6 Jan 2011

Fishery agency wants extra powers

4:50 pm on 6 January 2011

Fish and Game wants additional powers to protect public access to New Zealand's freshwater fisheries.

The agency says exclusive capture rights are being sold to commercial fishing guides by land owners who are able to block public access to rivers through the Trespass Act.

Chief executive Bryce Johnson says the Government should authorise Fish and Game to issue concessions to any party benefiting from exclusive capture deals that guarantee public access to the fisheries.

He says Fish and Game is not opposed to individual fishing guides securing such rights, as long as the general public is not excluded.

Mr Johnson says even the Army has exclusive capture deals with fishing guides who the public must pay to access rivers on State-owned land.

Concern at exclusive access

A former head of the Federation of Freshwater Anglers says there is a growing problem with farmers selling trout fishermen exclusive access to rivers on their properties.

Ian Rodger, a former president, says farmers are doing deals with fishing guides to exclude all but their clients.

He told Summer Report on Thursday that anglers are finding it increasingly difficult to get to trout fisheries - particularly on the Rangitikei and Mohaka rivers in the lower North Island.

Mr Rodger said the while farmers can control access, the rivers and the fish in them are in the public domain and are not available for private sale.