Recreational fishers have a pivotal role to play in the health of our fisheries. Not only do we need to speak with one voice in the policy management arena we also need to act responsibly when we operate in the marine environment.
LegaSea has developed an educational programme; FishCare – the school of best practice to improve how we fish so we can do our part in helping restore abundance. The programme sets out to help fishers understand how to fish in ways that minimise their impact on fish stocks (better fishing techniques), contribute to the health of the fishery (handling and releasing) and practice conservation via full utilisation of what they catch (principles aligned with Free Fish Heads).
One principle that will grab a few fisher’s attention is the practice of NOT using wet towels to handle fish for release. While it has been common practice, there are reasons to use wet hands instead – or better still, file down the barbs on your hooks so fish can easily be released in the water without any handling at all.
As many of you know, LegaSea has spent considerable time and effort engaging policy makers to affect meaningful changes to our fishery management practices on behalf of the fishing public. We can hear a few people asking the question – shouldn’t the destructive trawling practices be the first to change instead of recreational fishers? A valid point however ALL users of the fishery need to act responsibly. LegaSea will continue to push for MPI to manage the fishery responsibly and call for commercial fishing practices to become selective and sustainable. But we can’t stop there.
There is a broad spectrum of users who pursue fish in our waters. From people who don’t have a basic understanding of the rules, to the other end of the spectrum where fishers not only completely minimise their impact and fully utilise each and every fish they catch, but they teach others to do the same.
Hooks, lures, bait fishing, net choice, handling techniques, utilisation of the fish, safety and how to minimise impact of other sea creatures (seabirds and cetaceans for example) are all part of the programme. Digital, print and display resources have been produced and FishCare will officially launch in the public arena at the Hutchwilco NZ Boat Show.
Come down to the LegaSea stand and learn how you can personally contribute to rebuilding our fishery.