Top Menu

Snapper New Zealand

Who is Snapping up the Snapper?

Snapper New Zealand

Image by Orinoko42

The recent furore over snapper fishing in the Hauraki Gulf should serve as a wake-up call for recreational fishers.

This is not a David v Goliath story about big business squashing the poor little fisher.

It is a symptom of an outdated approach to rec fishing, held in place by an ignorant belief that recreational fishers can’t cause any damage with a hook and line.

In reality their impact is huge.

First, a quick bit of history.

Our snapper fisheries got devastated in the 1970s by poorly managed commercial fisheries.

This changed in 1986 when commercial fishing was severely restricted under the Quota Management System, and since then most fish stocks have been recovering slowly.

Cuts were made to the Snapper 1 commercial quota and recreational bag limits in 1997, and since then it has been slowly recovering. Anecdotally the fishing has become better in recent years.

The trouble is this is that the fish stock is still a long way from where it should be.

It is still only about 19-24% of the un-fished stock. The Ministry of Primary Industries has, in quite a correct move, increased their target for most stocks to 40%.

This target is partly for the good of fishers – more fish makes fishing easier – but also for the good of the environment. Snapper should be everywhere in the Hauraki Gulf, they are the centrepiece of the ecosystem.

So to achieve the new, higher target, further cuts to fish takes are needed.

Who should bear the brunt: recreational, commercial or customary fishers?

This is where our fisheries management system, supposedly a world leader, descends into farce.

Everyone wants someone else to take the heat, and the Minister is left in the unenviable position of sorting it out.

Side with the recreational fishers against industry and they will be taken to court. Side with industry against rec fishers and they will lose votes.

No wonder the politicians drag their feet.

The trouble is that since 1997 when the last cuts were made, recreational fishing has continued to grow.

Rec fishers now take around half the total catch in the Hauraki Gulf.

How then can someone like Matt Watson come out claiming that commercial fishers are causing the real damage? A dead fish is a dead fish.

The plain fact is that there is no effective cap on recreational fishing.

Bag limits don’t cut it – increased population, more leisure time and better fishing technology all mean that more and more fish get caught by rec fishers.

This will only get worse as the baby boomers look to see out their retirement on the waters of the Gulf. The problem is that there are more people, but there aren’t more fish.

Over the same time commercial fishers have faced a strict fishing limit under the quota management system.

They are killing the same amount of fish that they were back in 1997 when their quota was last reduced.

The same cannot be said for recreational fishers.

Commercial fishers have shown that they can work together to manage fisheries well when left to their own devices – in other words when there are few recreational fishers involved.

Most fish stocks are now well managed, particularly offshore. Inshore it is a different story because commercial fishers are still racing recreational fishers to catch the fish.

Of course commercial fishers are not perfect – there are claims that some commercial operators throw fish overboard (an illegal practice known as high grading) to maximise the value of their catch.

This is a good reason to improve video monitoring of commercial vessels.

But the real question we should be asking is why should commercial fishers stick to the rules and restrict their catch when the growth in recreational catch will suck up any fish they leave behind?

This current stoush is merely the latest manifestation of a festering sore in our fisheries policy – the lack of effective limits on recreational fishing.

It won’t go away because of simple mathematics.

There are not ‘plenty more fish in the sea’ – we have already gone past the limits of the natural bounty.

Commercial fishers have done their bit and restricted their take for decades now.

Yet there are more and more recreational fishers out fishing, and together they take more fish.

Something has to give.

This simple maths leaves us a simple set of solutions.

One is that we fish all the fish from the oceans, which clearly isn’t acceptable.

The second is that as our population (or number of fishing days) increases, the recreational bag limit will fall.

Rec fishing groups are yelping about this now, but they can expect a lot more in the future.

The third option is that we allow commercial fishers to catch fewer and fewer fish over time.

Expect a court case, because that is effectively nationalising their quota, which is considered an asset.

The final option,which we proposed in the book Hook, line and Blinkers, and really the only sane one we can think of, is that rec fishers get together and buy the quota off commercial operators over time.

That way as population increases, the commercial take can be reduced in an orderly fashion.

This could be easily afforded for a modest licensing fee.

This fee would also finally allow for decent representation of rec fishers, which is currently left to a rag tag mob of do-gooders.

It would also get recreational and commercial fishers working together to improve fish stocks.

Maybe then our fisheries management would deserve the ‘best in the world’ moniker that we are only too eager to award ourselves.

  • Eric Robinson

    I live in Waitara and when I moved here in 1990 on a good weekend there would be approx. 20 to 30 boats going out fishing. These days there would be 200 to 300 boats and if one was to multiply that by a low average of 2 rec fishermen per boat, by 10 snapper per limit, what figure does that give of snapper being caught, Recreation Fishermen would have to be the biggest cause of stocks not inproving. I am a recreation Fisher, and I have been guilty of taking My limit as well in the past. I think in this Day that the limit should be lowered to 5 per person, no Worries

    • http://garethsworld.com/ Geoff Simmons

      Agree Eric that would be a reasonable solution right now. But the population will keep growing and the bag limit will keep falling accordingly. We will have to talk about licensing eventually.

      • Eric Robinson

        10min traveling up the from the Waitara River Bar heading north towards White Cliffs there is or was a Snapper Nursery, Weather it still exist today is anybodys guess. Perhaps they could be identified and protected, or put into Reserves, Even extend currant Reserves, as Farmers shut up paddocks for Hay pehaps the same thing could be applied to the sea

        • Richard Stone

          No-one gets it. This is all hype. There is no “crisis” in the snapper fishery. I went to a meeting of local Coromandel fishers and all said that their catch per effort has increased steadily to date and had records to prove it. This despite the increase in recreational/commercial charter effort. The system has worked, and, is working. The terrible thing is the govt. no longer funds proper research to establish the fish stock. They use catch effort per landing weight numbers that are completely skewed by the forms fishers fill out. No matter what species you are targeting if you catch mostly snapper you have to fill out the form as if you were targeting snapper. As for the “lease price” of SNA1 quota just take a look at how much is available for lease. I bet if Sanfords 1086 tonnes was on the market to lease the price would drop out of sight. There is almost no trade in SNA1 quota for sale. There is precious little for lease.

      • Matt Watson

        A good thread of discussion here. But nothing new, it’s only the threat of a cut to rec take that has brought the complaining that usually happens around bar leaners into a public forum. But as you point out, more people same amount of fish, cuts are inevitable, so it’s good that people are engaging.
        I’ve read your book, and it did offer up many of the issues our fisheries face, and I learned a lot particularly about the effect of acidification of the sea, and the down stream effects. Thank you.
        Lip service was paid to looking at various solutions, but there seemed to be a pre-determination that rec-fishers need to be licensed. Some of the language in the book and used by Mr Morgan in other forums suggests he thinks that rec fishers are selfish beer-swilling morons out to kill what ever they can – so licensing is a way of getting the heathens under control.
        To paint rec fishers as complaining now about cuts is incorrect, yes some are concerned about how many fish they will be allowed to take, but I believe most are more concerned with the imbalance. In principle I have no problem with a bag limit reduction, I’ve not taken my bag limit of nine snapper once in the last 10 years, and seldom will I take more than 3 0r 4. But if the fish we conserve and then being use to prop us the TACC and caught in gill nets, bottom trawl nets and danish seiners, and you add in the abhorrent deliberate waste of fish dumping, and we’re going backwards. To quote Mr Morgan ‘a dead fish, is a dead fish’ well not quite. When take a fish by hook and line it is one dead fish, when caught in a bottom trawler one dead fish may equal up to 3 dead fish.
        So I like many other rec fishers are happy to take a cut, if the cut is equitable across all sectors, hey I already promote limiting your catch, not catching your limit, and it is extremely well supported. And fishing methodology improvements to reduce inevitable by-catch, and observers that can calculate the collateral damage so the tonnes of dead and dying fish are counted in the QMS.

