Boat ramps surveys have been used over 14 years to measure the size of fish caught and catch rates per fisher. Information was collected from 9,196 surveys covering 164 ramps nationwide. These figures are multiplied by the percentage of the population who fish to calculate a harvest estimate.
There is ongoing debate about the overall harvest of fish caught by amateur fishers. MFish estimate our catch is around 25,000 tonne per annum. A more realistic estimate maybe around 15,000 tonnes.
Regardless of which recreational harvest estimate is used, overall non-commercial catch represents less than five percent of the allowable commercial catch limit of 573,000 tonnes.
Most amateur fishers measure their success and the health of the fishery by what they catch. A check of your local boat ramp will reveal many empty chilly bins over the course of a day.
Fisheries management priorities are questionable when you consider that New Zealanders are going home empty-handed at the same time we are exporting 92 percent of commercial catch to feed the world.