Why use the Mainland Catch App ?

Fish Mainland Inc’s article in the May issue of The Fishing Paper and Hunting News states our Mainland Catch app has been released on Google Play for Android devices and the Apple App Store for iOS devices.

This means marine recreational fishers throughout the South Island can now self-record data on their catch, effort and catch location.

Some fishers may think okay but what benefit is there in downloading the app and recording data?

The fundamental benefit relates to the power of having data.

As the late Edward Deming said, “without data, you’re just another opinion.”

Without data, recreational fishers can be disregarded in fisheries management processes, especially when they lack representation on issues related to shared fisheries.

It is Fish Mainland’s role to represent recreational fishers’ interests as each fishing sector faces a myriad of issues that can adversely impact fishing opportunities.

A classic example is the previous Government’s last-minute decisions on marine protected areas (MPAs) along the Otago and Catlins Coastlines.

In this case, the commercial and recreational fishing sectors remain concerned about the Department of Conservation’s (DoC) control over the MPA planning process.

The planning process was flawed from the start, as it omitted representation of recreational fishers’ interests. This omission is the consequence of DoC having selected representatives who would be agreeable to MPA goals.

It is worth noting our shared concern about DoC’s control, and MPI’s hands-off attitude in this planning process had already been highlighted by the Office of the Controller and Auditor-General https://www.oag.parliament.nz/2019/marine-environment

At the same time, DoC continued to favour Ngai Tahu through behind-the-scenes deals to gain their support. Their support came through their agreed access to the MPAs, allowing them to take marine life and their management partnership thus providing them with considerable financial benefits.

Nonetheless, our larger concern is DoC’s Ministerial advice grossly understated the impact establishing the MPAs would have on fishing opportunities.

In other words, DoC’s calculated impact was biased, favouring their own MPA goals that covered the most productive fishing grounds and based on unsubstantiated, dismissive assertions such as: ‘some displacement of commercial and recreational fishing activity is unavoidable when marine reserves are implemented – the magnitude of this effect is uncertain, however, as there is limited information about recreational fishing effort.’

In our view, DoC’s focus on MPA goals lacked regard for natural justice and due process obligations. Again, DoC demonstrated it cannot advise Ministers in a fair and impartial manner.

Besides, Ministerial decisions on the MPAs were made without knowledge of discrepancies in some MPA boundaries; such discrepancies are not new in our dealings with DoC.

In summary, we recommend current Ministers cease progressing the establishment of these MPAs for a one-year period so their impact can be reassessed against further data provided by the recreational and commercial fishers most impacted by those decisions.

This reassessment provides an ideal opportunity for recreational fishers to use the Mainland Catch app to do their part in improving local management and substantiating the importance of certain fisheries and fishing grounds in and around the proposed MPAs.

Of course, use of the Mainland Catch app is also intended to improve management of fisheries in other South Island regions, especially those prone to excessive effort, such as the PAU3A fishery in the Kaikoura region.

Instructions for downloading the Mainland Catch app, registering its use and videos on how easy the app is to use are on this link https://www.fishmainland.nz/mainland-catch-app

Should you encounter any problems when registering or downloading the app, please contact [email protected]

Like us on. https://facebook.com/fishmainlandnz and become a member at https://www.fishmainland.nz

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