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Anglers Challenge Ministers Decisions on Kahawai

Kahawai Campaign Media Release

1 November 2004


The decisions made by the Minister of Fisheries, David Benson-Pope in August on the setting of Total Allowable Catch and Total Allowable Commercial Catch for kahawai have outraged organisations who advocate the interests of the hundreds of thousands of New Zealanders who fish recreationally.

"An unprecedented number of public submissions made during the consultation process failed to shift the Ministry of Fisheries attitude as to how this species, the second most important non commercial fishery, is to be managed" says Don Glass, the Campaign Manager for the Kahawai Legal Challenge.

"The Minister's decisions followed the advice he received form the Ministry of Fisheries and fail to halt the over fishing of this species. In fact, the corporates who used purse seiners and spotter planes to target entire schools of kahawai to establish catch history receive the lion's share of the commercial quota being issued. Not only did those corporates demolish the fishery in the late '80s and early '90s, they are also guilty of "selling" those fish to very low value export markets in their cynical grab for catch history" he says.

The Minister has granted more quota to the industry than they have been able catch of recent years. To add insult to injury the public are expected to reduce their already diminished catch by 15%, or 600 tonnes. This equates to the equivalent of at least 1.2 million meals of kahawai being taken off the plates of New Zealanders to subsidise the ongoing commercial demolition of this species.

"Enough is enough" say New Zealand Big Game Fishing Council, the New Zealand Recreational Fishing Council, and option4. "Whilst we work with little or no resourcing to protect the public interest in inshore shared fisheries, we feel we have no choice but to commit to a legal challenge. We are preparing to lodge a Judicial Review to see the High Court make a declaratory judgment and hopefully set aside these decisions" says Don Glass.

"To resource this legal challenge a public awareness campaign is to be launched to generate the necessary financial support to prosecute this case."

0900 KAHAWAI enables people to invest $20 in support this very important legal challenge. Comprehensive information that fully explains the need to go to Court can be found on the website www.kahawai.co.nz

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