Dear Sir

The soundings document recognises that:
"All New Zealanders have the right to go recreational fishing" (Page 11)

The third sentence in the Ministers forward says it all." The freedom to go fishing is one of the special things about being a New Zealander" That freedom must not be eroded.

The fishery

The stewardship of the seas around New Zealand is vested in the Government for the good of all citizens.
The saltwater fishery is and always has been a public resource. Because a part of that resource is set aside for Maori customary use and the commercial fishing industry have been given the right, or more correctly privilege, to harvest the bulk of the fish does not make it any less a public property. As the owners of the resource, every New Zealanders right to free and unequivocal access to a recreational or sustenance fishery ABSOLUTELY MUST be enshrined in law.

Priority right

The rights of every citizen, resident of, and visitor to New Zealand to access to salt water recreational fishing must be included in all relevant legislation alongside Maori customary rights as a priority over commercial quota rights.

Quota ownership is not ownership of the fish in the sea; it is ownership of a right to attempt to catch a specific quantity of a specific type of fish from a designated area. There must always be adequate allowance made for anyone who wishes to go recreational fishing. When setting TACC recreational and traditional catches must FIRST be deducted from TAC with the remainder then available to commercial interests.

That allowance must be equal to the previous years catch plus a percentage equal to the population growth.

Problems with recreational fishing

I believe there are few problems with recreational fishing as such. The problems are those of commercial fishers who see someone else catching what they perceive as their fish. As most commercial fishing is now done on behalf of corporates and not individual fisherman, more fish means a better bottom line on the balance sheet and better return on shareholders funds, which is the whole point of company existence.
The obvious fundamental difference, which shows the disparity of quantities taken is that Commercial fishers count their catch in tons while recreational count theirs in individual fish.

Management of recreational fishing.

I personally believe there should be input be recreational fishers into the management of recreationally fished species. The problem is getting people with the knowledge, time and willingness to do it, fishing is for the most part an individual pursuit, only a small proportion of fishers belong to or wish to belong to an organisation or club. Most of those who do belong to clubs have no wish to take part in the management of the club let alone the fishery.

Recreational input

A democratically elected national body should be funded by government to co-ordinate recreational input into fisheries management. This body can then employ professionals to provide reasoned, studied and useful input into the management of recreationally fished species. Without such a body any recreational input is likely to be disregarded as anecdotal as happens at present.
Such an organisation will be of benefit to Government and the commercial sector as it will undertake research which would not otherwise be done, increasing the knowledge of recreational species and therefor assisting MoF in their statutory obligation to manage fisheries in a sustainable manner.

Recreational fishery management should be by the status quo of: size limits, bag limits and method restrictions.

There must be no salt water fishing licences, no recreational fishing quota and the Ministry of Fisheries must manage the fishery.

Who should contribute towards the costs of recreational fishing management?

We already do, through our taxes and Excise Tax levied on fuel used in boats. Government also collects the revenue from the many tonnes of deemed value fish caught by commercial fishers over and above quota allocations. Any fish taken over and above TACC is in fact fish stolen from other sectors.
The revenue derived from deemed value fish should be allocated to recreational fishing management.

An issue that must be addressed.

The taking of fish for the black market under the guise of customary fishing must be stopped.
As an example: In the Cray 3 area MoF estimates that 80tons of rock lobsters, the majority undersize, were taken under customary permits in 1999, most of these went to the black market. This is having detrimental effect on the ability of both recreational fishers to get 'a feed' and commercial fishers to fill their quotas. This abuse must be stopped.

Yours Sincerely
Captain Bert Lee