Comments Sought on Fiordland Fishing Rules

Fisheries New Zealand is seeking public feedback on a proposal developed by the Fiordland Marine Guardians for changes to recreational fishing rules within the Fiordland Marine Area.

The changes include:

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• A reduction in the combined daily finfish bag limit from 30 per person down to 10.

• Excluding barracouta from that combined bag.

• Closing Hāpuku/bass fishing within Fiordland’s internal waters for five years.

• Developing non-lethal methods of monitoring Hāpuku/bass and blue cod populations.

There are also two options open for discussion around rock lobster fisheries management:

• Proposal One introduces a two-tier bag limit based on an internal waters demarcation line.

• Proposal Two seeks a two-tier bag limit based around the line that extends across the natural seaward headland entrances of each fiord. This second option encourages recreational anglers and divers to fish/gather kaimoana in the more open, but less accessible waters. Accumulation numbers would also be reduced.

Established in 2005, the Fiordland Marine Guardians is an organisation that works with government agencies and provides advice and recommendations on managing the Fiordland (Te Moana o Atawhenua) Marine Area.

They have developed the proposals to support the sustainability of fisheries resources in this unique and treasured part of New Zealand. Their philosophy is one of ‘fishing for a feed, not the freezer’.

Fisheries New Zealand’s Inshore Manager South, Allen Frazer, says the proposal and recommendations could see a change to where recreational fishing occurs within the Fiordland Marine Area, and new daily limits for many species. So, it is important that we get feedback from the wider fishing community.

“The Guardians have expressed their concern about increasing recreational fishing effort in Fiordland and the effect this has on fish stocks. Their proposals set out measures to encourage people to fish in the outer areas of the fiords where the fishery is more productive.”

‘Fishing for a feed, not the freezer’ is something Fisheries New Zealand also encourages.

“A daily catch limit is not a target, and we all want to ensure there are plenty of fish in the water for future generations to enjoy.”

“There is no other place like Fiordland in New Zealand. Along with mountain ranges, lakes, and breath-taking landscapes, it’s marine area is home to a number of fish species that are popular among fishers. We all have a shared responsibility to care for this national taonga.

Proposed changes to the recreational rules will encourage anglers and divers to gather seafood from the more productive, but less accessible open coastline.

At a high level the proposed changes include:

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• Introducing boundary lines that set the areas for differential limits for certain finfish and shellfish to protect fish stocks in the fiord entrances and encourage fishing effort on the productive outer-coast zone.

• Changing the finfish, rock lobster, and shellfish daily limits to encourage people to ‘Fish for a Feed’ by taking only what they need.

• Temporarily closing hāpuku/bass and scallop fisheries in the internal waters of Fiordland to enable stocks to rebuild.

“We encourage anyone with an interest to provide their feedback on the proposals before consultation closes on Friday, September 30”, says Allen Frazer.

Submit feedback on the proposal online at Review of recreational fishing measures – Fiordland Marine Area.

A series of community drop-in sessions were held in Dunedin, Invercargill, Cromwell, Gore and Te Anau on 2 September. The full proposal and information on how to make a submission can be found online at mpi.govt.nz

Following consultation, Fisheries New Zealand will discuss the feedback received with the Fiordland Marine Guardians and provide advice to the Minister for Oceans and Fisheries for his consideration.

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