        Fundamentally i see two major flaws in our system (and the QMS has the potential to be a great system with a few tweaks and better monitoring) For one, the management areas are too big, the area in question Snapper 1 extends from East cape to North cape, so potentially all of the snapper quaota can be caught in a small areas. Fishers rec and commercial are going to take the fish closest first, particularly commercial as it is about economics, not adventure. So no surprised that the most devastated fishery in BOP, terain perfect for bottom trawling and it’s on the doorstep of a large commercial fleet. While the hauraki gulf, on the doorstep of by far the largest concentration of rec fishers, has what I believe to be the best snapper fishing in New Zealand – why?? Because it has restrictions on harvesting method, namely no bottom trawling.
        So cut down the areas and manage them according to localised stocks and make provisions for habitat and external influences.
        The second fundamental flaw is the ownership of the quota, the large quota holders are companies, not fisherman as intended when the quota was allocated. Fishers, rec and commercial an appreciation for the fish and a vested interest in their conservation. But company share holders, many of whom don’t carte for fish, or have ever been fishing, they care only for profit and see the fish as a commodity they own.
        Quotas for smaller areas owned by the fishermen that are taking the fish will give much more incentive to conserve and respect the resource.

        I’ve got to stop somewhere now, so to conclude. We can all do better, but the current proposal put forward by MPI will not save any fish, it just re allocates them, potentially causing more destruction. Rec fishers, infact all kiwis need to speak up and make a submission to reject the proposals set forth and get the attention onto how we can enhance and maintain a healthy fishery – not how we divvy up the scraps of whats left.

    • Joshua Whalen

      I find that most fishermen reduce their catch anyway, so using the max limit is false! As Gareth said, a dead fish is a dead fish…look at a picture of a net being hauled up, heaps of snapper belly up floating around it and tonnes of juvees squashed to death! It would take your 300 recreational boats a week to do the same damage as one haul of one net!

  • Barrie

    I strongly recommend that you do a bit more home work on this. There are several incorrect comments which tends to say that you are doing nothing more than stirring the pot for your own entertainment?

    • http://garethsworld.com/ Geoff Simmons

      Hi Barrie. We wrote a book on NZ fishing. Is that research enough for you? Feel free to let us know if you have written one. http://garethsworld.com/blinkers/

      • Barrie

        No not on fishing but at the moment, am writing one on history if that counts?
        Have a look at who got the quota that the recreational fishers had taken away from them when the daily limit on snapper was reduced from 15 to 10 snapper per day then to 9 snapper a day.

        How many tons per year is declared as dumped(450ton?) versus what the true figure is (1500 to 2000tons) {under sized fish}

        Why are not better netting methods used that are available, although more expensive, to cut this wastage of small crushed snapper out?

        • http://garethsworld.com/ Geoff Simmons

          So you want to relitigate the quota settlement from 25 years ago? Good luck in the courts. Even that won’t solve the problem – the issue is that we have a growing population but the same amount of fish. Commercial operators have been capped for 25 years and rec fishing continues to grow. You want to do a Mugabe and keep pinching off the corporates?

          • Barrie

            prior to the quota system, who owned the fish?
            It belonged to the NZ people.
            The government of the day decided it was worth money and sold it to fishing companies and allowed the people of NZ a “quota” of something we already owned. At the moment the large companies are in fact, to use your term, doing a Mugabe on the people of NZ. Have a true look at what the recreational dollar in its entirety is worth to the economy and compare it to what the commercial dollar is worth. Included in this should be charter operators, petrol companies,fishing related stores and tourism to name a few that come to mind quickly.
            I have said my bit as you have yours so with both of us having made up our minds, we are unlikely to change each others.

          • http://garethsworld.com/ Geoff Simmons

            Many factual errors here. If you want to know who own our fisheries, read Article two of the Treaty. The Govt also never sold the quota, it was given away to compensate all the fishers who had to stop fishing. Ultimately I don’t think the deal was fair either – this was covered in our book. But at the end of the day Barrie no way of carving up the commons is fair. We need to stop relitigating the past and get on with finding solutions for the future.

          • Eric Morman

            funny how we have heard that quote a lot lately “stop relitigating the past” yet it is what was done then that concerns us now,

            history is part and parcel of our future you can not have one without the other,otherwise you wouldn’t be quoting your book.

      • Kyle

        Geoff you may have written a book but you cant spell – go to http://garethsworld.com/blinkers/ and re look at the title.

      • Sam Lynds

        I have read the book. I recall Gareth speaking about how his favourite fish the groper lives in holes.
        Hardly emphaticly accurate research there….

  • Todd Sheridan

    What I have seen myself, and heard from those with steeped traditions in harvesting fish stocks, is that ‘greed’ comes in a range of packages. Whether recreational, commercial or customary we are now seeing mass exploitation of a once bountiful and ‘traditionally managed’ resource. Fishing with my Grandparents, Uncles, Aunties and cousins we all knew where to go, when to go and what we were fishing for. On the boat was no different. We caught according to the tauranga ika, or traditional fishing grounds, and on return to land would take ‘shares’ of these spoils to the various marae. The fish was never wasted, and there was never ‘more than enough’ caught. Over time my Uncles noticed boaties tracking and recording their travels to these traditional grounds and would find more and more boaties who had never been taught the traditional harvesting methods, fishing grounds used for customary purposes. I see that people with financial means now have the abilities to fish wherever and with whatever these abilities enable them to do so. This was not the case in my childhood years. One boat served many families and marae occasions such as tangi and birthdays. It would seem to me that on commercialising the fist stocks it placed the price of fish one could easily catch beyond reach. It is no wonder recreational fisho’s fail to abide by regulations, although i do not condone this I feel some must have the mind that it is their right. ALL must take less for the price of nothing is far too much for all to bear.

    • http://garethsworld.com/ Geoff Simmons

      Fair call mate, but this is the problem with increased population.

  • Gayle Ferguson

    The story of the ‘Poor Knights’ marine reserve is evidence enough of the impact of recreational fishing on fish numbers and biodiversity. I wanted to vote for multiple options above; my top two choices are to create more marine reserves and to ban trawling.

  • Snapperhead1

    Gareth, The problem is that commercial murders have world over have destroyed fish stocks full stop! By the way, are U even a NZer? If not, swim home!

    • http://garethsworld.com/ Geoff Simmons

      Have you even researched our fisheries management system or are you just taking on propaganda without thinking?

      • Snapperhead1

        Yes I have. And I admit not to be an expert, and our quota management system appears world class compared with the rest of the world. But facts are facts, world wide fish stocks have been depleted badly! In some areas, commercial is no longer.

        Geoff, what really pisses me off is the peoples ability to catch fish has been taken away from them. And now our own Government to trying to snatch our snaps.

        Is it my mate down the roads fault that our Snapper stocks were plundered in the 50s??? No way!

        When My grandfather and my Dad went fishing they fed the locals well as their family! What next……3 fish each…..it’s a joke!

  • Chris Steele

    Commercial transferable quota no longer works as it was intended when the system was introduced . The System is broken by commercial fishers greed. I don’t agree the public should have to buy the right to fish back.
    Regardless of the recreational catch , commercial dumping and plundering of juvenile snapper fish is the crime here . The gulf should be closed to commercial fishing and a general mile ring off the coast become sanctuary from commercial operators.

