Rescue Fish. A pathway to abundance

June 1, 2020

Kiwis care about fish depletion and habitat destruction. Concerns about these problems have been a driving force behind the development of the Rescue Fish policy. LegaSea and the New Zealand Sport Fishing Council have released the policy to generate public discussion and consensus on the need for reform of fisheries management in New Zealand.

The Rescue Fish policy encapsulates what we stand for – a solution that restores fish abundance and a healthy marine environment.

It has taken years of research and development to get here, now we need you to get on board with Rescue Fish. Sign the petition and together we will show the politicians that New Zealanders want more fish in the sea.

The pathway to abundance

Rescue Fish sets out a new and fairer fisheries management system. One that is not dominated by the corporate quota owners, it’s a system that rewards the skippers and crew who catch the fish.

Firstly, the Government will need to buy back inshore quota and replace it with an affordable licence and a resource rental levy on commercial catch.  This levy will be paid to the Government so all New Zealanders can benefit from the use, and bounty, of our coastal fish stocks.

Rescue Fish means –

  1. Restored abundance and diversity. More fish in the sea is a vital step towards a more resilient inshore marine ecosystem.
  2. Cleaner marine environment. A ban on inshore trawling and dredging. Using more eco-friendly fishing methods will reduce damaging impacts on the seabed and help to protect our precious marine creatures, seabirds and dolphins.
  3. Fish for the people. Fish size and catch rates will improve for people who fish for their family. Food security is enhanced when resident commercial owner-operators are able to supply local demand for fresh seafood.
  4. High value, thriving commercial fishing sector. Commercial fishers will be able to process their catch locally or export to high value markets, creating business opportunities in the regions.
  5. Honouring Treaty of Waitangi commitments. Success depends on honouring the Treaty and Māori taking a lead in the reforms, enabling the opportunity to exercise proper governance of our fisheries so our kids and mokopuna can enjoy abundant marine life.

What does change look like?

To be durable and transparent Rescue Fish is founded on solid principles that will guide reforms and future actions, these are –

  1. All Fisheries laws will comply with the Treaty of Waitangi.
  2. The living marine resources of Aotearoa New Zealand remain the property of the people and cannot become the private property of private companies or individuals or sold abroad.
  3. All fisheries must be biologically, economically, and socially sustainable.
  4. To the greatest extent possible, commercial fishing rights will be granted in line with the principles of a market based system. The legislation will prevent private sales of licences or fishing rights.
  5. Catches will be landed in New Zealand and to the extent possible be processed here for added value.
  6. Only New Zealand owned and registered companies, or private New Zealand citizens, paying taxes in New Zealand and complying with all relevant employment and maritime law will be able to participate in New Zealand’s commercial fisheries.
  7. Within the inshore zone (12 nautical miles or 200 metre depth, whichever is more distant from shore) commercial fishing vessels may only be operated by the owner of the fishing permit.

Pathway to success

Research shows there is widespread support for fisheries reform amongst voters.  Engagement with Māori and commercial fishers is essential as Rescue Fish seeks to ensure that the fishers, not the quota owners, get the best return for their catches.

The environment and people benefit when we have more fish in the sea. Let’s rescue our fish.


Sign the petition here.