Seafood New Zealand Friday Update 11 August 2017

Captain's Blog

August 11, 2017

Debate on recreational fishing management well overdue

Despite the howls of indignation by recreational fishing lobby groups– and the short, sharp rejection of new policy around recreational fishing by MPI – the paper by the New Zealand Initiative on the future of the recreational sector is an important one, and deserves public debate. 
In the paper, The Future Catch: Preserving Recreational Fisheries for the Next Generation, the author Randall Bess makes a number of recommendations.
Amongst these are the development of a recreational fisheries policy, improving the information available on recreational fishing, and establishing a recreational fishing peak body.
 None of these recommendations are unreasonable – in fact all should be blindingly obvious. It is simply astonishing that we know next to nothing about how much fish is taken from our waters by recreational fishers. Without more information on our recreational fisheries a fair allocation of TAC is just guesswork.
 The idea of a recreational ‘licence’ to fund recreational fisheries management, whether through a fuel excise on boats or other means, is where the recreational lobby get really exercised.
 For generations, and now entrenched in the kiwi psyche, is that it is a New Zealander’s God-given right to ‘catch a feed for his family.’ It would be a brave government who took on the challenge. In election year you are more likely to stumble across a unicorn.
 Which is not to say the discussion should not progress.
 Randall Bess did not pull these recommendations out of thin air. They are based on similar models in countries such as the United States, Canada and Western Australia that have all adopted fisheries management that is inclusive of all sectors; commercial, recreational and customary. It is about an integrated, collective approach that requires cooperation between all sectors.
 The reluctance by government to implement robust management around recreational fisheries is short-sighted, politically self-serving and dangerous.
 With no real data on these fisheries the calamity of collapse is a very real possibility.
 There are an estimated 600,000 recreational fishers in New Zealand and another 100,000 tourists who fish our waters. Catch data supplied by charter boats alone gives some indication of the scale and effect of recreational fishing. According to MPI figures, the 144 charter vessels operating in FMA1 took some 110 tonnes of snapper in the year to October 2016. These are not insignificant numbers and it should be noted that snapper catch data is supplied voluntarily by charter vessels. The only species required by law to be reported are hapuka, bass, bluenose, blue cod, kingfish, rock lobster, southern Bluefin tuna, and pacific bluefin tuna.
 As over-used as the phrase ‘shared fishery’ is, that is exactly what it is. And shared management across all sectors is the only solution. That this will almost certainly come at a cost to recreational fishers may be a bitter pill to swallow but will simply bring New Zealand into line with most fisheries around the world.
 As Randall Bess points out, it is time to debate this now before tensions and conflicts worsen. He says the instigation of recreational fisheries management in Western Australia vastly improved public trust and confidence, despite restricted access to some fisheries and despite fishers having to pay a licence fee.
 And more importantly, competing fishing sectors had been incentivised to put aside their differences to collaborate and improve fisheries for the long term.
 Many, if not the majority, of commercial fishers are also reccies. They also like to catch a blue cod with their kids. Maybe, for recreational and commercial fishers, it is just as simple as walking a mile in each other’s shoes.
 A young woman whose family runs a recreational fishing shop in Blenheim, Tamzin Henderson, has done just that by experiencing commercial fishing first-hand - and her blog is attached below.
Click here to give it a read.
 Fishing sustainably and acting responsibly applies to us all.

Register now for Paua Conference 2017

Registrations are now open for the Paua Conference 2017.
Running in Nelson on August 24 & 25, the Paua Industry Council have put together a great lineup to update attendees on the sector.
Book now to hear an interesting and informative range of speakers, and for a chance to catch up with everything paua from throughout the country.
To register go to or email

2017 Seabird Smart Awards

Here’s your chance to spread the word about your fleet’s achievements. Nominations are now open for the 2017 Seabird Smart Awards, so if you know someone who is making an extra effort to look after seabirds go online and nominate them.
The awards are run by the Southern Seabird Solutions Trust and aim to recognise outstanding leadership and commitment to looking after New Zealand seabirds.
You could nominate a skipper or crew, a manager, or even a vessel. Basically it can be anyone associated with fishing in any kind of role.
The 2017 awards function is timed to coincide with an international meeting of seabird experts from thirteen countries being held in Wellington in September.
Click here to learn more or nominate someone

In the Media

Environmentalists put stop to Ward fishing proposal

Stuff (6 August) A Burkhart Fisheries bid to create a 1500 metre road from Ward Beach to Chancet Rocks has been turned down.
The road, which would have cut through conservation zone, is needed to access a new launch site after the previous location was left damaged during last year's earthquake.
The decision, released last Friday, said the road would have an adverse effect on the environment.
Dennis Burkhart said the company would work with central and local Government to find a way to keep jobs in Ward.
Read more

Salmon farm decision unlikely before September election

Stuff (8 August) Time has nearly run out for the Government to make a decision on the relocation of six New Zealand King Salmon Farms in the Marlborough Sounds.
With only two weeks before Parliament dissolves, Minister for Primary Industries Nathan Guy has until 23 August to trigger the legislation needed for the relocation to begin.
If a decision is not made, it could fall to a different Government after the September 23 election.
New Zealand King Salmon chief executive Grant Rosewarne said it was looking likely that the company would spend the summer farming at the low-flow sites.
The proposed high-flow sites would create 300 new jobs and lessen the farms environmental impacts, he said.
"It's a pretty good news story so I would have thought, having put a lot of effort into it, they would have wanted it to have come out before the election and get the credit.
"It ticks all the boxes; economic outcomes, social outcomes, environmental outcomes. If New Zealand can't say 'yes' to that, there's not much they can say 'yes' to," Rosewarne said.
Read more

Bay of Plenty's $194m seafood processing industry

Bay of Plenty Times (4 August) A report into the economic contribution of commercial fishing to New Zealand has shown processing alone is worth $194 million to the Bay of Plenty region.
This is in addition to the value to the Bay of Plenty region of commercial fishing itself.
Nationally, the seafood industry has a total value of $4.18 billion.
Chief Executive of Fisheries Inshore New Zealand, Dr Jeremy Helson, says the report confirms the importance of commercial fishing to New Zealand.
“The Ministry for Primary Industries says exports alone are expected to reach $2.3 billion by 2025. Add the contribution to the domestic market through jobs, investment in infrastructure and the sectors supporting the industry and you have a significant contributor to the New Zealand economy,” said Helson.
Read more

Economic value of aquaculture to Thames-Coromandel

The value of the Thames-Coromandel aquaculture industry has been outlined in a newly released report.
Key findings from The Economic Contribution of Marine Farming in the Thames-Coromandel District, written by the New Zealand Institute of Economic Research (NZIER) include:
•    Approximately 30 percent of NZ Greenshell mussel production and 24 percent of New Zealand’s Pacific Oyster production by weight is delivered by the Thames-Coromandel District.
•    7.2 percent  of our District’s GDP comes from aquaculture, with a value of approximately $69.6 million annually.
•    Aquaculture generates $73 million in exports annually and more than $30 million in NZ retail sales
•    The industry directly employs approximately up to 400 jobs within the district, with more jobs being created indirectly from charter boats, engineering, retail and the hospitality sectors.
Read more