Recreation net ban 'unfair'

JARED NICOLL
Last updated 11:30 22/06/2012

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The ban on recreational set net fishing along the east coast of Marlborough is "unfair", says Marlborough Recreational Fishers Association chairman Tony Orman.

He raised the issue at the association's annual meeting last week, and said the ban from Cape Jackson to the Clarence River punished recreational fishermen because there was no parallel ban on commercial fishermen.

Primary Industries Minister David Carter last month withdrew the plan to lift the ban on recreational set net fishing, which was proposed in October last year.

He asked for more information on the rule in February after two Hector's dolphins were killed in nets, believed to be set by amateur fishermen off the Canterbury Coast.

Mr Orman said the Government's refusal to lift the ban and communicate with the association was "frustrating".

"There has been no example of a dolphin getting caught in a recreational fisher's net along Marlborough's east coast, so why is it continuing?

"Our nets can only be 60 metres long. Commercial operators can have 1000 metres across the bays. The rule doesn't seem fair.

"Dolphins don't tend to inhabit rocky areas where recreational nets are usually placed to catch butterfish or moki. They like wide open bays, the type commercial fishers put their nets across."

The association had twice invited Mr Carter to meet them but he had declined, Mr Orman said.

"He has refused to communicate with us over any of the issues and it's become a very frustrating situation.

"He declined because of a busy schedule, but all we want is an hour or two to talk to him about what's happening here."

The association had tried several times to meet former fisheries minister Phil Heatley, but he had also declined, Mr Orman said. Primary Industries deputy director-general Scott Gallacher said there was "no change at this stage" on the recreational set net fishing ban rule.

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- The Marlborough Express

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