$1m fish contest angers group

PRIZED:  Fifty snapper will be tagged in the competition.

PRIZED: Fifty snapper will be tagged in the competition.

Plans for a fishing competition offering a million-dollar prize for catching a specially tagged snapper have drawn fire from a conservation group.

Fifty snapper will be tagged and released into the Hauraki Gulf off Auckland as part of the 10-day  Million Dollar Snapper Challenge fishing contest in April.

Each tagged fish will be worth a prize, with one carrying the $1m bounty.

Organisers say it will be a catch-and-release competition, to ensure sustainability.

"We've worked with Niwa and others in the recreational fishing sector to see how catching and releasing fish can be done most effectively to ensure as little stress to the caught fish as possible, and we see the Snapper Challenge as a great opportunity to inform fishers of these best practices, which they can then apply year round."

The competition will use a smartphone app to measure the fish.

Kontikis, kites, nets, spear guns and long lines are not permitted.

However, marine conservation group LegaSea says it still has concerns over the competition, despite the catch and release policy.

"LegaSea's concern is that catching and releasing large numbers of snapper day after day in pursuit of an extraordinary prize will increase the wastage of fish," it says in a statement.

"Our policy is to reduce waste and encourage people to conserve fish in order to accelerate the rebuild of the snapper fishery."

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 - Stuff

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