“The Minister needs to be acutely aware of the assumptions underpinning the Ministry’s advice and he must apply the precautionary principle where information is uncertain.”
Scott Macindoe, option4’s spokesperson says, “It is unacceptable that our kahawai stock is depleted by bulk fishing methods for so little return to the national economy. The industrial purse seining of kahawai, to feed crayfish and cats, needs to be limited to bycatch levels only.”
In a landmark case recreational fishers challenged the Ministers 2004 decisions on kahawai quota and allowances in the High Court, and won. Subsequent Appeal and Supreme Court hearings clarified a number of contentious points of law and overturned some of the earlier rulings.
In 2009 the Supreme Court decided the Minister has wide discretion when providing for customary, recreational and commercial interests.
Before exercising his discretion the Minister, Phil Heatley, will consider submissions from the public, industry and Maori interests.
New Zealand Sport Fishing and option4 encourage all fishers to describe their experience of kahawai over the years and what they value most in submissions to the Ministry of Fisheries by 13 August 2010.