    • http://garethsworld.com/ Geoff Simmons

      Commercial fisheries have shown that where they are operating alone the fish stocks are well managed under the quota management system.

      • Eric Morman

        your so full of it,

        Orange Roughy, Hoki comes to mind
        they might be ok now but left to the Quota holders they would have vanished from the face of the earth.

        • Sam Lynds

          Completely agree – there are so many precedents of commercial rape n pillage. It is time things changed.

        • http://garethsworld.com/ Geoff Simmons

          Ummm, hoki was left to quota owners. They asked for the reductions, and have been slow to ask for increases as the stock recovers. They have an asset with a well managed fishery, they don’t want to wipe hoki off the face of the planet. Don’t believe the greenies, hoki is one of the better commercial fisheries in the world.

          As for Orange Roughy, as we discuss in the book, some fish are probably better left well alone. I wouldn’t put snapper in this category.

          • Eric Morman

            oh so that is really what this is all really about promoting your book?

            the truth comes to the surfaces,

            did you have anything like this in your book?

            Section 8 of the Fisheries Act 1996 outlines the purpose of the act as follows:
            Purpose
            (1) The purpose of this Act is to provide for the
            utilisation of fisheries resources while ensuring sustainability.
            (2) In this Act—ensuring sustainability means —
            (a) maintaining the potential of fisheries resources to meet the reasonably foreseeable needs of future generations; and
            (b) avoiding, remedying, or mitigating any adverse effects of fishing on the aquatic environment

      • Chris Steele

        This would depend on
        the quota level in relation to the biomass of the specie concerned at the time it was set..
        If there is cross catch contamination.
        Who conducted the “survey”
        who paid for it and what their agenda is
        It is fact dumping on large scale happens in the snapper fishery in the gulf ,it’s not a question of who is wrong .
        Fact : the system of transferable quota hasn’t achieved what it was intended to do .
        Those allocated quota have sold it over time as money for jam , now small operators have to lease it at high cost to fish and use criminal tactics to help turn a profit at our fisheries expense .
        Geoff ,your of limited use as a moderator with such a biased agenda .

      • Paul Barnes

        Do you include orange roughy, by-catch in scampi etc

      • John Morrison

        Correct 100%

  • Eric Morman

    pry to the selling fish to quota holders the fish belonged to all NZers.
    the Goverment put a price on the fish not us,
    so why the hell should we buy the fish back that we already own???? we don’t make money from them.
    as
    for painting the Recreational fisherman as a villain for population
    growth you need to understand it was always going to happen, the Gov’s
    policies is to increase it.
    as for the Rec’s not taking any cuts to
    our allowance you have a short memory, we gave up 1/3 of our catch which
    they increased the quota holder share with. when we went from 15 snapper
    to 10per day.
    who demanded the stock be fished down to 20%? the quota holders,
    come on Gareth Morgan it looks like the quota holders took you out for lunch.

    • http://garethsworld.com/ Geoff Simmons

      Check Article Two of the Treaty, Maori own the fish. But lets indulge your fantasy. If we all own the fish there are still less to go around as population increases.

      • Eric Morman

        funny you even call them our Fish, yet when its applied by someone else you say they are Maori owned via Treaty,
        to quote you,
        “Our snapper fisheries got devastated in the 1970s by poorly managed commercial fisheries”
        your write-up is so conflicting that its hard to understand your logic in some of your comments,
        you either have a vested interest in the Quota or own shares,
        otherwise why would you suggest the Recs buy quota?
        when we have an allowance that is not set in stone.
        as for wastage over 2million juvenile snapper are killed every year by trawlers that in its self is more live fish than the whole of the Rec’s take.
        you cant justify that. .

  • Paul Sinclair

    Heres some food for thought, cost of a day out recreational fishing? Fuel, Bait, ice, probably $ 100plus, 5 average snappers, bugger me would it work out cheaper to just buy them at the supermarket!!!! That should keep the fisheries industry happy?? ooh well looks like we will be eating cat for dinner aye Gareth

    • http://garethsworld.com/ Geoff Simmons

      Licensing would allow us to get the fish population up so they would be easier to catch. The MFish aim is to have twice as many fish in the water as there are now.

      • Matthew Alexander

        How would licensing help get the fish popultion up? The government would put the license fees into the genral fund for all, just like speeding fines don’t go to help paying for roads.

        • http://garethsworld.com/ Geoff Simmons

          No, as in Oz it would go to an independent trust that trades quota on behalf of rec fishers. We could quickly buy back commercially fished stocks that are valuable for us.

          But the main thing is that under this system the rec trust and commercial fishers would have the right incentives to work together and increase stocks. We would soon see stocks return to 40%, like hoki has done.

  • Mark Wirihana

    I fish mainly during the summer months from a kayak and use snapper to supplement my protien in my diet for my family. I go out about twice a week and catch 4-5 snapper depending on size that feeds my family and give fishheads to next door neighbour. I enjoy it but i do not do it for recreation, i do it as healthy food options cost more and the fish I catch feeds my family. I agree that a lot Recreational Fisherman probably catch there limit but I have been off the coast and have seen 50-80 dead snapper floating on the surface and it mad me think of the impact of not only commercial but the impact of my fishing to the ecosystem. I take only fish well over 30cm and put back larger breeding fish over 12-15lb mark. I can catch other species but the expense and effort do not make it time efficient. I am of Maori descent and in the past Selaord deal and the Maori Fishing Act 2004 addressed the treaty requirements however the average brown face is not seeing any of this and every Nz’er should have a right whether it be customary or not to be able to fish to eat. The lower proposed limit in the SNA1 proposal of 3 fish is not right. I hope that the fishery continues to grow but why? to then be an asset that can be sold later? I hope not.

  • Matt Watson

    A good thread of discussion here. But nothing new, it’s only the threat of a cut to rec take that has brought the complaining from bar leaners out into a public forum. But a change is inevitable, so it’s good that people are now engaging.
    I’ve read your book, and it did offer up many of the issues our fisheries face, and I learned a lot, particularly about the effect of acidification of the sea, and the down stream effects. Thank you.
    Lip service was paid to looking at various solutions, but there seemed to be a pre-determination that rec-fishers need to be licensed. Some of the language in the book and used by Mr Morgan in other forums suggests he thinks that rec fishers are selfish beer-swilling morons out to kill what ever they can – so presumably licensing is a way of getting the heathens under control.
    To paint rec fishers as complaining now about cuts is incorrect, yes some are concerned about how many fish they will be allowed to take, but I believe most are more concerned with the imbalance. In principle I have no problem with a bag limit reduction, I’ve not taken my bag limit of nine snapper once in the last 10 years, and seldom will I take more than 3 or 4. But if the fish we conserve are then being used to prop up the TACC and caught in gill nets, bottom trawl nets and danish seiners, and you add in the deliberate waste of fish dumping, and we’re going backwards. To quote Mr Morgan ‘a dead fish, is a dead fish’ well not quite. When take I a fish by hook and line it is one dead fish, when caught in a bottom trawler one dead fish consumed may equal up to 3 or more dead fish.
    I like many other rec fishers are happy to take a cut to my bag limit, if the cut is equitable across all sectors, hey I already promote limiting your catch, not catching your limit, and it is extremely well supported, it wouldn’t affect most fishers terribly, it’s not about cuts it’s about allocation of the resource. It’s simple rec bag limit reduces by 30%, the quota is reduced by 30%, and have observers that can calculate the collateral damage so the tonnes of dead and dying fish are counted in the QMS. Methodology will soon improve to reduce by-catch.

    Fundamentally I see two major flaws in our system (and the QMS has the potential to be a great system with a few tweaks and better monitoring) For one, the management areas are too big, the area in question Snapper 1 extends from East cape to North cape, so potentially all of the snapper quota for this huge area can be taken from small areas.

