In an effort to improve communication with our members and supporters the New Zealand Sport Fishing Council has developed regular Updates. This news is produced in a variety of formats and publications. From June 2014 the Council's fisheries management and policy news has been distributed via LegaSea.
LegaSea is a public outreach initiative of the New Zealand Sport Fishing Council. On behalf of the Council LegaSea raises funds and provides public-friendly information about a variety of processes that are important to the sustainable management of fisheries for future generations.
Simplifying fisheries management issues is an ongoing challenge for the NZSFC. The Fisheries Management - Marine Protection Sub-committee write regular columns for the Council's Hooked Up magazine to keep members and affiliates updated with the latest news. These columns can be downloaded at the links below.
It was purely coincidental that a supermoon occured on the same night that the third and last Future Catch report was launched in early December. Around 120 people gathered in Wellington to hear the New Zealand Initiative and a panel of four talk about Dr. Randall Bess' work. The panel included our Vice President Bob Gutsell.
Since the days of the Trojan horse we have been warned against accepting gifts and flattery from people who seemingly want to be on our side. We so quickly forgot those lessons when the New Zealand Initiative emerged in 2016 espousing the need to "enhance the recreational fishing experience".
Kingfish are a popular and challenging target species for many recreational fishers. They form a valuable component of the charter boat business with clients coming from around New Zealand and the world to test their angling skills against these hard fighting fish.
After a slow start to the game fishing season it is pleasing to hear reports of success from up and down the country, from west to east. Let's hope this is the beginning of a fruitful few months ahead.
Club catch records have been compiled for the 2015-16 NZSFC Yearbook. It was a good year for striped marlin with 900 fish landed and 1570 tagged and released. The west coast clubs did particularly well as they accounted for 30% of all the striped marlin caught.
The Fisheries Management Annual Report 2015-16 has been published. It was available for delegates and attendees at the Whangamata AGM. The Fisheries Management - Marine Protection team welcome your feedback on the report and any suggestions you have for next year's edition.
In 2014-15 the number of fish tagged and released (2280) was more than the previous year, but down on the long-term average. The tagging percentage for striped marlin last season was 56% excluding the 233 striped marlin tagged by three boats at the Wanganella Banks.
An inshore zone with limited commercial fishing, managing to higher environmental standards and lowering commercial catch levels are simple measures to increase fish abundance, improve catchability and provide for the public's expectations, health and wellbeing.
From mid-2016 the LegaSea Updates are available at the link provided.
LegaSea seeks to provide easy-to-read information on a broad range of issues so people can better understand and engage in the management of their fisheries.
Having six internationally renown speakers at the recent fisheries Symposium focused on defining the economy of abundance was a real boost for LegaSea and the vision of more abundant fisheries for all New Zealanders.
A central theme to the four recent management submissions to the Ministry for Primary Industries is the need for more precautionary management of our fish stocks. The Minister's decisions, announced on March 17th are a mixed bag, with cuts to commercial catch limits for selected scallop and crayfish stocks, and significant increases in surf clam catch limits around the South Island.
From a fisheries perspective it is very frustrating to watch the marine protection cum reserves debate occur without any intention to address the root causes of depletion - excessive fish catches, mobile bottom contact harvesting methods degrading habitats, and contaminants entering waterways choking nursery areas.
After two years of planning and research we now know what recreational fishing is worth to the New Zealand economy. Kiwis spend a billion dollars a year on recreational fishing but the benefits don't stop at the fish on the end of the line.
LegaSea is confident the study confirming recreational fishing is a billion dollar industry provides a strong basis for rebuilding our inshore fisheries. The two-year research project found local and visiting anglers collectively spend $946 million dollars each year on saltwater fishing, stimulating around $1.7 billion dollars in annual economic activity.
1. Exposing flaws in the current fisheries management framework and offering innovative solutions were all part of the submission to the recent fisheries system review. We are now on standby to discuss the major issues raised by all submitters and potential law changes. 2.Curious proposals to protect marine areas. 3. International spotlight on New Zealand's underreported fish catch.
