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A few fishy tales there

Letter

Re: Aim is a healthy fishery, February 4 letter.

While any catch reduction is always good for any fishery, claiming that recent cuts to the Quota Management System were necessary is questionable. Some of the commercial fishermen I know say that species like tarakihi have never been better and certainly from a recreational point of view I have to agree. Sure, some days you may have to work a little harder but by and large if you can't catch a good feed of tarakihi here you are doing something wrong.

I also don't see how a large Gisborne operator seeking an exemption for extra crayfish quota would be detrimental to other commercial crayfishers. The smaller operators are most likely not able to afford the extra quota on offer, but a larger operator buying available quota might just ensure a viable future for the smaller fishing operators.

I understand there are already exemptions for two other large fishing companies here. One has a statutory exemption, which I guess means they could buy up any extra quota without having to apply for it.

Alain, this is the first time I have heard you say that as a member of the NZ Recreational Fishing Council (which by all accounts is defunct), your organisation also fights for commercial interests; all I can say is bollocks.

While there are no restrictions on our coast on how close trawlers can operate, save for the one or two nautical mile restriction around Mahia, I can tell you that most trawl tracks are well outside two nautical miles.

Another fact you need to know is that gillnetting, when done properly, is no more indiscriminate than any other method. The main target of gillnetting is lemonfish, which by the way predate on crayfish so surely catching them would be beneficial to the crayfish stocks.

Lastly, Alain, I suggest you do a bit more research on just how the commercial sector operates before putting pen to paper, as all it does is promote an unhealthy relationship between recreational and commercial. We are all responsible for our fishery and need to work together to ensure we have a healthy fishery.

Craig Miller

  1. Bob Hughes says:

    Craig Miller said “Some of the commercial fishermen I know say that species like tarakihi have never been better.”
    To the contrary, my research reveals historic tarakihi levels have declined: https://www.rnz.co.nz/national/programmes/checkpoint/audio/2018707310/concerns-tarakihi-may-soon-be-fished-out
    Furthermore, science shows a long-term gradual decline of tarakihi on the east coast of New Zealand https://www.inshore.co.nz/fileadmin/Documents/Other/Eastern_Tarakihi_Management_Strategy_and_Rebuild_Plan_2019.pdf
    Craig also calls for responsibility to promote healthy fisheries. Yet he seems comfortable we have no trawl restrictions off our coast.
    He also suggests that when done properly, gillnetting is no worse than other methods and claims gillnetting slaughter of lemonfish (Rig Shark) might be beneficial to the crayfish stocks they predate on. Could be, but what is true is my Forest and Bird “Best fish guide” has the species close to the bottom as worst choice for sustainability.
    But the truth is our modern commercial fishing methods here, there and everywhere are unsustainable.
    The statistics speak for themselves in the decline in the number of big catches, and the number of fish left in the sea.
    As a member, I do know Greenpeace are doing all they possibly can to reverse the trend.