    Fishers, rec and commercial are going to take the fish closest first, particularly commercial as it is about economics, not adventure or recreation. So no surprises that the most devastated snapper fishery is the BOP, terain perfect for bottom trawling and it’s on the doorstep of a large commercial fleet. While the hauraki gulf, on the doorstep of by far the largest concentration of rec fishers, it has what I believe to be the best snapper fishing in New Zealand – why?? Because it has restrictions on harvesting method, namely no bottom trawling.
    So cut down the areas and manage them according to localised stocks and make provisions for important habitat and external influences.
    The second fundamental flaw is the ownership of the quota, the large quota holders are companies, not fisherman as intended when the quota was allocated. Fishers, rec and commercial have an appreciation for the fish and a vested interest in their conservation. But company share holders, many of whom don’t carte for fish, or have ever been fishing, they care only for profit and see the fish as a commodity they own.

    Quotas for smaller areas owned by the fishermen that are taking the fish will give much more incentive to conserve and respect the resource.

    sheesh…I’ve got to stop somewhere now, so to conclude…. We can all do better, but the current proposal put forward by MPI will not save any fish, it just re allocates them, potentially causing more destruction. Rec fishers, infact all kiwis, need to speak up and make a submission to reject the proposals set forth and get the attention onto how we can enhance and maintain a healthy fishery – not how we divvy up the scraps of whats left.

    • http://garethsworld.com/ Geoff Simmons

      So as population increases, commercial fishers keep having to take a lower cut? Come on Matt, think about the incentives that causes. They got a property right back in 1986. We have seen that if that quota is worth something then they will look after the fishery. If they keep having their snapper quota cut as population increases they might as well plunder it now. Sure, you could try to reduce their quota, ban trawling or ban commercial fishers altogether if you pressure the politicians. But we will be fighting these issues in the courts for years. It will be divisive and ultimately may not lead to anything.

      With a license on recreational fishing we could quickly do what they have in Australia – buy out commercial fishers from operating in popular areas. We could work with them to raise the fish stocks to 40% and make fishing easier for everyone. A system of licensing with a recreational fishing trust that can own quota on all our behalf is the only way to do this. Certainly no one has offered up a better alternative.

      I agree that the QMS was not set up in a perfect fashion, we talk about that in the book. And I agree inshore quota would have been better linked to actual fishers on actual boats. But the fact is that now we have a choice to relitigate the past (good luck) or find a solution that will work long term.

      So you want to ban Danish seine and trawling? Get real Matt, there are NZ fisheries where these methods are used sustainably. They are not the problem. In fact I wonder if there any commercial fishing method you do approve of? Dumping is an issue, which is why it is illegal and why we need video monitoring on commercial vessels. But ultimately it is a symptom of the problem not the problem itself. If we have a fisheries management system with good incentives, then these details take care of themselves.

      • Eric Morman

        this is the LAW written down,

        Moyles Promise 1989

        to ensure recreational users have access to a reasonable share
        of fishery resources. Government’s position is clear, where a species of
        fish is not sufficiently abundant to support both commercial and
        non-commercial fishing, preference will be given to non-commercial
        fishing. This position reflects Government’s resolve to ensure all New
        Zealanders can enjoy and benefit from our fisheries.

        lets see the Com’s fight that in court, they will loose.

        • http://garethsworld.com/ Geoff Simmons

          Sorry, but it ain’t law. It was one Minister’s opinion, never put in legislation. The courts have already overturned it.

          • Eric Morman

            oh so, how did you think the slaughter of the Kahawai stocks was stopped if the courts have over tuned it?

      • Matt Watson

        Geoff, I’m not sure how you’ve jumped to the conclusion that I’m anti-commercail fishing. I come from a commercial background and my family is still engaged in commercial fishing.
        My interest is in having a healthy fishery, so I’m anti-waste, anti-habitat destruction, and anti-overfishing – whether it is commercial or recreational doesn’t matter to me, I’ve spoken out against plenty of issues I have with rec fishing practices too.

        To answer your question – There are several forms of commercial fishing i approve of, and there are modifications to current methods that would result in less waste. But independent observers (video monitoring) on every boat and a ‘land all’ policy will eliminate dumping and incentivise targeting of valuable size fish. The fishers that are good at catching target species and sizer will reap more return on their quota.
        I have worked on commercial boats, and I know what goes on. and the pressure put on the fishers to by the boat owners and quota holders to reduce costs and increase profits, and if that means shooting your gear where you know there is going to be higher collateral damage, but it’s close to port and it’ll get the job done at less cost – you’ll do it. That is where the current incentives are at.

        • http://garethsworld.com/ Geoff Simmons

          I agree. And I also want to change those incentives. Video monitoring will help, maybe so will making sure that quota owners are doing the fishing.

          But the main incentive problem is that rec fishers want commercial quota to reduce as their population rises. That is why I am saying the rec fishing proposals are anti commercial fishers. Why bother looking after your asset if it will dwindle with time? Your proposal doesn’t deal with that incentive problem and until it does you will be continually sniping at the fringes, trying to get commercial fishers to up their game.

          As I said above:

          We are talking about property rights here, how would Aucklanders like it if we made everyone’s section in Auckland smaller to make way for new people wanting to build? That is the equivalent of what rec fishers want here. You would at least expect that land to be bought off you, which is what we are suggesting.

          • Matt Watson

            Thats a reasonable proposition if we set aside the miscarriages of the past. I like your land analogy, so here’s another. Do you think that Maori that had their land confiscated hundreds of years ago should all chip in to buy it back? They of course didn’t have to, they successfully negotiated and litigated, just as the kahawai Legal challenge successfully took the minister of fisheries to court over the allocation of kahawai quota – and won!

          • http://garethsworld.com/ Geoff Simmons

            That’s easy. Because Maori had legal grounds in the Treaty. Good luck finding an analogous claim for rec fishers over commercial. “Moyle’s promise” was worth nothing more than the wind most politicians create. It was never ratified and certainly never made it into law.

            Lets move on. Matt I am concerned about some of the misinformation on dumping. I have been doing some research and I can’t find anything that backs up your claim (as quoted by newspapers) “Some research says that for every commercial fish that makes it to market, another two have died.” If you have this research please send it through.

            My understanding is this: there is an allowance of 10% of commercial catch for fish caught but not landed. This is a guesstimate and not based on any research, so assertions that the figure is much higher are also just a guess.

            Why are fish going back at all? Undersize juveniles have to be returned to the ocean by law. This might be what some rec fishers see out in the Gulf. Any other dumping of legal sized fish must either be an accident or is illegal, and MPI would prosecute as strongly as they would recreational fishers doing the same thing.

            From looking at the consultation document, MPI have actually made proposals to tighten vessel monitoring, so it looks like this issue is being taken care of already. A bunch of changes are all being tested now and will be implemented soon enough. Sure dumping probably exists and we should do anything we can to stomp it out, just like poaching and illegal actions by recreational fishers.

            In summary there is no evidence that dumping is the problem here and if it is then the Ministry are onto it. All this focus on dumping by Lega Sea and (reportedly) yourself seems to hold little weight. It all smacks of the tactics of distraction, conspiracy theories to wind people up.

      • Chris Steele

        Geoff,it’s not about protecting big companies or promoting book sales.

        The allocation of quota was flawed at the start , just because it could be a long fight doesn’t mean you don’t have it . Recreational fishing does have an effect on trophy fish , but it doesn’t bludgeon or waste the fishery like commercial companies currently do . Commercials Plundering of kawhai for pet food removed one of the gulfs major food source , It’s these practices that have slowed the recovery of the snapper fishery not rec fishers .