Illegal sales of seafood on social media is worth thousands of dollars and is particularly difficult to combat according to recent reports. With the exception of whitebait, only registered commercial fishers can sell seafood in New Zealand. LegaSea and the New Zealand Sport Fishing Council, who advocate on behalf of recreational fishers, support moves to identify and stop black market operators.
A document discussing four types of marine protected areas, including recreational fishing parks, has been released for consultation. The NZSFC is working through the document. It is important we weigh up the costs and benefits of the proposals and double-check any recreational rule changes that may accompany the establishment of recreational fishing parks.
Thanks to Matt Watson's 'get stuck in and do it' approach the www.freefishheads.co.nz website was born. This initiative enables successful anglers to share unwanted fish heads and frames with people in their community and at the same time conserve our fishery.
Thanks to the good work of NRB, the Ministry for Primary Industries, NIWA and Blue Water Marine Research we now have a better understanding of recreational harvest nationwide and in particular the popular Hauraki Gulf. Science providers have told us they have better data on recreational harvest than any other sector because there is uncertainty around levels of customary harvest, commercial discards and the amount of poaching.
Thanks to Matt Watson's 'get stuck in and do it' approach the www.freefishheads.co.nz website was born. This initiative enables successful anglers to share unwanted fish heads and frames with people in their community and at the same time conserve our fishery.
Changing the way people view the ocean and creating a more positive attitude towards conservation is an outcome of overseas research into the value of recreational fishing. LegaSea believes the same positive benefits could apply to New Zealand when the results of the New Zealand Marine Research Foundation's research valuation project are made public and given effect through policy changes. Also, update on measures to improve recreational fishing in the Hawke Bay.
A major project has been commissioned to find out the value of recreational fishing in New Zealand. The New Zealand Marine Research Foundation, with the support of the New Zealand Sport Fishing Council, is determined to find out what recreational fishing is worth to our nation's economy.
A stack of effort has gone into developing the What's Fishing Worth? campaign to reaise funds for the most recent New Zealand Marine Research Foundation project. The Foundation has commissioned a full-scale research project to find out how much recreational fishers contribute to our national economy through taxes, job creation and GDP growth. Finfish depletion and LegaSea Hawkes Bay's response also features in this Update.
In Australia, a recent study found recreational fishers contribute an estimated $2.56 billion to the nation's economy. But what's fishing worth in New Zealand? The truth is, no one knows. So the NZ Marine Research Foundation has commissioned a full-scale research project to find out.
Blue cod is an iconic Marlborough Sounds fishery so any mention of management changes evokes a raft of claims and counter-claims. LegaSea is pleased to have recently worked on a submission with four other national or local groups to promote an abundant fishery and improvements to regulations applying to both commercial and recreational blue cod fishing.
A draft management plan for the northeastern snapper stock is underway and expected to be with the Minister, Nathan Guy, later this year. 18 months of hard work has brought us to this point.
It is unclear when the Minister will release the management plan for public discussion. However, recreational interests are keen to get the public involved in discussing the strategy within months.
1. Recreational fishing is more popular now than in 2007 and interest is growing. Results from the 2013/14 Active New Zealand survey ranks fishing as the second most popular recreation for men and ninth for women. Despite its popularity, no one knows how much our recreational fishing contributes to the national economy but that is about to change. 2. LegaSea Legends. 3. South Island blue cod reviews. 4. What can you do?
New Zealand is fast becoming world renowned for trophy sized kingfish and lots of them. This is no accident.
Management changes a decade ago, Mother Nature and the care shown by recreational fishers who release much of their kingfish catch have all contributed to the stock rebuild.
1. In November 2013 various groups were invited to participate in a Snapper 1 Strategy Group to formulate a plan for the future management of northern snapper. Snapper 1 extends down the east coast, from North Cape to the eastern Bay of Plenty. 2. Hauraki Gulf spatial plan. 3. Quick action required in Marlborough. 4. What can you do?
Prior to last year's election National surprised us when they announced a policy to introduce two recreational fishing parks, one in the inner Hauraki Gulf and the other in the Marlborough Sounds. The promise was to exclude most commercial fishing and enhance fishing opportunities for Kiwi families. There was a mixed response.
1. For the first time in four years management of Marlborough Sounds blue cod is being reviewed and LegaSea is encouraging recreational fishers to have their say on the future of this most prized fishery. 2. Crayfish decisions underwhelming. 3. Northland crayfish management. 4. Gisborne crayfish woes continue.
