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Recreational fishers will be relieved to hear that Stuart Nash appears to have completely rejected the recommendations of a report that would have brought onerous compliance costs on them, National’s Fisheries spokesperson Gerry Brownlee says.

The public policy think tank, the New Zealand Initiative, yesterday released the findings of a five year study into the state of New Zealand's recreational fishing sector.

Among its recommendations are imposing a licensing regime on recreational fishers, introducing a registration system for boats and requiring recreational catch reporting.

“The Minister has gone from a reserved positon on the report last night, to being unequivocal today and rejecting most of its recommendations.

“In answering my questions in the House today, the Minister provided welcome confirmation that recreational fishers will not be required to get a license to catch a fish in the marine environment, they will not have to register their boat, and will not have to report their catch.

“Now that he has clarified the long held positon (as outlined in the report) that recreational fishers “will have priority status where the abundance is insufficient to support both commercial and non-commercial fishing”  the question arises; will he move to compensate commercial fishers for reduced total allowable take in over-fished areas? And, who will pay for the compensation now that he’s rejected all the recommended revenue streams recommended in the report?

“These questions will give the Coalition something to think about. As usual, there are a number of conflicting positions between the Greens, Labour and New Zealand First.

“For example, the Minister recently announced he would put a stop on the roll out of digital monitoring on commercial fishing vessels. He’s obviously under pressure from New Zealand First and their supporters yet one of the recommendations we see here in this report is to improve data collection on these fleets.

“Forgive the pun, but Stuart Nash is literally floundering. Just last night he had no answers for recreational fishers, now he’s got to find some for the commercial sector.” 

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