        • http://garethsworld.com/ Geoff Simmons

          Good luck Chris. Spend your money on court cases fighting for recreational fishers. There is a slim chance you will win. I would rather spend mine buying quota to guarantee the right of my grandchildren to fish forever.

          • Chris Steele

            Recreational fisherman did not rape the gulf of Kawhai or plunder the snapper , if we can stop that happening prevent it from continuing , limit the rec bag perhaps . we should be good to go .We need to exclude commercials from the gulf too .
            I ‘m sure you grossly over estimate recreational fishing pressure but if you want to buy quota , sorry I believe I already have that right .

      • James Joe Hutt

        Leave your indifference at the
        door? Get real, employees when working for someone are unbiased?

        My quote “know your facts first
        hand do your research first hand don’t just quote other people, get out of the
        office and see what’s going on in the real world, do proper research”(Unbiased
        impartial)

        I was out fishing a couple of
        years back at the Alderman’s, that’s about 32 km out of Whangamata on flat sea,
        and we didn’t have our eyes painted on, what we observed was commercial dumping
        on a big scale, they were dumping thousands of baby John dory and hundreds of
        large orange with black spotted deep sea Gurnard, they were heading in the direction
        of the west side of Mayor island from the east side of the Alderman’s , looked
        like they were heading for Tauranga ,stopping every one kilometer and every
        time we approached they moved off, they weren’t just cleaning their nets, they
        were dumping dead fish big time. If we had scooped up and filled our boat and
        were picked up by Fisheries we would have lost our boat.

        As an academic I take it you are
        an advocate for self regulation like the unbiased Police, Lawyer’s and the rest
        of academia , just because you read books of what other people write does not
        make you an expert. Do your homework.

        • http://garethsworld.com/ Geoff Simmons

          Hi James, Gareth does get out of the office for fishing himself, believe me. Real life experience is important, but we prefer to distinguish anecdote from research.

          If you saw commercial fishers dumping fish you should have taken photos and report it to MPI. This is illegal.

          • James Joe Hutt

            And what about you Geoff and what do you know first hand about fishing?or are you paying lip service to you employer, as for the illegal commercial dumping of fish taking photos and reporting it to MPI, why should I nothing happened over the dumping that took place up the Coromandel, its not my place to police the commercial fishing fleet doing and the work that other people should be doing with out political interference. The MPI need more tools to do their job. I would suggest that you need to know first of all, where all of the the commercial fleet is 24/7 and that can only be achieved by GPS the same as truck companies keep track of their trucks and employes. Then when the dumping of fish takes place and is reported they will know where the offending boats are. Its not rocket science. “and we we prefer to distinguish anecdote from research” yes only when the research doesn’t suit your agenda. Here is some free advice from a 74year old that worked for his money didn’t rely on members of my family to give it to me, get a proper Job Geoff.

  • Jared Waters

    This is in fact a David vs Goliath story Geoff, the reality is that most quota is held by big businesses, in fact in SNA1 1,086 tonnes of the total allocated 4,500 tonnes is owned by Sanfords alone. The outdated approach is not rec fishing but the fallacy of MSY (read Food for Thought. Maximum Sustainable
    Yield: a policy disguised as science. Finley & Oreskes, ICES Journal of
    Marine Science, 2013)

    The method of Danish seining to catch snapper is unacceptable, due to mortalities of juveniles and bycatch of other non-target species. Incidental mortalities in FMA1 in 2000 for trawl and seine fisheries were between 7% and 11%, for longlines it was less than 3% (Millar et al., 2001). Observer coverage also needs to be increased from the 2011-2012 average of 0.85% (Thompson & Abraham, 2012).

    Since the previous review in 1997, SNA1 stocks were estimated at 15%, in the last 16 years of so called active management stocks have only recovered to an average of 21.5% (MPI, 2013).

    Reported landings have exceeded the TACC in SNA1 in 12 of 26 years since the QMS began, including every year since 2004 and even reported landings are assumed to be under reported by 10%. This is not a reflection of fish numbers but a reflection of the efficiency of fishing methods and technology. I also object to the use of anecdotal evidence in making a case that snapper stocks have increased.

    The QMS has been in place for 27 years and yet the Hauraki Gulf and Bay of Plenty stocks are still below the soft limit, (B2013 was estimated to be 19%) (MPI, 2013). If the Bay of Plenty stocks were managed separately (which would be a good idea) they would in fact be below the hard limit and classed as collapsed, according to the Harvest Strategy Standard and would require to be closed immediately

    The New Zealand government prides itself on its sustainable fishing industry, yet 27 years after the QMS began, 16.8% of stocks are depleted, 6.1% are collapsed and 31.9% are below target levels (MPI, 2012).

    Sanford have also proven they do not care about the aquatic environment
    at all, after their latest conviction for dumping contaminants in the ocean
    from the San Nikunau and their associated dodgy bookwork. Added to this Sanford has two previous convictions of discharging contaminants, the most recent in 2006. Sanford also underpaid Indonesian fishermen by $885,000 in February of this year. This from a company that posted a $14.1 million dollar
    profit in the 6 months prior to 31 march 2013.

    • Mark Wirihana

      Peter Goodfellow the National party president is a member on the Sanford board with his brothers who’s family own plenty of stock in Sanford and if they have 24% of the TACC then i guess would not want any changes in the commercial take. man wish i was rich.

    • http://garethsworld.com/ Geoff Simmons

      Will cover the key point first and then turn to some of the details (at least the relevant ones).

      I am not saying our commercial operators are perfect, but we are not helping ourselves with the incentives we give them. Why should they care about snapper when as the rec population increases their quota will fall? That is what rec fishers are proposing! Under the QMS commercial operators were promised that their share of the fishery would stay the same. But rec fishers want to increase the proportion that rec fishers take as population grows. This will not fly, and will end up in court.

      We are talking about property rights here, how would Aucklanders like it if we made everyone’s section in Auckland smaller to make way for new people wanting to build? That is the equivalent of what rec fishers want here. You would at least expect that land to be bought off you, which is what we are suggesting.

      Now to the details:
      - Totally agree on MSY but we are moving away from that with MPI’s aim of 40% of biomass. The issue is how we get there.
      - Agree on observer coverage and use of video.
      - Seine has very little bycatch, whereas your supposedly superior longline is killing many of our birds. (Thompson & Abraham, 2012).
      - are you blaming corporates for the lack of snapper recovery? See my comments above given the size of the rec fishery and lack of incentives to improve the stock.

      - the TAC is a lot better at capping catch than rec bag limits. You are really splitting hairs talking about being over 12 out of 26 years. Over by how much? What about rec fishers and their allowance?
      - QMS may not be the best in the world, but when 1/3 of fisheries are overfished we are doing okay. The number below target levels is irrelevant – target is a target you would expect some to be above and some below.
      - Dumping of fish is illegal. I find it ironic that rec fishers are saying commercial fishers should stop doing it, but they say they will dump more under the new system.

  • Carl Edward Keith Wilson

    stop the dumping of dead fish in the Hauraki Gulf from the commercial sane boats and dirty trawlers i seen it heaps out here.. the dirty trawlers that come in way to close at night well where all sleeping play a big part in taking of just legal fish they need to make it so they have to fish in deeper waters and up there SIZE

    • http://garethsworld.com/ Geoff Simmons

      Trawling is banned in the inner gulf. If you are going to make comments like that you need to be able to substantiate them.

      • James Joe Hutt

        We don’t need too Geoff we don’t have to, our eyes are not painted on ,I do a lot of fishing at night and see the commercial boys close in from Tauranga to Whitianga while you are in bed.

