Element - - Cover Story -

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.

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