MPs to assist on fishing issue

Mahau Sound residents have convinced two MPs to talk to the minister responsible for fisheries about their concerns that commercial fishermen are overfishing a bay in the Sound.

Kaikoura MP Colin King and Green list MP Steffan Browning will meet Primary Industries Minister David Carter tomorrow.

Moetapu Bay Community Association chairman Vic Koller said some residents felt that four commercial fishermen were over-working Moetapu Bay.

The fishermen work out of Havelock and the bay is in the Pelorus Sound section of their Challenger area quota.

Residents had noted a decline in the amount of fish in the bay over the past few years and wanted to protect the future of recreational fishing, he said.

The residents would contact the fishermen once they knew what their options were, he said.

They had considered putting together a petition to get a ban set in place for part of the year, but wanted to hear from the MPs about what they could hope to achieve, he said.

Some residents met with Mr Browning on Sunday to discuss their concerns and the consensus was to seek more information on what could be done and come up with a group plan to achieve a solution.

"Hopefully the MPs will come back to us with what our options are, but from there it's up to us to agree on a plan," Mr Koller said.

"The commercial fishermen will be part of that process."

More than 110 residents live along Moetapu Bay Rd, and all were welcome to make submissions to the community association and attend a meeting on September 30, he said.

Mr King said he and Mr Browning would meet with Mr Carter to try to ensure the process the commercial fishermen were using to reach their quota was sustainable for the bay.

The fact that the MPs were members of conflicting parties would have no impact on their ability to work together for the residents, he said.

"It's an issue where there's no politics involved."

The MPs planned to compare ideas after the meeting and put them to the residents.

The Marlborough Express