  • John Morrison

    You are correct, I am a keen fisher and at present I can take 10 Snapper a day every day!! Three is plenty for anybody. Another thing, it is incorrect to say all commercial fishers need quota. Commercial boats taking paying rec. fishers out fishing do not need any quota!! Also you have not mentioned the crazy system NZ has for harvesting fish, most, if not all measurements dictate you are allowed only to take fish/paua when they are big enough to breed. FFS how long would a farmer last if he was only allowed to send off his breeding stock???

    • http://garethsworld.com/ Geoff Simmons

      Totally agree that charter vessels should need quota.

      • John Morrison

        Cheers Geoff, It also should be noted how crays were brought back from “the brink” and more importantly how the market has helped by valuing the smaller crays higher than the “big ‘uns”, as a consequence the commercial guys put the “big uns” back for breeding. You’d think that the penny would drop wouldn’t you?

        • http://garethsworld.com/ Geoff Simmons

          Great example of the quota system at its best.

        • disqus_QH0I5jvhI2

          That is not a correct summary of what has been happening with rock lobster fisheries management. The facts can be found in the annual reports of the National Rock Lobster Management Group. Lobster abundance is increasing because removals were reduced in order to buffer against natural variations in abundance. What is being played out in SNA 1 now (recreational removals exceeding allowances made for them) has been playing out in the CRA 5 fishery for five seasons. Unconstrained recreational removals of rock lobsters in excess of the allowance set in the TAC. The abundance built on commercial constraint is being plundered by recreational excess. The challenge is to manage recreational fishing – across all inshore stocks.

          • John Morrison

            OH! Then what is wrong with listing these “facts” here?
            I agree that recreational fishermen should be licensed and their take should be reduced as the numbers of rec. fishers rise.
            But please Lord let the authority NOT be Fish & Game

      • James Joe Hutt

        Get real , all they are doing is supplying great a service to those who not going fishing like the rest of us,next you will be having a go at the suppliers of boats and fishing gear.

  • Rex Coffey

    How many people actually take 10/9 snapper a day every day?? The “average “recreational fisherman would get out possibly once a month depending upon weather then it comes down to a combination of skill, and luck combined with the results of some good management of which we are seeing the benefits of as to how many fish they may get.It concerns me that MPI and (Gareth Morgan) seem to be able to attribute(supposedly) reduced stocks to the increased numbers of recreational fishers all out there every day catching nine fish per person per trip?? Commercial fishers have every right to make a living, but this proposal is biased towards an industry whereby wide spread dumping of undersized and excessive fish negates any thing given back or conceded from the average rec fisherman.

    • Les Prescott

      most sensible post Rex the Average rec fisherman doesn’t get on the water that often, and of course hardly ever gets a full catch!

    • http://garethsworld.com/ Geoff Simmons

      It all adds up Rex. From what we know about rec fishing it has a massive impact on the Gulf. The bigger the population gets the more the problem rises. Noone has put forward a way to deal with the relentless rise in Auckland’s population.

  • Peter McInroe

    I have listened to this he said she said for years till we get a minister with balls to stand up and fairly deal with the issue it will continue. The commercial fishing industry do have some good commercial operators and they have some really bad one with only dollars signs in their eyes. Most of the quota system is leased out anyway, you would be surprised at who actually owns the quota’s (and what they are worth) and who actually catches the fish. I have always looked on fishing as enough for the table anything else goes back and must be double the required size limit if that means I come home with nothing then so be it. As some one has already said why would you kill your breeding stock that’s poor management. If you also looked at the amount of commercial dumping each year you wouldn’t be worried about the rec’s fishing.
    And there in a nut shell is your answer increase across the board the size of the fish allowed to be taken by at least a third or double it for both commercial and rec’s (O boy listen to the squeals) and enforce it. increase the fines so people toe the line and remember (if you don’t want the fine don’t do the crime) its the only way to make both com and rec abide by the rules. (Happy safe fishing)

    • http://garethsworld.com/ Geoff Simmons

      Thanks Peter. Actually the really big fish are the most effective breeders, some advocate maximum size limits too (as with cod in the Marlborough sounds).

      • disqus_QH0I5jvhI2

        Who advocates maximum size limits and why do they?

      • Billfish

        The Marlborugh Sounds slot rule is a joke. Recreational fishers can only take fish between 30-35cm, get your ruler out & check how much 5cm is! yet commercial can take fish from 33cm and over so every fish that recreational return over 35cm can then be taken by industry. A slot rule can only be effective if it applies to all. Furthermore teh TACC for BCO7 is 70 tonnes it hasnt be caught for years why was the TACC not reduced? Recreational are doing their bit to rebuild the fishery but commercial harvest has increased by 46% (in stat area 17, the MS) since the initial closure in 2008.The issue with the MS cod was that Mfish in their wisdon reduced the MLS to 28cm in teh early 1990s which decimated the abundance and were to slow to increase it back to 30cm in 2003 the damage had been done.

  • Tom Semmens

    There are some other alternatives – for example:

    1/ Technology limits. You’ve got advanced electronics on even the smallest vessel. The fish don’t have a chance. Ban fish finders in recreational vessels, ban long lines and nets for recreational fishing. Ban the use of scuba gear for gathering any seafood.

    2/ Closed seasons to reduce the effort.

    • http://garethsworld.com/ Geoff Simmons

      All possibilities and might help. Sadly input based approaches to control fisheries haven’t worked anywhere. People find ways around them. Sure you can ban fish finders – but will you ban all sonar?

  • Mark Wirihana

    SNA1 seems to be a large area and would it be correct in saying that the population increase of the SNA1 varies considerably. My area Whangarei/bay of islands population has not increased to the size of the Hauraki gulf / Auckland area. I am not sure of the movement of snapper stock within the SNA1 catchment but maybe creating smaller areas to manage would also be more effective. Sorry Jaffas but its every man for themselves now.

    I am definitely in favor for a quota on Charter boats. I have been out several times when charter boats park up and absolutely slay it with 10-15 fishermen. I realise there are many responsible Charter operators but when a customer pays to go out im guessing that want there bang for there buck.
    I am also in favor for a max 1 fish over a certain size 65-70cm/ Fisherman but the idea of only being able to catch 3 fish is not really that acceptable, i fish alone on a kayak for my family and 3 fish with 2 growing teenage boys is an entree. I am an average kiwi battler (hence no boat only a kayak) that goes fishing in summer, and hunting in winter to supplement my families grocery bill as protein is expensive, have 100m2 garden in summer to grow veges. Eating healthy is expensive and catching fish is one way i try to feed my family a healthy option. I apoligise if this sounds like a comment of an incensed redneck recreational fisherman but I am passionate about the ability to hunt and gather food in my country and hope changes in MPI allow me to continue long into the future, it makes me feel like a richman.

    • http://garethsworld.com/ Geoff Simmons

      Hi Mark, I don’t know how much the fish move around, but the idea of smaller geographic units might be worth a submission to MPI.

      Totally agree on charters.

      • disqus_QH0I5jvhI2

        Might be worth a submission but would not merit much attention. The SNA stock is the management focus and the stock boundaries are reasonably certain. Managing fishing (extraction) at smaller spatial scales within those boundaries might be something to explore – differential bag limits/size limits/ recreational method restrictions etc.

  • Rex Coffey

    Yes, the population of Auckland has increased markedly, but what number of these people actually go fishing on a regular basis to endanger fish levels? For all the new boats that are bought most of them seem to spend more time as lawn ornaments or on a marina, judging by my observation as some one who works in a related retail industry people are finding the high costs of living, especially fuel, are already limiting the number of fish that people actually catch.

