple: the kahawai fishery has been decimated through
years of overfishing. The quota allocation does not acknowledge
that that public's recreational catch rates have declined.
fishery has been demolished to the point where recreational and
Maori customary fishermen are struggling to catch enough to feed
their families. An injustice has been wrought on the public and
this needs to be addressed.
the current Minister of Fisheries, David Benson-Pope, has placed
kahawai into the tradeable quota Management System, thereby privatising
a public resource. This decision has been made without adequate
information or consultation.
add salt to the wound, the Minister also expects the public to take
a 600 tonne cut to the already depleted catch rates in order to
prop up the excessive kahawai quotas now mostly held by corporate
rapid rebuild of kahawai stocks is required to fulfil the needs
of the recreational public and Maori customary fishermen. This is
not out of order and in fact it is required by law for the Minister
to "allow for non-commercial interests"!
representatives of the four national recreational fishing bodies
do not believe the Minister has done this. Nor has he acknowledged
the effects of successive years of mismanagement by the Ministry
of Fisheries (MFish) under previous ministers.
history of the kahawai is one of plundering by corporate company
purse seiners. Yet government uses catch history to set quotas.
total catch in the decade 1980-90 was phenomenal – around
25,000 tonnes a year taken with the help of spotter planes to locate
schools for the purse seiner trawlers to then surround and clean
fish were exported for very low prices and used as bait by Australian
crayfishermen. It may have also sold for pet food and fish meal
– a waste of a priceless public resource.
is a gross injustice to issue quota based on catch histories which
have been gained through plundering, and at the expense of other
legitimate users, such as the 1.3 million New Zealanders who go
fishing for food and fun.
issue is not only about kahawai fishing, but about the injustice
and threat to our Kiwi lifestyle.
Minister's and Ministry's decision must be challenged. These organisations
need you to go online to www.kahawai.co.nz
and register your support. Dig deep into your pocket and help
finance the work they are doing to protect your interests!
Tony Orman is a Marlborough recreational angler and author of fishing