Catch limit to increase waste

The reduction of the catch limit for snapper will result in more dead fish being thrown back as people attempt to maximise their taking, recreational fishers told the Ministry of Primary Industries at a heated meeting in Auckland this evening.

The Ministry's proposals to grow snapper stock in the area encompassing Northland, Auckland and the Bay of Plenty, that include options of reducing the bag limit down to three from nine, were met with hostility at the consultation in Parnell.

If the bag limit was reduced to three snapper, or the minimum size was increased, people would start throwing back dead fish, a number of fishers said.

"What will happen people will put fish down. If you put it up to 36 there is going to be a lot of dead fish floating in the water," said Steve Collins, who is out on the water every fortnight.

Many the nearly 100 person turnout were concerned that a reduced limit would mean recreational fishers would start to use devious tactics.

"That is what I fear. They don't do it now because they don't need to," said Mark Franklin, of Counties Sport Fishing.

The ministry has put forward three options for growth of the Snapper stock, all require recreational fishers to reduce their average annual take, none reduce the commercial quota.

While all fishers spoken to believed in the need to grow the snapper population many felt recreational fishers had been left out of the process in designing the plan for growth.

"The horse has already bolted. Year after year we have said we need to be involved in the IPP (Initial Position Paper) process," said Franklin.

"There is no good recreational option," he said.

If the limit was reduced to three many recreational fishers wouldn't bother heading out on the water anymore.

"If it goes down to three I'll sell my boat. I can't feed my family on three fish," Collins said.

Fairfax Media