    Sadly, this proposal will place peoples lives at risk, as people who are genuinely fishing for a feed will attempt to maximize their allowable catch. How? By cramming as many family members onto a boat as possible!! We sadly have one of the highest drowning rates in the developed world, this policy will only encourage people to take more risks by overloading boats.
    Thanks to digital cameras and and the promotion of responsible fishing from magazines, charter operators, and fishing show presenters we see more and more recreational fisherman limiting their catch as opposed to catching their limit,with many people now taking enough for a feed or two, and releasing selected fish after being photographed.Are these released fish just being released so they can be included into a commercial quota?? Seems to negate the actions of the responsible recreational fisher doesn’t it??
    The present limit of nine fish is simply that.

    A limit of nine. Not a target of nine for the majority of people who fish.

    • http://garethsworld.com/ Geoff Simmons

      The simple maths doesn’t change Rex. Commercial fishing is capped and recreational fishing isn’t. How are you going to deal with a higher population? There are only so many fish to go around.

      • Rex Coffey

        With commercial fishing being capped and only so many fish to go around why do we have so many reports of fish being dumped by commercial boats because it is excess to quota??

        • disqus_QH0I5jvhI2

          What constitutes “many” – and where can we read those reports please?

          • Rex Coffey

            Recent cases resulting in prosecutions, The operator of the Vessel “Diana”prosecuted in the North Shore Court for abandoning 5 tonnes of snapper in the Hauraki Gulf, (Source; NZ Herald); “Melila 201″ Captain and crew in court charged with fish dumping, (Source, TV3 News)
            “Oyang 75″charged by MPI for dumping an estimated 405 Tonnes of fish valued at between 800k and 1.2 million.13 charges of fish dumping against the Oyang 77(TV3 News, and NZ Herald)The reports are all there, and this is happening in the very same NZ waters that you claim are being depleted by the rec guys.

  • Graham

    Quota system does not work
    anywhere in the world, where it is being used.
    This is because the quota system is a discard system and the huge wastage of good suitable fish needs to be contained.

    Quota is able to be onsold and can easily be purchased by
    overseas investors.

    Quota is allocated to foreign vessels in large bundles leaving only scraps for
    NZS.

    The Quota system has caused price hikes for both quota tonnes and retail price to NZS.

    Quota system is responsible for the huge decline in hoki, paua and other fish species.

    Quota price has given a monopoly to the bigger company’s ,as they are the only one’s who can afford to purchase quota when in becomes available.

    Quota is not available for the young kiwi’s who would like to sell fish in the seaside town they live, these potential commercial fishermen can’t afford to purchase any quota and would be arrested if sold any fish on their local market they did sell it.

    Quota has let our local wet fish quality to drop. Only a small amount of
    high value fish has been allocated to the local market. Species like Kingfish,
    Tuna, Pink Maumau, scampi and others are not readily available on the NZ market as it has a higher export value.

    The inshore fleet is in decline.

    Bigger deep sea fleet, does more bottom damage, provides less jobs due to more machine processing.

    Solution

    NO QUOTA in the Snapper One area, is the 10 YEAR PLAN.
    (this does not include any waters outside snapper 1 area).

    Introduction of fish farming in selected areas, for specific high value commercial species.

    YR 1 all export fin fishing is done outside the 12 nm limit, and reduce
    the commercial quota by 20%.

    Rec fin fish drop from 20 to 10, snapper to 5.

    Instant fine of $250 for all who fail to use wet cloth to gently discard
    undersize or unwanted fish.

    YR 2 all export fin fishing outside 12 nm limit, reduce quota by 20% of yr 1
    quota.

    YR 3 all export fin fishing outside 12nm limit, reduce quota by 20% of yr 1
    quota.

    YR 4 all export sea food that is not farmed, outside 12 nm limit reduce all
    quota. 20% of yr 1 quota.

    YR 5 all export sea food that is not farmed, outside 12 nm limit reduce all quota 20% of year 1 quota.

    YR 6 No quota allocation snapper 1 out to 200 nm. Rec fin fish limit 10, snapper limit 10.

    YR 7 Same as yr 6.

    YR 8 Same as yr 6.

    YR 9 Same as yr 6.

    YR 10 Same as yr 6.

    YR 11 By permit system allow vessels no bigger than 14 metres in length to
    catch local supply only via long line or pot method, with a limit of 10 vessels
    for snapper 1.

    Also allow local fishermen to sell fish by the permit system their daily
    catch to a range of 25 miles of their permitted exit point.

    One rec fish sale permit per 3000 population eg Coromandel would have 5 permits. These permits would not be ownerable and if not used in a fishing year would be reallocated to the next fisho in line. Not about the money but fresh fish in

    local restaurant for fish and chip friday.

    • disqus_QH0I5jvhI2

      Graham – you clearly won’t ever let the facts get in the way of a good story. All of your allegations about quota are false. Your ignorance of the Fisheries Act is astounding – but you don’t have that on your own in this forum. I don’t know where you shop for fish but you need to get out and see what is on the local market.

      There is an old adage ‘fiction often repeated soon becomes fact’ and that is what is happening around this SNA 1 discussion on this forum.
      Hearsay, rumour and speculation will never trump well reasoned decision making based on the best available information.

  • Michael

    When it comes to issues surrounding overexploitation of fisheries, one must ask the question: Is it how much we’re catching, or how we’re catching it? Although the commercial fishing industry employs a huge number of people directly/indirectly (myself included at one point),it does not justify the use of methods which:
    a) Result in indiscriminate catch of undersized fish and by catch
    b) Destroy valuable marine ecosystems and spawning areas
    c) Litter environments so this continues long after the day’s fishing
    It is easy to blame bag limits, but at the same time how many others had to die besides the one in your fish bin so you could get a feed? For the ones left, do they have somewhere to spawn, feed and live after you’re done? Scallop dredging is another fine example. We need to review methods as much as bag limits. That applies to both the commercial and recreational sectors!!!! While recreational fishermen will no doubt see their take reduced, who needs 10 snapper everyday??!!!! Nevertheless, commercial fishermen need to lose their trawl, seine and set nets or risk losing their livelihood. Like Gareth said, something’s gotta give!!

  • Curtis Antony Nixon

    . . . “a rag tag mob of do-gooders” – I think you let yourselves down when you use this kind of name calling. An otherwise balanced and well-written piece is weakened with this kind of attack labelling.

  • Alan

    Here’s an easy way to make a submission – go to the Legasea website, open their submission form and edit it as they invite you to. Below is my submission on their form sent to MPI, Nathan Guy and copious others:

    Dear Mr Guy and MPI,

    I strongly support the increase in the minimum legal size for snapper in area 1 to manage the increased take from the recreational sector.

    Lowering bag limits will protect fisheries close to areas of high population and raising the minimum legal size will increase the chance of snapper breeding.

    My recreational fishing interests are important to me and I support any measures to protect the fishery and make the pastime sustainable into future generations. I believe that the recreational fishing sector should be act responsibly and recognise that they are part of the quota management system.

    To this end I strongly support the establishment of a licensing system so that recreational users of the fishery can directly contribute to the management of SNA1 and build a fund to purchase quota from genuine professional fishers on a willing buyer, willing seller basis in areas of high recreational use (such as the Hauraki Gulf and the Bay of Islands).

    The proposed options are reasonable and a constructive step towards proportional shares in our fisheries, by allocating us a quota, constraining our catch and sharing the responsibility for a healthy fishery.

    The Ministry’s proportional approach will ensure my family and I have a future where it is well worth going fishing for ever more.

