Excessive commercial fishing has depleted many fish stocks to such low levels that non-commercial fishers in these regions can no longer provide for their social, economic and cultural well-being. Both Maori and non-Maori are suffering.
All three management proposals for both Trevally and Hapuku were rejected in favour of a fourth option, to decrease commercial catch levels so the fisheries can recover. We wait in anticipation that the Minister will listen to our concerns.
Annual surveys are conducted to estimate numbers of scallops in the Coromandel fishery, which extends from Little Barrier to Papamoa Beach, Bay of Plenty. Survey results are analysed and generally lead to proposals to increase commercial catch limits. Potential in-season increases always attract strong opinions.
As in previous years the scallop beds are healthier around Mercury and Great Barrier Islands, but particularly poor around Waiheke, Waihi and Papamoa/Motiti. We submitted that no extra commercial catch ought to be taken out of these three areas.
Once again the Accord has contributed comments on the deemed value regime. There is no excuse for the Crown to be reaping financial rewards because commercial fishers are exceeding the legal catch limits.
We have strongly advised the Minister that all overcatch from one year ought to be taken off next year’s total allowable commercial catch (TACC). For example, if there is 10 percent overcatch in 2009 then in 2010 the overall commercial catch limit for that fishery ought to be 90 percent of the TACC.
This is the only fair system that takes into account the excessive amounts of fish being taken out of the water, and essentially from the mouths of our babes.