There are ongoing issues related to the management of our crayfish stocks that need to be addressed this year. Crayfish are a prized shellfish, a taonga, and we need to be sure that the public's long-term interests are protected and we have reasonable access to our crayfish.
Fish dumping and unnecessary wastage in our fisheries has to stop, any many of you have the handiest tool to address it - your cellphone camera. Several trawlermen have revealed that dumping happens on every trawl. One skipper estimates 10-15 bins of undersized fish were thrown back dead after every trawl. The crew is required by law to discard undersized fish, but damaged or unmarketable fish are dumped as well.
Crayfish might not be on everyone's catch list but they are a treasured meal when shared with family and friends. Not surprisingly they are also a valuable commercial species so when it comes to management there is always high interest in any catch increases.
It seems that yellowfin tuna are not gone forever from New Zealand waters. Dare we hope that this season is just the start of their return, or is this just a painful reminder of the superb fishery that has been lost?
Over 4.5 million snapper, 1.1 million kahawai and 680,000 blue cod were caught and kept by recreational fishers during 2011-12. These are the three most popular marine species, by number, in New Zealand. Around 5.4 percent of all finfish was taken from charter vessels.
Summer is a hectic time of year for the LegaSea team as there are so many fund raising events, fishing contests and community gatherings to attend. It is such a buzz to see people enjoying the fishing, the camaraderie with their mates, and spending quality time amongst family. And this is just a snapshot of how fishing provides for our wellbeing.
There has been widespread discussion about the number of small snapper being caught in close off the northeast coast and whether the new 30cm minimum size limit is good for the fishery. There is some suggestion the size needs to return to 27cm, or have no minimum and land everything. There are downsides to that approach.
After a hard-out year many of us look forward to time on the water catching a fish, sharing that catch with family and friends, and importantly, enjoying the experience with our kids. To achieve success we need fish in the water. LegaSea has developed 5 Principles to help rebuild our depleted fisheries.
Strategies to rebuild marine ecosystems and local fisheries around the northeast coast, Gisborne and Hawkes Bay were confirmed during a recent meeting held at the Gisborne Tatapouri Sports Fishing Club. Delegates to this year's NZ Sport Fishing Council Annual General Meeting endorsed three policies. Each policy outlines a range of measures designed to rebuild depleted fisheries and enhance degraded ecosystems.
One of the major talking points during the snapper campaign in 2013 was the assertion that recreational catch had increased exponentially and that effort needed to be reined in through bag limit reductions. Fact is, management of Snapper 1 had not been reviewed for 16 years an the recreational allowance made in 1997 did not reflect any sliver of reality, either then or now.
A big thanks to everyone who went online added their signature to the list of caring fishos supporting LegaSea's 5 principles. As recreational fishers this was our chance to Tip the Scales towards sustainable abundance, balance and fairness in fisheries management.
News medley from the NZSFC-LegaSea team. Updates on the LegaSea Tip the Scales campaign, hidden snapper wastage trawl mortality report, reducing waste is a priority, and a Building LegaSea update - Big work up in Northland.
News medley from the NZSFC-LegaSea team. Updates on the recent Blue moki 3 submission, the next Hokianga Accord hui, Snapper 1 discussions, Building LegaSea and the next campaign to get our aspiring politicians to promote policies that support productive fisheries and a healthy marine environment.
Trans Tasman Resources Limited has appealed the Environmental Protection Authority decision refusing marine consent for sand mining off the Taranaki coast for the next 20 years. In June the EPA rejected the application on the basis that there were too many uncertainties around the effects of the mining operation. TTR had 15 days to appeal. TTR believe they have strong grounds for appeal. TTR has support from local and overseas investors to continue with the appeal.
News medley from the NZSFC-LegaSea team. Items include updates on the Snapper 1 discussions, the depleted state of snapper in the Bay of Plenty, snapper and blue cod at the top of the South Island and the latest LegaSea initiative - Building LegaSea. This new programme recognises that people involved in the construction industry are passionate about fishing. Building LegaSea enables businesses, large and small, to regularly contribute to LegaSea and receive rewards for their commitment.
