There is much being written, discussed and reported with regard to the NZ Initiatives latest proposition to the management of Recreational Fishing.
The first point I would like to advise you all of is, this group (The NZI) is made up of the leaders of Industry. What was once called the round table. Further, the main funder of this study by Dr Randall Bess is from out of the USA and owned by the American Fishing Industry.
Having undertaken and also been involved in the whole issue through our alignment with LegaSea and grasping the manner in which this study has been carried out, it is my opinion that the underlying desired outcome is for our rights to the fishery to be intergrated into the QMS. This must not be allowed to happen. This was turned down by us in 2001 and this latest proposal is the very same, written in a different format.
One of the points of discussion the NZI have raised is Recreational licensing. Now in a perfect world I can see it would have some merit but the fact is, you cannot have Licensing without proportionality and the same in reverse. One other point I have a major issue with is the call for a “Peak Body” to represent Rec fishers. On this issue let me address the failure of the last two. The Rec Fishing Council and the offshoot, Our Fishing Future. Both entities involved the same leaders and both entities failed us and failed us miserably. I am totally appalled at the recent push by these same people to attempt to reinvent both these entities after returning from Australia where they accompanied Dr Bess on a pre empted road trip. There is more that I could address on this matter but I will leave that ’til another day.
The two leading representitives of Recreational Fishers is clearly the NZ Sport Fishing Council and the NZ Angling & Casting Association. Two representitive groups with a history of more than 60 years each and yet Ministry and Government ignore us. They would sooner talk with these two defunct entities or the supposed leaders of.
Leading the way and with solid support from us is LegaSea, the NZSFC Advocacy Body. I am more than happy to claim they have, along with our alignment and that of other like bodies, more than 100,0000 supporters along with substantial Funding from many leaders within our sector. The NZACA is proud to have our logo on many of the submissions, news releases and letters to Government that LegaSea put forward. We have a seat at the NZSFC Fisheries Management Sub Committee table and we are present and involved.
So in conclusion I urge that you attend one of the meetings around the country where they are discussing this NZ Initiative and turn down their proposals. It is not about us, it is about taking away our rights. Recreationals fishers are not increasing pressure on the fishery. We are actually declining. Clubs are disappearing, fish are not as abundant as they should be and we are not responsible for causing this.
On a lighter note, next week I travel to Nth Auckland to speak to the Nth Shore SCC, Bethells SCC and Wanderers SCC. I then travel down to Tauranga to attend the NZ Sport Fishing Council Conference. No rest for the wicked but proud to be representing you all.
I am always available to join you at one of your meetings.