Fryday Fryup – 24 June

June 24, 2016

Welcome to the FryUp – a regular look back at the week of fishing in the news.

Call to ban all fishing in Hawke’s Bay
Grim news from the Hawke’s Bay where concerned fishers are pushing to have all industrial fishing pushed out beyond the 50m depth contour.

Last week we reported on local MP Stuart Nash and others concerned by declining fish stocks in the region that could, in their opinion, see popular species, such as gurnard, snapper and groper all gone from the Bay by 2020.

Now the push is on to move trawlers out of the inshore fishing zone and rather than mark the start of that at 100m, the locals are calling for it to be only 50m in depth.

Fisheries Inshore New Zealand chief executive Dr Jeremy Helson agrees that more needs to be done to ensure fisheries recovery but he’s not happy about a blanket ban on trawlers at that level, according to the Hawke’s Bay Today.

But something clearly has to give. There are a growing number of calls for MPI to step up and do more than just hold meetings and act as a liaison between recreational and industrial fishers.

As Napier recreational fisherman Wayne Bicknell says, any solution come up with to date doesn’t include killing fewer fish.

“It has been very frustrating that the Ministry won’t accept there is a sustainability issue, they merely describe our situation as “local area depletion,” says Wayne and from the look of it, he’s not alone.

Hawke’s Bay Today – Fall in fish stocks prompts call for ban – Hawke’s Bay fish stocks back under the spotlight
LegaSea – Sunlight best disinfectant for exposing flaws

Bay of Islands crowned King(fish)
The week-long Bay of Islands International Yellowtail Tournament has been running for longer than most folk would care to remember and it’s become something of a legend among recreational fishers. So it’s no surprise that TVNZ’s Seven Sharp show would send an intrepid reporter along to find out all about it.

This will be the 47th year it has been run and for the past five years Blue Water Marine Research has been measuring kingfish at the weigh station to help track what is going on with this important component of the tourist fishery in Northland.

This research project is funded by fishers, not the government. It has the full support of the Bay of Islands Swordfish Club, the New Zealand Sport Fishing Council and LegaSea. It only happens because Blue Water Marine Research donates their time and resources, and because the anglers are willing to share their fish with the research team. So high fives to all who have taken part.

The size of fish in the landed catch steadily increased each year from 2010 to 2013, which is great to see. Weather conditions in the 2014 Tournament restricted where boats could reasonably go and many of the fish caught were small.

These fish appear to be part of a strong new year class entering the fishery. They show up again in 2015 as 95 to 100 cm fish.

Interestingly, TVNZ interviewed Titch, the hirsute Australian who has been coming to town for the competition for the past four decades and while there’s still plenty of action on the water, it’s telling that Titch says the biggest kingfish he ever caught was in his first year of competition.

It’s great to see the tourism aspect of recreational fishing getting a run on the telly. We all know how much we spend on fishing each year and now with our recreational fishing economic report we know that over 700,000 people a year come fishing with us. That’s worth $1.7 billion a year in economic activity and it’s great to see the media acknowledge the role that recreational fishing plays in the economy.

Kingfish Monitoring Report
TVNZ Seven Sharp
NZMRF – Recreational Fishing in New Zealand

Sideswipe asks are these really New Zealand baby snapper?
They looked a bit small to me, and to whoever took the photo, but these “baby” snapper might well be OK in the eyes of the law.

Sideswipe showed off a photo taken, apparently, at the Victoria Markets in Melbourne where whole “baby snapper” were being sold for A$17.50 a kilo. The photographer reckons they’re about 20cm each but they could be the full 25 if you squint a bit.

Of course, it’s perfectly legal for a trawler to catch 25cm snapper and sell them to the Aussies. If I try to sell you the same snapper I’d be in handcuffs* sooner than you can say “you have the right to remain silent” because as a recreational fisher we’re not allowed to take snapper under the 30cm mark, in the north at least.

I’m sure there’s a sensible explanation as to why that is but it escapes me for the moment. It’ll come back to me I’m sure.

However, the photo has raised some questions. Are these actually “New Zealand” snapper or did some Aussie sales rep just decide to use our name to help flog his merchandise?

It’s not uncommon. There are products for sale all over the planet claiming to be from New Zealand but which have never been near Godzone. It’s a major concern for exporters around the country as these products are trading on our reputation for quality and so there are some major moves underway to curb these kinds of activities.

*probably not actually handcuffs but you know what I mean

NZ Herald – Sideswipe: June 22: Snapper size kinda fishy…
NZ Herald – Sideswipe: June 23: Fish sellers dangling NZ name as bait
LegaSea – New Zealand’s international reputation at stake