SPORT FISHING FOR A SUSTAINABLE FUTURE
Sport fishers have also got hooked into the tug of war over our nation’s fish. Back in 2009 the New Zealand Sport Fishing Council (NZSFC) found itself in court challenging a government review of catch limits for kahawai. It was yet another example of the difficulties involved in trying to balance competing demands on our ocean with its future sustainability. It ended with legal confirmation that it was up to the ministry to apportion reasonable allocations to both commercial and non-commercial fishing. For the NZSFC it brought the realisation that it would need to up its game if it wanted to fight its corner in the years to come.
The result is Legasea, the council’s campaign to generate funding for advocacy, research and education to secure more fish in the water and a healthy marine environment, in co-operation with existing environmental groups.
At Legasea’s launch this month, advisor Scott Macindoe, a seasoned campaigner for sustainable sport fishing, said: “There is a sea change happening. For a long time we have sat still in the face of what appears to be overwhelming forces of privatisation of our seas. The Ministry of Fisheries has only ever been for commercial fishing, but we are establishing the fact that the ministry must manage the fisheries so that ordinary people are able to provide for their own social, cultural and physical well-being.”
It’s a major resource issue, with Auckland large recreational fishing fleet taking thousands of tonnes of snapper and other fish each year, but for Macindoe and his fellow 33,000 council members, it is also a big part of their way of life.