Reflection on 2013

January 20, 2014
I’d like to reflect on some of the major positives for fisheries to come out of 2013. Groups with a common cause worked hard to strive for a better future, with dedicated support from people like you. Let’s start with tuna. Greenpeace had been fighting corporates for two years to stop FAD fishing for yellow fin tuna. In 2013 the final company, Sealords, caved in to public pressure; FAD-caught tuna sold here will be gone in the next two years. Thank you Greenpeace and Karli Thomas for giving it heaps! We stopped marlin being added into the quota management system with the LegaSea “Hands off our Marlin” campaign. This was followed up with a challenge to the nonsensical snapper management proposal published by the Ministry. We gained a groundswell of support from you, the people who care about our fisheries and took a stand with us to protect them. We didn’t get the ultimate outcome, because our bag limits were still reduced unnecessarily, but we showed the Government that we will stand together to fight for our fisheries, and they must show some respect for the people they represent, and prove they deserve our votes. The NZ Shark Alliance put enough pressure on the Ministers of Conservation and Primary Industries to force an announcement that shark finning will be banned in New Zealand (pre-empting more public backlash?!) This is a great outcome. However, the law hasn’t been passed yet and three years (2 years to implement plus the time to get the law passed) translates to another 400,000+ sharks killed and dumped. In 2013 LegaSea shone a beam of light into New Zealand’s fisheries, delivering clear information about decisions being made that affect you, your children and your grandchildren. You took a stand with us to challenge poor fisheries management decisions. Thank you for heeding our call. Thank you for playing your part – but this is just the beginning. Together we made a difference. This is a great start, but we need your friends and family to get on board too, to help us secure our fishing futures. More challenges are coming our way; we all want to ensure our families can continue to enjoy the pleasures and health benefits of healthy fisheries. We’re all concerned, yet most of us fail to step up and help. Please do not be a “silent friend”: as Martin Luther King said, “In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends”. Sadly it is all too easy these days to sit back and have a complacent opinion while expecting others to do the hard yards. A modest, affordable contribution makes you a LegaSea hero, and you will be among good friends.