One Last Cast

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    Posted: 23 Nov 2022 at 4:20pm
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Joined: 29 Jul 2008
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It has been suggested I share my One Last Cast that appears monthly in NZ Fishing News with forum members, so here is the first one, appearing in our December edition. Love to hear your feedback - I have thick skin, but also enjoy a well-reasoned argument and there is certainly plenty up for discussion currently!


Pre-determined outcomes – the demise of democracy

 

I don’t know about you, but I find having my future pre-determined for me without a fair chance to have my say frustrating.

Take, for example, the Hauraki Gulf Fisheries Plan, which has been captured by those with hidden agendas who consider marine reserves and locking people out of our coastal waters as the only answer to fisheries management.

We were given minimal time to ‘consult’ on proposals that lacked detail, produced little research to back them up, and ignored calls from the wider public to halt all destructive techniques such as dredging and bottom trawling. The devil is always in the fine print.

We were asked to submit on a ‘plan’ lacking detail, the current modus operandi of the present Government. Had Labour revealed its plans for the likes of Three Waters and co-governance before the election, it is unlikely they would be in power, let alone capable of governing alone. Absolute power corrupts absolutely.

There was a recent glimmer of hope when Oceans and Fisheries Minister David Parker took a conservative approach to setting the SNA8 Management Area’s Total Allowable Catch. The Minister had bought into the target of returning the SNA8 stocks to 50% of the original biomass, for this region at least. Through the likes of the NZ Sport Fishing Council’s public advocacy arm LegaSea, recreational fishers campaigned vigorously for the minimum increase in the commercial catch. It must be frustrating for the fishing industry not to make the most of this recovering stock short term, but paying the long game in this and other fisheries can only be good for us all.

The powers that be, and industry, would like nothing more than to ringfence the recreational catch, not making allowance for population increases and for any stock improvements the public may have been responsible for via smaller daily bags and reduced effort.

LegaSea submits that it’s impossible to make a well-informed submission on marine protection without understanding what will be put forward in the Hauraki Gulf Fisheries Plan. Think of a map with a whole lot of band-aids plastered all over it – that is what is proposed.

It’s also not possible to revitalise the Gulf without controlling the amount of fish being harvested (both recreationally and commercially) and limiting the damage caused by some bulk fishing methods.

The one thing we should all be able to agree on is the removal of the later. Currently, the plan allows for trawl corridors within the park and the dredging of scallops in two areas.

There is a substantial public appetite for positive change. We saw that when Ngati Hei’s leaders worked with interested parties and other mana whenua to establish Coromandel scallop no-take areas (rahui) to remove destructive methods and give stocks time to recover. It has now been implemented over the entire scallop management area, not just in Ngati Hei’s backyard.

That sort of cooperation indicates genuine co-governance. The government didn’t need to ‘appoint’ representatives – tangata whenua of all creeds saw the benefits and worked together to make it happen.

It is how we should be working to secure the healthy future of the Hauraki Gulf and for communities to achieve 100% seabed protection. It is a blueprint for future localised management where the Department of Conservation is simply the facilitator, not the creator/director of such endeavours.

LegaSea insists marine protection initiatives will only be effective if applied in conjunction with fisheries management. And it would be best if you had sound, independent science to enable that to happen – and open and honest governance.

The current plan allows for 12 high-protection areas, taking in the likes of the Mokohinaus in the north and the Aldermans in the south and encompasses in between many of the current grounds favoured by recreational anglers. There are five seafloor protection areas where activities such as mining, trawling and dredging are not allowed – remember, we have the cable zone running through the gulf where these activities are already banned – and two protected areas that are extensions of existing reserves such as Cathedral Cove and Leigh.

We should be taking Ngati Hei’s lead, where the rahui or ban applies across the population with no exemptions.

Closing people out of fisheries, whether commercial or recreational, has its flow-on effects around displacement of effort.

I live just outside the Hauraki Marine Park’s northern boundaries and envisage a considerable increase in activity in my backyard as people seek alternative grounds.

During my travels, I have encountered some effective fisheries/ biodiversity management strategies. One that stands out was in New Caledonia where there were rolling reserves, the boundaries of which shifted every five years. Think of a farmer break-fencing his pasture resources. These reserves were well-resourced and heavily policed by Government agencies – we were checked daily via a helicopter patrol and twice boarded by on-water officers in our five days of fishing. Talking with the locals, it was a system that was working and respected by all.

 

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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote Pcj Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 Nov 2022 at 5:09pm
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Joined: 27 Nov 2019
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My god,what part of the "Seachange spatial" did you not get when released back in 2018?? It was all there but we all chose to sit on ones hands and now act surprised.

Remember who from "Legasea" served on the board and yes it was raised by a few who were concerned back then. And told all was ok . Come in "Grunta" and refresh my memory.

The big issue is customary rights being allowed to be observed in a protect area.
Amateur's built the ark. Professional built the Titanic
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