20 Aug 2015

Lack of support for recreational fishing areas

4:10 pm on 20 August 2015

The national seafood industry body expects the creation of recreational fishing areas to be contentious, as the Government embarks on a review of fisheries management.

Calling it a day as fishermen bring their boat into the port of Gisborne.

Calling it a day as fishermen bring their boat into the port of Gisborne. Photo: RNZ / Alexander Robertson

Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy said the operational review would not be getting into the detail of such things as bag limits and quotas and would not undermine existing rights. However, it could include changes to management processes or legislation.

Seafood New Zealand chairman George Clement said everyone agreed a review was timely but there was not universal support in the industry for recreational-only fishing areas.

"It's really an allocation of selected space for preferential use by one group. There's a lot of moving parts in there about whether that's desirable, how it's done, under what conditions and what transfer of rights has to occur," Mr Clement said.

"So that's something we have indicated to the Government we are happy to work constructively with them for good solutions."

Mr Clement said what the the seafood industry would be looking for in the review was greater efficiency in fisheries management.

"We're looking for more efficiencies in service provision. We need more science, not less, and we need it to be focused on the questions we're asking," he said.

"We need more secure spatial access to produce food, sustainable protein, both for the wild fish (the natural caught fish) and for aquaculture."

Aquaculture needed security around space, with 1ha of sea space in the right area produce $20 million a year, Mr Clement said.

That was far better than returns on the land, so development should be encouraged, he said.