Unlocking Auckland’s fishing potential
Auckland’s waterfront needs a San Francisco-like fisherman’s wharf, an expert says.
University of Auckland research fellow and fisheries expert Glenn Simmons said the Auckland waterfront could be the missing link between the fishing industry and the dinner plate.
Simmons spoke at a seabird forum called Taking Flight, hosted by the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park Forum at the Auckland War Memorial Museum last week.
He proposed the idea of a major fish market wharf after noticing the coastal fisheries sector wasn’t mentioned in Auckland Council’s waterfront refresh, which it approved earlier this month.
Instead it focused on removing public parking, replacing Wynyard Crossing bridge and looking into turning Captain Cook Wharf into a cruise terminal, subject to negotiation with the Ports of Auckland.
‘‘Where’s the fisherman in the story? They should be front and centre of what’s going on in the viaduct,’’ Simmons said.
According to Seafood New Zealand the fishing industry harvested 600,000 tonnes of seafood annually, was worth $1.79 billion in exports and employed more than 20,000 people.
Auckland’s waterfront is home to fishing trawlers and was also a key hub for tourists.
Combining fresh fish enterprise into a central city tourist hub and establishing a visible link between sea, boat and the dinner plate could be a revenue maker for Auckland and would help boost the industry, he said.
’’Why is it that I have to drive to Mangonui to eat fresh fish and chips or go down to Otago to actually eat from a restaurant where I can see the fish?’’
We need a vibrant profitable industry and hiding them in some remote place is crazy, he said.
The only fish market in down- town Sanford’s Auckland Fish Market in Wynyard Quarter.
Cities like San Francisco had successfully made coastal fishing sectors focal to their harbours and cities, becoming huge tourist attractions, Simmons said.
Auckland Council controlled organisation Panuku Develop- ment director of design and place Rod Marler said it was in talks with the fishing industry about future thinking for on-wharf fish wholesale retailing.
‘‘They are critical in providing the authentic gritty experience of the waterfront which is a key component of its success.’’