In 2014 the people of Hawkes Bay said “enough”, then they took the bold step of committing their time, energy and resources to rebuilding the depleted Bay’s fish stocks. To achieve that outcome they formed LegaSea Hawkes Bay to raise funds, political and public awareness.
Two years on they are focused on engaging with their community, local politicians, the Hawkes Bay Regional Council, commercial fishing interests and the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI).
Public awareness is growing and there is a steady stream of funds from people making a regular, monthly contribution towards their efforts in the Hawkes Bay. However, to be really effective they need more support, both financial and volunteer effort. Contact [email protected].
It is pleasing to have Hawkes Bay people so committed to restoring abundance to local waters. There is so much potential for the whole community if there are abundant fisheries available to locals and tourists alike.
The recent research into the value of recreational fishing identified that New Zealanders and tourists together spend around $110 million per annum on trips and equipment to go fishing in the lower North Island, including the Hawkes Bay area. In anyone’s language that is good income for a region so reliant on its natural resources.
It is encouraging to see Hawkes Bay Regional Council’s increasing interest in both the marine environment and processes to reverse declining trends.
The lack of progress from almost two years of joint talks with commercial fishing interests and MPI is disappointing. LegaSea Hawkes Bay recently issued a public statement expressing their dismay.
“We desperately need to restore local fisheries but we cannot achieve a rebuild on our own, because with our current average catch rate reducing the recreational daily bag limit will achieve nothing…..The MPI and the commercial industry must take responsibility and make significant contribution to reduce fish harvest in the inshore zone”, said Brian Firman, LegaSea Hawkes Bay’s spokesperson.
“LegaSea Hawkes Bay note that MPI’s manager, Dave Turner, initially offered to “reach into the toolbox” if recreational and commercial fishing interests failed to reach agreement. LegaSea acknowledges that now is the time for MPI to stretch its arm, apply some resources, and find a meaningful solution for the people of Hawkes Bay.”
LegaSea remains optimistic and on standby to assist the Hawkes Bay team to achieve a satisfactory and durable outcome so that everyone can get on with the task of restoring fish stocks to abundant levels for current and future generations.