Fishers face new laws

By Isaac Davison

Nick Smith
Nick Smith

Recreational fishers may be required to report their catch in some of New Zealand's most popular fishing spots.

The measure was being considered as part of the Government's proposed recreational fishing parks in the Hauraki Gulf and the Marlborough Sounds, according to a memo released to the Labour Party under the Official Information Act.

The two fishing parks were announced ahead of the 2014 election and would ban commercial fishing of some species.

In a consultation paper published in January, the Ministry of Fisheries proposed "monitoring the recreational fishing experience" within the parks.

An internal memo said this could include requiring fishers to report their catch.

The memo said Environment Minister Nick Smith had personally requested that "potential reporting of recreational catch" was included in the discussion document.

Nick Smith
Nick Smith

Labour's fisheries spokesman Rino Tirikatene accused the Government of not being honest about the fishing parks, and said the proposal for catch reporting had been "buried under tricky language".

Commercial fisheries are already required to report their catch weights to the ministry, and must install technology which measures their catch.

After the release of the consultation paper, the commercial sector called for changes to the monitoring of recreational fishers' catch. Seafood New Zealand said "it is time to address accurate reporting on the size of the recreational catch", including charter operators who were "largely unsupervised".

The proposed fishing parks will ban commercial fishing boats from catching species which are popular with recreational fishers, including snapper, kahawai and john dory, within the inner Hauraki Gulf and parts of the Sounds, while allowing other species.

Dr Smith's office has been approached for comment.

- NZME.

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