Thomson Lawrence doesn't have to leave his home on the Karikari Peninsula to see a huge expanse of Doubtless Bay, and these days he doesn't like what he sees.

There had been up to six longliners working every day for the last 12 days, he said on Thursday.

They weren't there on Thursday — Mr Lawrence suspected they might have got wind of a fiery public meeting at Whatuwhiwhi the evening before — but some scallopers had begun dredging at 6am. And some of the locals had had enough.

They set out aboard a small flotilla of boats on Thursday morning to tell them they weren't welcome. A longliner from Mangonui got the same message on Sunday.


Mr Lawrence said some of the scallop boats and longliners were from Whangarei and further afield. And they were having a noticeable impact on recreational catches.

Sunday's confrontation had begun with the trading of insults, but longline skipper Ron Baker, who has fished out of Mangonui for some 20 years, invited the protesters aboard to talk. He made it clear he was not impressed with some commercial fishers from outside the area, who he said showed little respect to the needs of local people.

Meanwhile, Wednesday's meeting resolved to examine the relevant legislation and work with local iwi, Nga Hapu o Ngati Kahu Takutaimoana claimant and customary permit issuer Pereniki Tauhara undertaking to organise a further meeting to develop a strategy.

As of last week five marae were reportedly supporting the process.

Mr Lawrence said anger had been building for a long time. For years locals had watched in dismay as long-liners and scallopers worked close to the beaches, and the time had comer to put a stop to it.

There was general acceptance that those working the boats were trying to make a living, but others had a right to feed themselves and their families, the current management regime apparently allowing boats to operate anywhere, including just outside the breakers off Tokerau Beach and in Karikari Bay.

Dave Manuel said the scallop boats that worked Karikari Bay from 3am onwards sounded like motor mowers, up to three boats working back and forth from Puwheke out to the islands.

Mr Tauhara said it was not about picking a fight but raising awareness that everyone had a kaitiaki role. Tokerau meant 'One hundred fishing grounds, "and we do not want to lose the kai".