Locals to the rescue

July 24, 2021

Back in the 90s when the Snapper 8 fishery was in deep trouble, recreational fishers voluntarily contributed efforts that would help bring back more snapper in the water. The first recreational daily bag limit set in 1985 was 30 per person per day, now it’s 10.

In 1995, local west coast recreational fishers wanted to be part of a change that would conserve fish populations for generations to come.

Led by the late Paul Barnes, recreational fishers using longlines volunteered to reduce the number of their hooks from 50 down to 25, to sustain the snapper population.

Paul Barnes fishing at Uretiti Beach, Bream Bay. Image: Paul’s Fishing Systems

Paul was also instrumental in the discussions leading to an increase in the recreational snapper minimum size limit from 25cm to 27cm, and reducing the daily bag limit from 20 to 15 per person in the mid 1990s.

In 2005 it was estimated the increased minimum legal size alone reduced recreational harvest out west by around 15-19%. All up, around 27% of snapper catch was conserved due to these actions.