The NZSFC-LegaSea team has hit back at the Ministry's proposals to increase the blue moki 3 commercial catch limit because the fishing industry has overcaught their quota by 25%. There is no measure of abundance so the stock status is unknown. Blue moki are vulnerable to overfishing and need precautionary management.
In the eight months since Nathan Guy's Snapper 1 decision there have been no material improvements to reducing the mortality rate in the northeastern fishery. If anything, things are worse. We still have masses of juvenile and adult fish being killed by trawlers inshore. We also have increased mortality caused by recreational fishers returning fish they would otherwise have taken home for a feed, and then continuing to fish longer than what they would have a year ago.
Since 2002 the Total Allowable Commercial Catch for upper South Island scallops has been 747 tonnes. In recent years commercial landings have been less than 50 tonnes per annum. In February we were given only 18 working days to respond to a complex management review of this fishery and selected crayfish stocks.
Nathan Guy has decided on management measures for five crayfish stocks and a commercial catch reduction for southern scallops. The risks threatening the future viability of scallops in the Marlborough Sounds remains. The only bright note for crayfish is Nathan Guy's decision for CRA 9, on the west coast of both Islands. Read the details here.....
Nathan Guy must intervene and get crayfish management back on track if we want our fisheries restored to healthy levels. As Minister for Primary Industries Mr. Guy cannot continue to hide behind the veil of a statutory body offering poor advice while many prime crayfish habitats are deserted, leaving us empty-handed and despairing at barren reefs.
After waiting all December the Ministry for Primary Industries finally released its consultation papers for southern scallops and crayfish at the end of January. MPI has only given us, the public of New Zealand, 18 working days to respond. For such important fisheries this is a disgrace and the NZ Sport Fishing Council will be strongly objecting to this process.
In January and February 2014 the Ministry consulted on two options for the future management of Southern Scallops, SCA7. On 20 February, the day before the submission deadline, MPI advised another option. This new option is commonly referred to as the Talley's option. The new submission deadline was amended from 21 February to 3 March.
Crayfish. NZSFC submission on sustainability review. 21 February 2014
Between January and February 2014 the Ministry for Primary Industries consulted on proposals that would determine the future management of crayfish. Five out of nine crayfish stocks were reviewed. The NZ Sport Fishing Council rejected all but one of the proposals, on the basis that the crayfisheries must be rebuilt to enable us, the public, reasonable access to our fisheries.
A supplementary submission to the Environmental Protection Authority reiterating our objections to the application by Trans-Tasman Resources Ltd to mine iron sand in the South Taranaki Bight for up to 20 years.
In response to 45,000 submissions and politcal pressure the Government has agreed to ban shark finning in New Zealand waters. There will be a staged introduction of the ban covering different species of shark. A total ban on shark finning in NZ waters will apply from October 2016. While not a total, immediate ban on shark finning, it seems a pragmatic solution to a difficult issue that affects many of the 113 species of shark in NZ waters. Nice one Ministers Nathan Guy and Nick Smith.
One of Nathan Guy's aspirations for the future management of Snapper 1 was to establish an action group by year's end, to develop a management plan by October 2015. Nominations for the SNA1 Strategy Group have been sought, two from each sector, commercial, customary and recreational. But there is a fish hook. The Ministry is insisting on selecting the two recreational representatives!
Seabed mining application re-notified. 20 December 2013
The Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) has re-notified the Trans-Tasman Resources Ltd marine resource application to mine iron sand in the South Taranaki Bight. The submission deadline has been extended from 19 December 2013 until 28 January 2014. The application is being re-notified because not all relevant information was made available to earlier submitters.
Nathan Guy has agreed to retain the closures excluding commercial paua harvesting from important areas of the Otago and Southland coastline. These areas sustain paua for the people of Otago and Southland, and thus enable people to provide for their social and cultural wellbeing while protecting the resource for future generations. Nice one Nathan!
Nathan Guy, the Minister for Primary Industries, has ignored the precautionary approach for the stricken Southern bluefin tuna stocks and granted a 69 tonne increase in the commercial catch level for the 2013-14 fishing year, and increased total catch limit from 830 to 1000 tonnes for the 2014-15 fishing year.
