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Recreational fishing under dire threat

Alicia Burrow, Hannah Bartlett,
Publish Date
Wed, 14 Sep 2016, 5:35AM
(Getty Images)

Recreational fishing under dire threat

Alicia Burrow, Hannah Bartlett,
Publish Date
Wed, 14 Sep 2016, 5:35AM

UPDATED 7.33am The Kiwi pastime of dropping a line in the water and pulling out dinner is under dire threat, says a business think tank.

LISTEN ABOVE: Researcher Dr Randall Bess spoke to Mike Hosking

A report from The New Zealand Initiative out today warns New Zealand's recreational fisheries are being mismanaged and successive Governments have failed to rectify the problem.

Author of the report Dr Randall Bess said experts cannot agree on what limits are needed for what species.

He said New Zealand's highly politicised process of allocating fishing to competing markets isn't helping the issue.

Concerns range from bag limits to size limits - sometimes causing more fish to be caught and released, increasing mortality rates.

Dr Bess told Mike Hosking we need to look at different ways of managing our seas, as we don't want to end up losing the Kiwi fishing experience altogether.

"We know that recreational fishing is very important. We have a good handle on terms of how many people put a line in the water each year. It's around 600,000 people. That's more than the number of people who play golf."

He said there's already stringent limits in place in the Marlborough Sounds blue cod and scallop fisheries, and it will move to other parts of the country if nothing is done.

But the Recreational Fishing Council's Ted Howard said while the report has some valuable insights, it's not about making more rules and regulations.

He told Andrew Dickens people need to move towards a more cooperative way of thinking.

"Change our systems away from a money-based system of thinking towards cooperative thinking. We can get outcomes which are much more beneficial for everyone in the long term."

Mr Howard said it's not about rules and regulations, it's about raising awareness about personal responsibility when enjoying the sea and its bounty.

"People have two basic modalities. We can be cooperative or we can be competitive. Anyone can be either and currently our fundamental system pushes people into a competitive modality."

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