People versus Profits

October 2, 2013
Are private profits and export dollars really more important than the people of New Zealand? Nathan Guys decision on the Snapper 1 fishery will tell us loud and clear where this governments allegiance lies – people or profits. Any day now (if not already) his decision will be announced. 48,000 submissions and 365,000 emails sent by you, the people of New Zealand, opposing any cuts to recreational bag limits for snapper sent a strong message to Mr Guy and the Ministry. Thank you all for caring enough to take action with LegaSea, it really has made a difference. We exposed the commercial fishing industry’s ‘dirty little secret’ of wasteful practices, and now, finally, after 26 years, changes will be made. Pat yourself on the back again as it is taxpayer dollars largely funding these changes. Our stance is unwavering – we will not accept our public resource becoming increasingly privatised for the benefit of commercial companies while squashing the rights of the people of New Zealand. We are entitled to a meaningful fishing experience now and in the future and that’s all we ask. The biggest issue now threatening our Kiwi fishing heritage with Mr Guy’s decision is whether or not will he make a lawful allowance for public anglers based on our current needs (that is how much we’re actually catching). Guiding his decision is advice by his Ministry to treat the public as if we’re part of the quota management system (which we’re absolutely not!) and divide the fishery into fixed portions between the public and commercial sectors. This is the death knell of fishing as we know it, which is why LegaSea (backed by the NZ Sport Fishing Council) will fight to defend our existing rights. As a public resource, we have the legal and moral right to reclaim a fair allowance, irrespective of the effect on the commercial sector. The fact that we haven’t asked for a reduction in commercial quota is incredibly generous –especially given the near collapse of the fishery in the early 80’s was squarely at the hands of the commercial overfishing. Especially since our catch bag limits have reduced by 66% compared to 1986 and commercial quota has decreased a mere 4-5%. Especially since we have not been practicing mass waste and destruction of juvenile snapper for the past 26+ years. Especially since we have just 2% of all catch allocation across all of New Zealand fisheries and the commercial sector are allocated 98%. It is the big commercial companies working hard to defend their ‘patch’ spreading misconceptions about recreational ‘overfishing’. Such claims are laughable, however, the Ministry are siding with the commercial sector trying to dodge the law and the intent of the quota management system – which is to look after the people, the people, the people. This decision will expose National’s loyalty – people or profits. LegaSea will not rest until the people of New Zealand are protected by fisheries policy that upholds the intent of the Fisheries Act, has a moral backbone and is genuinely concerned with the future sustainability of our fisheries. Anything else would reflect the Ministry’s agenda – commercial sustainability.