Discussions around NZ Sport Fishing Council representation on the Snapper 1 Strategy Group are ongoing. Keep up with the correspondence here.......
The New Zealand Sport Fishing Council submit in response to the Ministry's revised draft National Plan of Action for the conservation and management of sharks NPOA-sharks.
Reactions ranging from outrage to stoic have been aired since Nathan Guy released his decision, in September, for snapper within the area from North Cape to the eastern Bay of Plenty. The Minister has made a political decision in response to unprecedented public pressure, but that exposure was insufficient to sway him or his Ministry to retain existing recreational controls.
The Minister of Fisheries is no Valerie Adams. Nathan Guy gave the snapper decision a shot, but fell short of public expectations. He was not helped by his Ministry's predetermination to have us share a smaller slice of the snapper fishery to protect commercial interests. As of April 2014 recreational fishers between North Cape and the Bay of Plenty will have a smaller bag limit and an increased minimum size limit.
On 17 September the Minister for Primary Industries, Nathan Guy, announced a range of new Snapper 1 management measures that will affect both recreational and commercial fishers.
As of 1 April 2014 the individual recreational daily bag limit will reduce from 9 to 7, and the minimum legal size will increase from 27 to 30cm. This represents a 22% reduction in access for individuals. There is no change to the 4500 tonne total allowable commercial catch (TACC).
New Zealand Sport Fishing Council reaction to this decision is captured in this LegaSea media release 'Snapper decision falls short'.
Any day now we expect to receive the Minister's decision on the future management of Snapper 1. Reaching this decision will not be an easy task for Nathan Guy. On the one hand Guy is being reassured by the Ministry for Primary Industries that he can legally treat us, the public, as if we are part of the quota system. On the other, he is getting a very strong message from the NZ Sport Fishing Council and our supporters that we are not part of the QMS and we will not accept a fixed, proportional share of the fishery.
Claims there is no predetermined outcome in the Snapper 1 debate are untrue. The Ministry for Primary Industries has already decided in future you will have access to a smaller share of the snapper fishery and your daily take must be reduced. These changes are required to protect commercial interests from a burgeoning population demanding greater access to our fisheries.
Once again the Government is expecting the public to shoulder savage cuts to rebuild the Snapper 1 fishery while leaving the commercial sector and their archaic, destructive fishing methods relatively unscathed. Consultation is now underway and you have until August 23rd to have your say.
Striped marlin has been a non-commercial species since 1991 yet commercial fishers continue to argue for a regulation change so they can take and sell marlin. The NZ Sport Fishing Council is vigorously opposed. Club records show that marlin fishing has improved significantly since the 1990s, effectively proving that commercial catch was impacting on the availability of fish to members and charter fishers who depend on them.
So the rumours are true! All the talk about how steadfast southern folk can be was borne out during the recent paua consultation process. When Ministry and industry suggested the public take a back seat to commercial interests in PAU 5D the crowd literally went wild.
Domestic commercial long-liners are campaigning for a regulation change to allow them to keep and sell marlin.
The NZ Sport Fishing Council opposes any relaxation of the rules protecting marlin from private profiteers, preferring instead to promote the national interest by maintaining recreational access to marlin. Our marlin are not for sale!
If you are struggling to find a legal size crayfish for that special family dinner you are not alone. Crayfish is a popular target species for recreational fishers, yet in some areas they are scarce because undersized fish are being taken by commercial fishers and exported.
Significant commercial catch limit increases have been proposed for two important fisheries and the New Zealand Sport Fishing Council has strongly objected to both proposals. There is insufficient, or downright dodgy, information to support catch increases in Coromandel Scallops and in several Rock Lobster fisheries.
After the activity in 2012 and the steady progress of LegaSea, the NZ Sport Fishing Council hopes that the team will have the necessary resources to respond to an expected review of Snapper 1, and other issues in 2013.
Recreational fishermen have much to celebrate in 2012 and even more to anticipate in the next few years. Recent developments represent a significant shift to managing fisheries at higher stock levels. Having more and bigger fish thriving in a productive ecosystem has benefits for our fisheries, the environment, our communities and us.
