Ecologic Foundation
  Issues we're working on

Recreational fishing

Catching a fish for dinner is every New Zealander’s birthright. But in many areas, we’re losing it.

What’s wrong with our fishing laws?

Generally, the quota management system is working OK to sustain fisheries stocks – but there are some real problems for those of us who fish for recreation or sustenance:

  • Local fishing grounds or harbours can still become badly depleted – even though commercial fishers are operating within their overall quota.
  • There are few rights in the Fisheries Act for recreational and sustenance fishers.In future, as fishing pressure increases, we risk being caught in a squeeze.
  • About 15 percent of recreational fishers account for almost two-thirds of the recreational catch – placing undue pressure on the resource for everyone else.
  • Failure to control discharges of microbial contaminants and silt from agriculture, urban stormwater and septic tanks is impacting on many fisheries, especially shellfisheries.

What can be done?

Ecologic is proposing these initiatives:

CREATE a right in priority in the Fisheries Act for responsible recreational and sustenance fishing, over commercial fishing;

ENABLE recreational fishing organisations to apply for an increased share of any fishery. This should be based on demonstration of need, and of good conservation practices by fishers;

USE fisheries plans to give local communities the right to co-manage particular fisheries where there are important local values at stake, eg Marlborough Sounds, Kaipara Harbour;

INITIATE a nationwide educational campaign in support of conservation-oriented fishing practices;

CONTROL unwanted discharges from land where it affects fisheries, by using powers in the Resource Management Act.

Ecologic believes a way can be found to do these things, which can get results while recognizing existing interests in our fisheries.

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