| smudge wrote:|
Only one return Millsy? Obviously the fish you are tagging are dying.
Not quite how it works. Maybe you were joking? Unless you mean dying by being caught by gear fisho's who keep undersized kings? (something I've witnessed 3 times this year alone in the big muddy and the one person I did confront was aware but didnt think it was a problem). I also don't expect to get returns from the commercial fisherman taking fish illegally out of here on a regular basis. It shouldn't be a surprise what is really going on in the harbour. MPI can only manage 1 patrol on the Manukau every 3 weeks so I'm told and they wouldn't go anywhere near the "at risk" areas simply because the boat they deploy isn't designed for it. Most enforcement is reactive, not proactive also so the chances of catching anyone "in the act" is very very low. This isn't an anti comm rant either, there are a few who play by the rules. I've actually seen recreational set netting doing more damage than targeted commercial shoot and plonk netting [off topic].
Majority of the kings tagged in this program (around 85%) will be under 75cm. Those are the group of interest because they travel around NZ the furthermost. Older bigger fish tend to stick to areas once they mature. Also the areas inhabited by these smaller fish are the areas at risk. If you don't look after small fish, you'll soon run out of the big ones people like to eat and hang up at gear fishing comps. They are also a group of fish that are potentially of great economic value to NZ [as this program has demonstrated]. With a government that wants to double primary industries exports it is good to have some argument that they are potentially worth more with their heads on swimming around than caught only once and sent offshore.
Of note return rates are normally around 6-7% for the kings under the GMP. Kings also take very well to tagging programs as they are hardy if handled properly. They are also one of the fish species that carry a lot of parasites. More damage is done to kings by poor general gear fishing methods than tagging operations.
Not sure what the return rate will end up being for this program but we have had one fish caught 3 times in another area where it has been run. Estimated value of that fish is currently around $5K and its only 72cm.
Nothing is obvious, it is early days but you need to start somewhere. In very brief terms, if you want to manage something, you need to know more about it. The fisheries around NZ remain largely a mystery which is sort of backwards for a country with so many people taking part in the activity of "fishing". I have seen tagged kings that I have tagged in the Manukau but generally they are near areas where I believe they are at risk which is an unfortunate reality until people attitudes towards their environment come into the 21st century.
I'll be writing something up for LegaSea soon also, so if you follow them (which everyone here should) then you will see it posted. For those interested follow events outside of this forum also, this was just a heads up not meant to be a Q&A [apologies]. There is plenty of info out there and most people genuinely interested in research programs and looking after their fishing future etc have found it. Thanks for all the people who contacted me with generous offers to help, I spotted a few wolves in the sheep paddock among you, cant blame you for trying :-).
Sorry for the late reply, I don't visit the forums much.