Zones 'preserved' for recreational fishers

HAMISH RUTHERFORD
Last updated 15:26 07/09/2014

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National is to create a new tiered system for marine reserves, with commercial fishing banned from parts of the Marlborough Sounds and Hauraki Gulf.

Conservation spokesman Nick Smith and primary industries spokesman Nathan Guy announced two new recreational fishing parks for the areas at an event at the Ponsonby Cruising Club in Auckland this afternoon.

Prime Minister John Key told an audience in Ponsonby that commercial fishermen with quota in the areas would be given the option to move further out.

Alternatively if they could not catch the fish elsewhere, they may be given compensation as they were having property rights stripped.

A well-placed source in the fishing industry said the $20 million in compensation mooted by the Government would not even cover snapper quota in the Hauraki Gulf.

If the quota was pushed elsewhere, it would add to pressures in the Bay of Plenty or Northland.

Smith said the new recreational areas were a New Zealand first.

"These areas will be reserved predominantly for recreational fishing and will enhance the opportunity for Kiwi families to catch fish in areas like the inner Hauraki Gulf and the Marlborough Sounds," Smith said.

"These proposed in-shore parks are in two of the most popular areas for recreational fishing in the country."

They would be managed for a range of recreational activities by an advisory board of local users, and would exclude most commercial fishing.

Smith said on a typical summer day there were up to 6900 recreational vessels on the water, roughly 21,000 fishers.

"National wants to preserve the inner Hauraki Gulf exclusively for these fishers, so families in Auckland and across the wider region can continue to enjoy one of the country's best-loved pastimes."

National faced a storm among recreational fishers last year when it cut snapper quota, and today's announcement appears to be a blatent attempt to win votes in that sector.

In the Marlborough Sounds, some commercial fishing for paua, scallop and crayfish in the area could continue.

Guy said "fair compensation" would be paid to those who operate in the affected areas.

"Some will be able to catch their fish quota outside these new recreational fishing parks, but others will be adversely affected.

"We will be establishing a legal mechanism based on current legislative principles for compensating quota holders, and the level of compensation will be decided on following discussions with industry."

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