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Fish & Game hook two regional councillors

Tairawhiti will now have two councillors representing the region and overseeing the effective management of the district’s sports fish and game resources.

Fish & Game elections are held every three years across 12 regions to select up to 12 councillors.

The eastern region, which includes, Gisborne, Wairoa and parts of the Bay of Plenty, had two candidates elected.

Murray Ferris, who has been a Fish & Game councillor for 15 years, won his sixth term.

“We get a lot of phone calls from people who have questions and want to know more information about fish and game management. If they want advice then I am more than happy to help,” he said.

Mr Ferris said it was rewarding to guide people who did not have the benefit of experience.

While operational work that involves day-to-day activities is managed by the regional staff, which consists of specialists in areas such as fish, ducks and wetlands, Fish & Game councillors do more of the policy work.

“We are more the guardians of the statutes and our mandates are to look after game bird and trout,” Mr Ferris said.

While not much has changed over the years there have been some challenges.

“One of the biggies for us is falling hunting and fishing licence sales. It seems people are not as engaged by the outdoors as they used to be.

“As all our funding comes from licence sales it is challenging to keep putting the cost of licences up to cover fallen sales, to show that we can still function,” he said.

Fish & Game are involved in projects such as banding programmes where ducks are tagged to keep a track of their population.

They also run a breeding programme in Rotorua and oversee wetland developments.

Observing such programmes involves substantial costs every year.

“One of the things to look forward to is the big review of Fish & Game and we will be working our way through that. It’s something that we are quite excited about,” Mr Ferris said.

The review process began last year and will be presented to the Minister of Conservation Kiri Allan. The objective of the review is to find out whether Fish & Game is fit for the purpose.

The second Fish & Game councillor elected for the region was Mark Sceats, who stood for the first time.

“What I will be doing is gathering information and working out what I’m going to do from there, but my aim is to represent the anglers and shooters of the Gisborne area,” he said.

Although he is a “newbie on the block”, Mr Sceats says he is ready to take guidance from those with more experience.

“I’ll be another voice for the Gisborne region.”

Nominations for the 12 regional Fish and Game Councils closed on August 26, and candidates have now had their eligibility confirmed by electionz.com.

All election results will be announced on October 12, and the newly elected councillors will take office shortly after that.

COMMUNITY DRIVEN: Murray Ferris is pleased to have been elected for his sixth term as a Fish & Game councillor.
Mark Sceats is a newcomer to the role but is keen to represent this region’s anglers and shooters. Pictures supplied