Fish Mainland – working to improve shared fisheries

Larnce Wichman taking up the reins

Fish Mainland’s article in the April issue of The Fishing Paper & Hunting News referred to the recommendations on recreational fisheries management set out in the 2017 report, The Future Catch: Preserving recreational fisheries for the next generation.

This report’s recommendations are based on the observation that New Zealand’s management of marine fisheries is at a crossroads. That is, the Quota Management System needs modernisation to keep up with changes in social expectations around discards and bycatch, and with technological change that allows better monitoring and reporting.

Recreational fisheries management also requires modernisation; without some level of integration into management policies and processes, recreational fisheries will, at best, remain a marginal management priority. Competing fishing sectors will continue demanding that their rights prevail over others, with the resulting fights hurting each sector and shared fisheries.

We are pleased to acknowledge that since 2017, progress has been made on the report’s four primary recommendations:

First, to cope with increasing complexity in management processes, demonstrated, effective (and accepted) representation of recreational fishers’ interests is critical to improving overall decision making.

Fish Mainland was designed to fill the need for representation of recreational fishers’ interests at the Ministerial to local community levels. All fishing sectors and interests would benefit by having representative bodies that can collaboratively address a range of issues and work with diverse groups to resolve shared problems.

Second, a recreational fisheries policy should be designed in the context of shared fisheries. This means acknowledging the importance of recreational fishing and supporting industry while recognising the legislative obligations that uphold the rights associated with customary fishing and quota holdings; by law these rights cannot be rendered ineffective.

Fish Mainland has developed such a policy; its purpose (paraphrased) is to pursue workable solutions that focus on collective shared efforts to enhance fish stocks for the benefit of all fishing sectors fishmainland.nz/southisland-recreational-fisheries- policy

Third, to improve fisheries management, MPI must change its culture by including a greater level of stakeholder participation and engagement. Fish Mainland cannot succeed otherwise. We consider that MPI is increasingly realising the benefits of moving beyond its ‘us versus them’ approach.

Fourth, improved data collection on recreational fishing is the missing link to integration into management policies and processes. With the development of smartphone apps, it is feasible to collect selfreported recreational catch and effort data.

For this purpose, Fish Mainland has developed a self-reporting app, appropriately named Mainland Catch. Our website has links to download Mainland Catch and videos on how easy it is to use: fishmainland.nz/mainland-catch-app

We are pleased to report that Mainland Catch includes the recreational Kaikōura coastline pāua fishery open until 15 June.

We encourage all recreational pāua harvesters to do their part in sustaining this fishery by harvesting within the new limits and recording their catch and effort data on Mainland Catch.

Finally, we are very grateful to Jim Crossland whose vision played an instrumental role in designing Fish Mainland. Jim also led the Board of Directors until he recently stepped down as the Board’s Chair.

After being a Director of the Board for two years, I feel privileged to take up the chair role. It is timely for me to take up this role as I retired from the seafood industry. I would like to share my knowledge of fisheries management, along with my longstanding involvement with Te Korowai and the Kaikoura Marine Guardians, which should be of benefit for Mainland recreational fishers.

Please show your support for Fish Mainland by becoming a member for free and making donations via our website or bank account no 03-0823-0101056-000.

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