Overwhelming public support for trawler ban

November 4, 2016

A complete moratorium on commercial trawling within the inshore waters of Hawke Bay and surrounding waters is the only way the depleted fish stocks can rebuild was the very clear and primary message the public gave to the officials of LegaSea Hawkes Bay at the Hawke’s Bay Royal A&P Show held at the Hastings Showground over Labour weekend.

Spokesman for LegaSea Hawkes Bay, Wayne Bicknell stated, “there was huge public support for our campaign to rebuild our inshore fishery and the need to reduce some of the commercial pressure that is put on it. As we see it, the only meaningful solution is to move the commercial effort outside the 50m contour.”

Members of the public acknowledge some token concessions had been made to not trawl in the Springs area during December, January and February and not to target hapuku in the Lachlan Ridge/Banks area. However, they were not convinced that these measures alone would be enough to rebuild the fishery as no fewer fish would be removed.
The main draw card to the LegaSea site at the Show was the “Sea Wall” where the public were invited to purchase cut-out replicas of gurnard, snapper and kingfish and staple them to the wall as a show of support in rebuilding the Hawke’s Bay fishery.

By the end of the Show the Sea Wall was full of fish and Mr. Bicknell said he was amazed at the depth of passion and willingness to financially contribute to LegaSea Hawkes Bay in support of its campaign.

“It certainly gives us renewed energy and enthusiasm to continue pushing for substantive steps to rebuild our fishery.”
Wayne Bicknell

He also stated that the non-fishing public who were equally concerned about the state of fishery and how it was being managed was encouraging. They want to see mandatory measures taken to introduce sustainable fishing and methods that reduce unnecessary waste.

Personally, he wants MPI to take recreational fishing seriously.

A recent study by the NZ Marine Research Foundation: Recreational Fishing in New Zealand. A Billion Dollar Industry found that it generates $1.7 billion in economic activity yet only takes 6% of total landed catch. It’s a big industry with a low impact.

Jim Yeoman, President of NZ Angling and Casting Association and LegaSea Hawkes Bay executive member, said that with all the recent publicity over the scandalous decisions not to prosecute blatant dumping of fish by commercial fishers and the fabrication of the total fisheries catch, people we spoke to do not have any confidence in the personnel within MPI who are charged with managing our fishery. There is widespread support for LegaSea ‘s call for a comprehensive, independent review of the Quota Management System and how our fishery is managed, he said.

LegaSea will be meeting with officials from MPI for further joint sector meetings in November and will continue pressing hard for a meaningful solution for the people of Hawke’s Bay.

LegaSea Hawkes Bay thanks all that supported them at the Show and all the people and organisations that support them month in, month out.

For any queries please email Wayne Bicknell.