A fisheries management milestone was achieved at the recent New Zealand Sport Fishing Council AGM. Fifty seven clubs representing 33,000 affiliated members voted in favour of a dedicated rebuild strategy for Snapper 1, the largest inshore fishery for recreational fishers. This promises to be the first of many policies developed by amateur fishers for specific stocks around the country.
Momentum is building for the development of a marine spatial plan to apply across the Hauraki Gulf and eastern Coromandel. Rebuilding abundance, the size and numbers of fish, ought to be the foundation stone of any management plan. The NZ Sport Fishing Council is advocating for recreational fishing interests in this process, as amateur fishers could be affected more than any other group.
One of the unique features of living in New Zealand is our freedom to fish. Moves are underway to change the nature of our right to fish. Before we go down the reform path the NZSFC is keen to find a very Kiwi, simple and effective answer to ensure our kids enjoy an abundant future.
It's true. Fisheries management is political. One week we have Matt Watson exposing trails of dumped snapper in the Hauraki Gulf, the next politicians are telling the Ministry of Primary Industries to 'do something'.
It was all hands to the pump for the New Zealand Sport Fishing Council volunteers at the recent Hutchwilco New Zealand Boat Show. Over 34,000 show attendees were able to talk with the LegaSea crew and contribute to the ongoing effort to proect our fishing future.
The Kahawai Legal Challenge proved that recreational fishers were able to foot-it with commercial interests when pushed. Fishing groups rallied wide support and combined resources to challenge the Minister's kahawai decisions. Lessons were learnt and our rights were clarified. Recreational fishers have a right to quality fishing.
After last month's decisions we have had some positive developments in public awareness, LegaSea enrolments and fisheries management.
Money and commercial interests have won the latest round of decisions, with sanction from our fisheries Minister and international commissioners managing Pacific tuna. Consequently, there will be less public access to crayfish, yellowfin and other tunas in the future.
It has been another very poor Yellowfin tuna season in New Zealand. Last year the New Zealand Sport Fishing Council clubs reported a mere 20 yellowfin landed or tagged and released. It couldn't get much worse and hasn't got any better this year. So what has caused their demise and what can be done to bring back our yellowfin?
LegaSea, the New Zealand Sport Fishing Council's fundraising initiative, was officially launched in Auckland on 9th February. Its sole purpose is to provide the public with a way to contribute money to support their ongoing work to protect our collective non-commercial fishing interests.
Hook, Line and Blinkers is a novel that tells a tale of oceans unmanaged, polluted, depleted by overfishing and about to finally fall into complete ruin.........
A meeting to discuss the current and future management of marlin catch in New Zealand will be held in March next year. The NZSFC has spent three years working through the process of developing a Fisheries Plan for Highly Migratory Species, with the Ministry of Fisheries, Maori representatives and other stakeholders.
An online update on a variety of issues affecting recreational fishermen and our fisheries. Follow the links to submissions, commentary and reports on Southern bluefin tuna, foreign charter vessel operations, the prohibition of night fishing and Fish Aggregating Devices (FADs) in the Pacific to increase abundance and availability Yellowfin tuna to New Zealand fishermen.
Foreign Charter Vessels fishing in New Zealand waters has been a hot topic lately. The Government has been under pressure to address allegations of abuse highlighted in various media and public forums.
It was a feature of the recent management proposals that the Ministry of Fisheries were offering commercial shareholders perpetual catching rights that previously belonged to the public. Cuts were proposed to overall allowances and/or daily bag limits while commercial catch limits were being either maintained or cut merely "to remove potential catch headroom". This is double jeopardy for public fishing interests.
It'a no brainer. No increases in commercial catch limits for northwest Kingfish and 100% observer coverage on chartered factory trawlers. Now is the time to significantly cut commercial bluenose catches to avoid collapse.
Commercial crayfish catch limits have increased in Area 4, ignoring conservation efforts by local NZSFC club members and strong advice from our fisheries management team. It is unjust to put the cost of commercial overfishing onto the public.
The NZSFC recommends the Fisheries Minister implement practical controls to curb excessive commercial fishing. Excess catch ought to be reduced from the following year's catch limits. The decision to increase commercial catch limits for southern bluefin tuna is objectionable, especially when managers know that more cuts will be needed in future years.