Bitter sweet times for fishers

February 15, 2020

When times are tough it’s great to have good friends around and Lily Alexander is one of those. For her 10th birthday, in late 2019, she decided to do something remarkable. Lily decided to forgo birthday presents. Instead of presents she asked all her friends to bring money so she could donate it to LegaSea.

Lily is a passionate fisher. She loves being out on the water, fishing and being with her family. Lily felt it was important to contribute to ensuring our coastal fisheries are healthy for all to enjoy now and in the future.

When we found out about Lily and her selfless generosity the LegaSea team agreed that we couldn’t let a 10 year old forgo her birthday presents. So, with the help of our mates Matt Watson and the team at Shimano and ITM we decided to surprise her with some special gifts.

Like many 10 year olds Lily is talkative. She’s also a big Matt Watson fan. Excitement got the better of her and she was left speechless when Matt turned up at her door bearing gifts from Shimano, ITM and LegaSea.

Once she got over her shock of meeting her hero and receiving a bunch of presents, Lily went a step further and sent a letter of appreciation to Matt including some photos of her fishing with her family.

LegaSea is inspired by Lily’s commitment to protecting the marine environment. Having the backing of heavyweights like ITM and Shimano is also inspiring. Undoubtedly, Matt Watson’s ongoing commitment to healthy seas is heartening. As Matt says,

“Let’s be the first generation to pass on a fishery that’s better than the one we inherited.”


Fishing closures

After years of bearing witness to declining fish stocks and inshore trawling a Maori Trust in the Bay of Plenty has taken the initiative to protect indigenous biodiversity. As a result of a complex legal process the Court of Appeal recently ruled that Regional Councils are obliged to actively protect indigenous biodiversity in the marine environment. This means these Councils can use the Resource Management Act to close areas to fishing within the 12 nautical mile limit. Consequently, the Bay of Plenty Regional Council, Marlborough District Council and Northland Regional Council have changes afoot to meet this outcome.

An appeal to the Environment Court is currently underway seeking to ban fishing in some undefined areas of Northland waters.

The New Zealand Sport Fishing Council has joined these legal proceedings to represent the interests of recreational fishers. The NZSFC opposes controls on low impact fishing methods and supports controls on high impact fishing methods.

Over time every Regional Council will review their coastal plan. That’s when you need to speak up because popular fishing areas could be closed with little public input.

There is no argument that protecting the marine environment is paramount. It’s also important to enable low impact fishing and safe access around rocky reefs and pinnacles inside the 12nm limit.