LegaSea asked United Future to provide comment on their party’s fisheries policy. United Future provided this statement.
UnitedFuture believes recreational fishing must come before commercial profits because it is the birth right of every New Zealander to head to the beach to catch kahawai or snapper to feed their family. Kiwis’ birth right to catch and eat fish should not be compromised by companies that catch and sell too many of our recreational species of fish to foreign countries. Under our policy minimum fish stocks will be enforced ensuring our children and children’s children can go fishing, just like we have for generations, and catch fish for their dinner.
It is UnitedFuture policy to:
Amend the Fisheries Act to create “Recreational Only Species”, giving recreational fishers priority over commercial fishers for specific species of fish. The Ministry of Primary Industries will establish a biomass bottom line for these species, setting a permanent minimum tonnage of fish. Recreational bag limits will be set within the minimum biomass tonnage of fish ensuring that overfishing by commercial operators won’t affect recreational limits. If commercial operators overfish and cause the biomass to fall below the minimum permanent tonnage they will be required to cease fishing that species until the fish returns above the minimum tonnage. Initially we will include species such as
Kahawai, Snapper, Kingfish, and Blue Cod as “Recreational Only Species” while reserving the right to adjust that list as circumstances require;
Introduce a type of new marine reserve named “recreational reserves”. These reserves will be for recreational fishers and iwi to fish in; commercial fishing in these reserves will be banned. This gives the dual benefit of increasing the available fish for the recreational fisher and providing a greater area of net free zones for the fish to live;
Substantially increase the level of funding available for robust scientific monitoring of the impact that specific catch limits and fishing methods are having on fish populations and the marine environment, in order to ensure sustainability of the resource. This funding will be made available to universities, Crown Research Institutes, and other relevant institutions;
Work with the recreational fishing sector to establish a public consultation process regarding the future of inshore fisheries management. Our intention is to preserve the ability for future generations of New Zealanders to have access to the recreational fishing opportunities that we, and previous generations, have enjoyed.