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option4 Update #45 NZFN Aug 2004

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Kahawai Decision - What Will It Bring?

NZ Fishing News
Aug 2004



Kahawai have been stolen from the people of this country and we want our rights to this fishery restored. The sooner the Minister and Ministry accept this, the sooner we will see justice and the stock rebuilt. The Minister is about to make his decision on this most important fishery. Will he support the urgent rebuild that is required? Or will he just follow MFish advice and allow the decimation of kahawai to continue?

The public made more than 3000 submissions demanding that the theft of the "peoples fish" should not be allowed to continue. They asked the Minister to ignore previous commercial purse seine catch history and thereby allow the kahawai schools to return to the coast. All we want is for our kids to enjoy what we enjoyed when we were young. But those fish need to be there for them to catch.

To all those who made a submission, filled out the coupon in the NZ Fishing News or the newspapers – thank you. Without your support we could not have demonstrated the value the public place on restoring this fishery to what it should be.

option4 acknowledges the support of the NZ Big Game Fishing Council, Dive NZ, Fishing Coast to Coast, NZ Fishing World, and of course NZ Fishing News. Support from these people has enabled the public to be aware of what is being proposed and what needs to be done to counter that. Thank you all. Watch this space.


Marine Protection

The DoC machine continues to roll on. Ignoring all objections, including a clear call for an integrated, coordinated approach to marine protection, the Department of Conservation has decided that the 50,100 ha Great Barrier Island marine reserve application will proceed. And if that is not enough to deal with, they have also proposed Northland's Mimiwhangata marine park boundaries should be extended and become a marine reserve. Nugget Point has also become an area of interest again. Where is the logic? The public are asking for better management of the marine environment but not at the cost of access alone.

DOC needs to think about strategies for effective marine protection that do not simply focus on eliminating fishing but significantly improve the quality of our marine environment. It is not just about the snapper and crayfish we catch, it is about looking at the threats to the environment, finding solutions and encouraging community involvement. By simply staking out no-take areas and producing thousands of glossy brochures they will not achieve the public support they require to make it work.

This effort would be so much more effective if they acknowledged the damage done to the environment by wholesale slaughter of fish stocks by the use of industrial methods such as trawl nets and dredges that destroy the seafloor. While DoC might say this is a management issue and marine reserves are not fisheries management tools they are forcing people to concentrate their effort into smaller and smaller areas. Without a corresponding reduction in overall catch rates the gains made in marine reserves achieve very little for the accessible areas. Will we see increasing destruction in new areas? In the case of Great Barrier DoC does not seem to have the resources to police a marine reserve out to the 12-mile limit let alone fund the scientific research that is the fundamental objective of the Marine Reserves Act.

There are so many tools including mataitai, taiapure and seasonal closures that can be used in the effort to protect our marine environment. But for DoC to acknowledge the tools available under the Fisheries Act means they will have to forego control and cede to fisheries management rather than their ultimate tool, the Marine Reserves Act 1971. So maybe this is not about marine reserves after all. Is this a product of a government department bullying its way into the marine environment to deliver an arbitrary target of 10% of the territorial sea in marine protected areas by 2010?

Peter Blackwell in the Barrier Bulletin made a very salient point recently, "DoC is clearly stating they will proceed regardless of what the people want or think. That blatantly shows us abuse of power and lack of respect for the people." In relation to historical Treaty issues: "It is established that the nation and especially the political powers and the legal fraternity clearly accept that the government of the day acted wrongly by taking land and assets from the Maori people with heavy handed methods, which were wrong and now deemed as unlawful. Proper consultation could not have taken place and the people were overpowered by politics and the current generations of taxpayers must now pay. Does it not seem distasteful and very wrong that in parallel to us compensating for past political wrongdoing DoC are charging ahead with their land and sea grab against the people's wishes!"


What can you do?

Objections or submissions in support of the DoC application for a marine reserve at Great Barrier can be addressed to: Director General of Conservation c/o Auckland Conservator, Department of Conservation Private Bag 68-908 Newton, Auckland. Or email greatbarrierisland@doc.govt.nz . You only have until October 2 nd to have your say. Check your local tackle retail outlet for a petition form to sign in opposition to this application.

Submissions on the Mimiwhangata proposal can be directed to Department of Conservation Northland Conservancy Office, PO Box 842 Whangarei. Vern at Oakura Bait and Tackle is very active regarding this proposal and has established a group called PRAGAMR. People's Rights Action Group Against Marine Reserves. Give Vern a call if you want to know more on 09 4336581.


What else can you do?
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