    The Ministry are rightly focused on maintaining the proportions established when our recreational allowance was set in 1997. The commercial sector undertook cuts to their historical catch at the time and many were forced into redundancy with meagre compensation. Whining by some recreational fishers is a failure to recognise the tragedy of the commons.

    MPI properly acknowledge the objective in 1997 was to rebuild the depleted stock and enhance recreational fishing and now that fishing has improved and an exponential increase in recreational fishing activity has occurred, it is reasonable to constrain us to ensure the fishery improves further.

    The Ministry must manage our most important fishery much closer and with us as contributors and partners review it on a regular basis.

    Minister, I am willing to conserve fish for the future and accept that other sectors have made considerable efforts to do the same.

    The issue of wastage and dumping raised as a red herring by some recreational people can be easily clarified with closer monitoring and I support the current development of on-board video monitoring. In the same matter I support closer monitoring of the recreational sector with much stronger penalties for those who take more than their share or waste the resource.

    For me, to even consider supporting you at the next election you must, prior to that election:

    * Confirm the current allowance for recreational fishing and distribute it to account for population changes and interests in 2013 and beyond.

    * Maintain the current total allowable catch (TAC) and adjust the average recreational catch to reflect current participation and population distribution.

    * Engage with recreational fishers on practical ways we can assist the rebuild, without creating incentives to high grade catches at low bag limits or increase the mortality of adult undersized fish at larger minimum size
    limits.

    * Measure, monitor and report all discards/waste caused by commercial
    fishing.

    * Recognise charter boat operations as commercial fishing subject to the same quota regime and costs.

    * Recognise that other fishing related and tourist businesses that rely on recreational fishing are also commercial ventures exploiting the fishery, and bring them under control.

    Please. Save Our Snapper for current and future generations of Kiwis.

  • James Joe Hutt

    I can’t believe that the present
    government is continuing to erode the right of New Zealanders to fish in a way
    that makes sense, three fish ,this is no joke, is this a political side step
    about another a gender or what? I am a 74 year old retired engineer having
    fished for eels with my father in the Waikato and Waipa rivers in Ngaruawahia,
    moving on to Trout fishing, and then when older surf-casting on the west coast
    with my sons, I remember when those who could not afford to go fishing, could
    go down to the wharf at Raglan and buy a couple of snapper. This was the first
    erosion of our rights when quota system was established, next to go was when if
    you could afford to save up or build boat you could claim back for the road
    user tax on the petrol that you used, this was taken away in the guise that the
    government use the tax to fund coastguard, were we asked? consulted, no we
    weren’t, that was our second erosion of our rights. When you have worked hard
    like most New Zealanders and look to retirement, buy or build a boat to go
    fishing with you family and friends catch enough fish to make it worthwhile for
    the effort and outlay spent.

    This new round of hitting the recreational
    fishing industry, I say industry because, it is, the GST spent by the recreational
    fishing industry must be one of the biggest tax take for the government not
    forgetting the other tax take by all workers in the recreational fishing
    industry.

    In a perfect world the best thing
    to do is ban all fishing in the spanning season of snapper, but that would
    affect the commercial interests they would not like that. I personally would
    not mind increasing the length from 27 cm to 30 cm as we do on our boat now and
    have an upper limit that you could not take the good breeding snapper whatever size
    that may be like in Australia, and that would have to apply to the commercial
    interests as well as the recreational fishing industry. Now the problem, of how
    to separate the targeted fish in the quota when you have no quota for snapper,

    It’s an impossible situation as
    the system stands now with the methods used. So what can we do, change the
    quota system, If someone catches fish not in their quota, transfer their catch
    to someone that has quota for that species, and change the mesh size of nets so
    as not to catch under size fish this would limit the amount of dumping that is
    taking place now.

    You are supposed to be
    intelligent people in government, is the tail wagging the dog in the ministry
    or do you want to sit on your hands and join the unemployed next election.

  • Billfish

    It pays to remember that the reason the snapper biomass is only at 19-24% of virgin biomass is becasue industry and the corporates plundereed it in the first place;
    Yes recreational harvest has increased, mainly because the biomass has increased improving access for recreational fishers encouraging more to participate.
    If biomass is low and fish cant be caught recreational fishing declines.
    It is good that MPI want to move the biomass towards 40% but take it from the sector that caused the problem in the first place and have already had the economic benefits of ding so.
    The Government can not achieve its target of doubling primary exports by 2025 on “tonnes of fish” being harvested by the corporates to send off to China.
    They need fishing corporates to add value to their catch and not get Ukrainian boats to catch it (hoki) block freeze it and send it to China for processing to then end up in our supermarkets.
    Snapper 1 biomass is increasing “wheres the fire” there are pelnty more fish stocks around NZ where there is so much head room in the TACC that these TACC, need to be reduced but MPI sits on its hands!
    The problem with MPI was with the restrcuture when Mfish got joined with MAF they got rid of anyone who new about the history of fisheries management in NZ and we have had 4 Minsters of Fisheries under the National Government who continue to remove regulations and increase commercial TACC’s and create concession fisheries that disadvanatge the recreational sector!

  • Paul Barnes

    Most of your arguments allude to the proposition of commercial quota being the same as a deed to private land. As this has never been the case most of your arguments must fail.

    Quota is nothing more than a right to a share of the Total Allowable Commercial Catch. Quota is not a right to a share of the Total Allowable Catch (TAC).

    The Minister is directed by the Fisheries Act to allow for Recreational and Customary Maori fishing within the TAC. He must also allow for all sources of mortality caused by fishing. The remainder is the TACC.

    Therefore, I would describe fishing quota in shared fisheries more like a piece of land that has a Lim report on the deed that describes it as coastal beachfront and subject to erosion. It’s a case of Caveat Emptor.

  • Andrew Nally

    i dont think penalising recreational fishers is way to go once is starts it wont stop. true figures are needed but i think more no fishing areas of at risk stocks and fair bag limits and quotas are needed. A licence is just revenue gathering if its not being spent on smolt.

  • Greg

    Fishing is a right protected under the Treaty of Waitangi, if the treaty means anything to non Maori then its part of our collective culture.
    Remember the TOW is the only constitutional social contract that the government recognizes, lets use it while we can even if we are non Maori.
    After all they want it to mean something to us.

  • alexschwab

    Ban trawling, the technology is there to fish smarter commercially (thereby reducing juvenile mortality & dumping of fish above and beyond quota) but there is no law that forces them to change their practices. Why should they change their methods if they don’t have to? Introduce law to count the dump, release figures so we all know what the real waste is, bring in the technology to replace archaic trawling methods & stop increasing fish exports. Until that happens do not be steam rolled on this issue.

    • Kurrunulla

      What is the technology you refer to – any links to working examples? What proportion of the commercial catch is taken by trawlers? What is the discard mortality rate for recreational fishing?

      • alexschwab

        All solid questions Kurrunulla!
        That was info from the Legasea community talk.
        Discard mortality rates for both sectors would be interesting, I agree. So many questions to be answered before any changes should be made to the status quo.

        How bout forwarding your questions on to this guy? N.Guy@ministers.govt.nz

      • Eric Morman
  • Eric Morman

    you say we should buy Quota from the Quota holders when they where given it for free, just because they had a track record that said the were catching this many,
    we used to have no limit on how much we took when i was a kid,
    then it went to 60snapper then to 30 then to 15 and we saw the writing on the wall and said we would help by giving up 5 of our 15 to help increase the stocks,
    what did they do with it gave it to the Quota holders, just to rub the salt in further they hit us with a 10% reduction and we ended up with 9 snapper, and now we are going to reduced to 5snapper and you think we haven’t given anything up?
    its obvious i have been around longer than you and can see the light not the money someone is making from the fish that belongs to all those who live in NZ…