IMPORTANT MESSAGE TO ALL RECREATIONAL FISHERS
This is an important message to alert you to a change in Government policy which if not acted upon could result in your rights to fish in the sea being severely reduced. Please read it in it's entirety.
Four years ago a group called option4 formed to counter the ill conceived "Soundings" proposals which would have inevitably led to the privatisation of all recreational
fisheries and compulsory recreational fishing licenses to fish in the sea. Had these proposals succeeded the public would have become little more than minor shareholders in a commercial fishery.
option4 overwhelmingly defeated the privitisation of the recreational fishery and recreational licensing recommended in "Soundings" by raising 70,000 submissions against them, (a record
in any Government consultation process).
The option4 group has continued to strengthen since then and they have maintained a team of dedicated people at the forefront in fisheries management, protecting the rights of the public to fish
for food and recreation ever since.
Now option4 need your help to prevent the Government completing their privatisation agenda for recreational fisheries by stealth.
The Issue - We want Our Kahawai Back
Fisheries Minister Benson Pope recently made a decision to allocate kahawai between commercial and non-commercial fishers which has outraged all of the major recreational fishing organization's.
The way he has made the decision is based precisely on the proportional system the public had rejected so completely when it was presented in "Soundings".
Effectively, the decision means kahawai are to be taken from the tables of recreational fishers and given in perpetuity to the fishing industry so they can continue to export it for crayfish bait, pet
food and other low value uses.
Option4 is determined to deploy every resource to overturn this decision and to undo the precedent set by it.
If this decision is allowed to stand we will soon become minor shareholders in all fisheries we have an interest in.
Make no mistake, the Ministry will certainly use this decision as a precedent to
guide their future fisheries allocation policy and advice to Ministers!
If the ministry succeed and we still want our fish back, we will then have to buy our fishing rights back from the fishing industry.
What Is So Wrong With The Ministers Kahawai Decision
The kahawai decision
- Further erodes non commercial rights and access
- Fails to return fish taken from the public through past excessive commercial fishing
- Forces a proportional shareholding onto recreational fishers
- Ensures that further decline of the kahawai fishery is inevitable
- Reduces non-commercial access as the fishery continues to decline
- Fails to properly "allow for non-commercial interests" as required in the Act
- Places undue focus on preserving unsustainable commercial access to avoid compensation issues
- Lacks proper allowance or recognition for the fact that kahawai is a highly valuable recreational species
The Ministry of Fisheries scientists advised the Fisheries Minister that a 15% cut to the combined commercial and non commercial catches should be sufficient to prevent further decline in the kahawai
fishery and possibly even allow some rebuild of the stock to occur.
The Minister, in his original decision, gave the fishing industry a 6% increase in quota and initially asked that non commercial fishers catches be reduced by 15%. This would have required your kahawai
bag limit to be cut from 20 down to as few as 2 or 3 fish and would have taken 1.2 million meals of kahawai off the tables of non-commercial fishers and their families.
Now that the Minister has backed away from cutting recreational catch limits, his decision will see an overall increase of 3% in the combined fishing efforts of commercial and non commercial kahawai
fishers and therefore the important kahawai fishery will continue to decline.
option4 believes the Ministers' decision is seriously flawed on several levels and sets a precedent where non-commercial fish have been taken from the public and given to the commercial fishing
industry simply to prop up obviously excessive commercial catches. option4 also believe that these precedents MUST be challenged in court with every available resource.
What If We Do Nothing
As a direct consequence of the Ministers decision the numbers of kahawai available to to be caught by non-commercial fishers could drop by as much as 60% below current levels. This is in a fishery most
recreational fishers already consider massively overfished.
As the stock continues to decline non-commercial fishers will catch less and less kahawai as they become scarcer. This will set the stage for yet another cut to recreational allowances as our allowance
is cut to match our NEW lower catch levels.
If we do nothing, if we do not stand as one and fight this unjust decision, a precedent will be set and, in time, it will be coming to a beach, a bay or a fishery near you!
option4 have made it easy for you to make a real difference. Please take the opportunity to assist the Kahawai Legal Challenge in one of the following ways.
option4 have produced a great booklet and information pack on the kahawai issue to assist those who want to take a firm stand against the Ministers kahawai decision and help the cause.