Should Encourage Us To Fish
The government should
be encouraging New Zealanders to eat fish and stay healthy by going
fishing themselves, says a recreational fishing lobby group.
Trish Rea, spokesperson for
the option 4 group, was responding to news that Australian researchers
have found that fish oil supplements appear to ward off asthma symptoms
in young children.
Children who consumed higher
amounts of omega-3 fatty acids as found in fish, showed significant
reductions of coughing and wheezing.
Ms Rea said pelagic species
such as tuna and kahawai have high levels of omega-3 fatty acids.
A combination of eating fish
and catching the fish brought health benefits in two complementary
ways - intake of fish oil and healthy outdoor exercise.
Ms Rea said historically
fisheries had been over exploited and the government's preference
for allocating fishing rights based on catch history was depriving
New Zealanders of the chance to catch fish for food.
"Frequently fish in
supermarkets is priced beyond the reach of the average consumer.
Naturally people turn to red meat and chicken. That's why it's vital
for the Government to protect the right of every New Zealander to
go and catch a fish to eat".
One of the most accessible
fish for the average New Zealander nationwide was the kahawai. However,
in the last two decades company purse seiners had decimated stocks.
The Minister of Fisheries
has now placed kahawai into the quota system, but in doing so has
not taken into account the significance of kahawai and the concerns
of recreational and customary fishers. Most of the 3000 t annual
commercial quota will go to the purse seiners who are responsible
for fishing kahawai down to where it is today – a shadow of
what it was.
The contribution of recreational
fishing to the mental and physical health of the nation needs to
option4 in conjunction with
other non-commercial fishing representative organisations have set
up a website www.kahawai.co.nz
and are preparing to mount a legal challenge over the Minister's
decisions regarding kahawai, added Ms Rea.