17 Jul 2013

Recreational fishers say snapper changes unfair

9:53 pm on 17 July 2013

Recreational fishing organisations say it's unfair proposed changes to snapper fisheries around Auckland and Bay of Plenty could cut the numbers they can catch, but won't reduce commercial limits.

The Ministry for Primary Industries has suggested three options: reducing the bag limit from nine snapper bigger than 27 centimetres to three, increasing the allowable size to 35 centimetres, or a combination of the two.

Mandy Kupenga, a spokesperson for recreational fishing lobby group LegaSea, said on Wednesday the changes don't require commercial operations to reduce their main catch or their bycatch - the smaller fish they can't sell.

"If they changed their trawl methods and brought them into the 20th century, then they would reduce the number of young fish that they kill and dump."

The Labour Party's fishing spokesperson, David Cunliffe, said the planned changes are ridiculous and should include commercial fishing operations.

Mr Cunliffe said it would result in more dead or damaged fish thrown back; meanwhile commercial fishing vessels are dumping a huge amount of dead bycatch at sea but are asked to bear none of the responsibility.

The Government has its priorities wrong and the public will reject the changes, he said.