A proposed saltwater license for recreational fishers is facing fierce opposition from the fishing public during the recreational fishing rights consultation process now underway. The outcome of this process will determine future public rights and access to our marine fisheries. Unfortunately, the licensing issue is so contentious that the much more important issue of ensuring secure public access to a reasonable individual daily bag limit now and into the future is not receiving the attention it deserves.
Recreational fishers now have a golden opportunity to tell fisheries managers exactly how they want their rights to be defined and if sufficient numbers respond in a united voice there is an excellent chance of securing exactly what we need.
The Ministry of Fisheries, in conjunction with the N.Z. Recreational Fishing Council, have compiled a discussion document called ÒSoundingsÓ. The document suggests 3 options for the future management of the publics rights and access to our fishery.
None of the 3 options regarding the future management of the recreational fisheries as presented is "Soundings" is acceptable, nor are they capable of improving the lot of non-commercial fishers.
All of the proposed options in the Soundings document allow for the continual erosion of the fishing publics individual rights.
The three options presented in the Soundings document are:
Option 1: Discretionary share Basically this is the status quo. A weak and vulnerable share which allows for the continual erosion of public access to the fishery. The current system has seen the destruction of our kingfish fishery, it has been incapable of rebuilding the snapper fishery and now the commercial sector are allowed to develop a broadbill swordfish fishery with no regard to the future needs of recreational fishers. Our kahawai fishery is another blatant example of complete disregard for the needs of recreational fishers that frequently occurs under the current system. No public priority over commercial fishers exists under option 1.OPTION 1 MUST BE REJECTED!
Option 2: A fixed share of the fishery It is proposed that non-commercial fishers be given a share of the fishery. It is feared that this share will not allow for future increases in public demand through inevitable population growth or increased interest in non-commercial fishing or the gathering of seafood. Effectively under option 2 the public who fish, or gather seafood would become minor shareholders in a commercially run fishery (recreational fishers only harvest around 10 percent of the total catch from the inshore fishstocks). It would become almost impossible to resolve any management concerns held by the fishing and harvesting public under this regime. The immense funding and bureaucracy required to run option 2 is left unresolved. OPTION 2 MUST BE REJECTED!
Option 3: Fundamentally this is the same as Option 2 with the non-commercial sector being forced into a fixed share (quota) of a commercially run fishery. Option 3 suggests that the necessary funding to run the required bureaucracy be achieved by licensing recreational fishers or taxing non-commercial fishers on all tackle purchases. Leasing recreational quota to commercial fishers as a way of funding option 3 is also suggested. Option 3 offers no identifiable benefits over and above any questionable benefits available under option 2. In truth, option 3 is just a means of funding the enormous bureaucracy required to achieve the Ministry of Fisheries main objective of capping the non-commercial catch. OPTION 3 MUST BE REJECTED!
In response to the threats to the publics rights to fish and gather seafood under the 3 Options proposed in the Soundings document a group of recreational fishing leaders have developed a fourth option.
The name of the action committee that developed option4 is option4.co.nz.
WHAT IS option4.CO.NZ?
option4.co.nz is an answer to the Ministry of Fisheries invitation to participate in redefining the publics rights to fish and gather seafood in New Zealand.
A web site has been created to ensure clubs, associations, and individuals with an interest in recreational fishing can be kept informed and up to date with the activities of the option4.co.nz action group and also have coordinated input into the current process of redefining non-commercial rights in our fisheries.
option4 representatives are not negotiable on the following objectives and will demand the following on behalf of all those who endorse the option4 submission.
- NO LICENSING OF RECREATIONAL FISHERS
- RECREATIONAL PRIORITY OVER COMMERCIAL FISHERS AND FREE ACCESS TO A REASONABLE DAILY BAG LIMIT IN LEGISLATION
- AN AREA RIGHT CAPABLE OF EXCLUDING COMMERCIAL METHODS THAT DEPLETE RECREATIONALLY IMPORTANT AREAS
- THE ABILITY TO DEVISE PLANS TO ENSURE FUTURE GENERATIONS ENJOY THE SAME OR BETTER QUALITY OF RIGHTS WHILE PREVENTING FISH CONSERVED FOR SUCH PURPOSES BEING GIVEN TO THE COMMERCIAL SECTOR
option4.co.nz will not let them compromise your rights to fish and gather seafood.
Option4.co.nz will not sell out the rights of future New Zealanders to a reasonable daily bag limit.
Option4.co.nz will not let the public of New Zealand become a minor shareholder in a commercially run fishery.
If you agree with the principles of option4, fill out the option4 submission form in this issue and send it in to: Option4.co.nz, PO Box 37951, Parnell, Auckland.
All submissions must be in by November 30, 2000. Please distribute these forms among your friends, family, clubs, etc. Without your support we risk losing all!
If you feel strongly about what Option4.co.nz is trying to achieve we also welcome donations to enable the option4 group to advertise nationally. All donations can be sent to: Option4.co.nz, PO Box 37951, Parnell, Auckland All funds will be managed by the trustees of the snapper fighting fund.
If you have any queries on donations please phone: 09-818-6205.
If you require a speaker at your local club or if your executive requires more information feel free to phone: Option4.co.nz project leader, Paul Barnes, 09-818-2146.
ACT NOW!!! TIME IS SHORT, YOUR FISHERY IS UNDER THREAT!!!