Scott Macindoe: Are we about to see the end of recreational fishing in New Zealand?

Interviewed by

Tim Lynch

Scott Macindoe: Are we about to see the end of recreational fishing in New Zealand?

Do you go fishing here in New Zealand? Are you going to have further reductions of what fish you can catch? The recreational fisher person is being totally ignored by the Ministry of Primary Industries and leaves the question:

Is the government, along with commercial fishing interests with 94% of the catch, now taking aim at the 6% of the yield that the public harvest?

The lines are being drawn with our elected representatives in Parliament siding with Corporate Fishing to make it even more difficult for NZ families to catch their own fish.

Honest broker Doug Kidd, ex National Party Minister of Fisheries, saw this coming as far back as 1990 and endeavoured to empower the recreational sector by passing the Fisheries Act of 1996.

The scheme of the Fisheries Act of 1996 is that “fish come first”. By improving the biomass and hence the health and abundance of our coastal fisheries first, the Minister will then be able to fully allow for the non-commercial interests of the people of New Zealand to fish for food, as well as providing for commercial fishers to catch fish that is sustainable for our coastal fisheries.

This part of the Act has been under intense pressure to be changed to the total disadvantage of the public of New Zealand.

Organising People who Fish Around New Zealand’s Coastlines into Clubs.

Scott Macindoe tells us of his focus on ensuring the NZ public has an organised and professionally run representative organisation to stand up for the right of all NZers and our common future.

Saying we are blessed to have the NZ Sport Fishing Council on board as they have woken up to the precarious loss of fish species and by extension the commercial sector squeezing out recreational fishing, where there is already an imbalance of 94% commercial to 6% recreational.

For 60 years this Council has served the interests of clubs throughout NZ. Today there are 60 clubs affiliated to the Council, each being an incorporated society in their own right with their own constitution and democratic process. Many have their own premises with some being quite salubrious whilst others are very modest. Scott assures me that they take their responsibilities seriously and are not organisations that take short cuts.

They are very inextricably connected to the communities they serve and have extensive outreach across middle NZ that for example, in Whakatane there are over 4,000 members, Gisborne 4,300 members, Whangamata 6000 members with a waiting list. the clubs are relevant and growing.

These clubs all democratically elect their officers and committee and from these ranks choose a delegate to step forward and represent their clubs and members interests at a regional level. There are 8 regions each of which nominate a board member to sit on the National organisation - called the NZ Sport Fishing Council.

Scott (as the spokesman for www.legasea.co.nz) has been co-opted to the Board of the NZ Sport Fishing Council and stresses their authenticity as an organisation. Their policies and principles are arrived at by way of remit that are thoroughly discussed and debated between delegates at a zone level and then to the AGM (Annual General Meeting) where remits are again voted upon and invariably unanimously, after some pretty vigorous debates and the reason that Scott ‘labours’ this - is that it does not get better than that. Stating that these clubs have built upon 60 years of focused authenticity.

And yet it is not good enough for the NZ Government’s Ministry of Primary Industries. Though the NZ Sport Fishing Council are constantly engaged with all Ministry lead science and fisheries management working groups, consistently attending Ministry led management and science working groups, always willing to engage. They engage with contracted professionals who consistently attend. They are there to gather information, report and circulate these reports where recommendations are made and carefully considered adopted or rejected as the case may be. Generally speaking, there is no one else in the room representing the public interest.

Of all the meetings that they attend, the primary focus is for the commercial operators to find a way to squeeze more additional yield out of the fisheries whilst the NZ Fishing Council are saying - Hang on a moment! - it’s all about abundance - stop! We have to rebuild our inshore fisheries - we have to take less fish. So they are a lone voice.

Ironically or paradoxically, he sees that they may be too good for their own benefit as with the High Court, the Appeal Court and the Supreme Court challenges to fisheries management in Aotearoa NZ. From 2004 through to 2008 they battled over the way Kahawai had been mismanaged nearly collapsing that fishery. This left the NZ Ministry not at all happy with the NZ Sport Fishing Council to the point that the Council might as well not exist as far as the Ministry and Minister are concerned.

So what is conveyed in this interview is that the average New Zealanders is being jammed out of the debate in favour of Government and commercial interests.

However, the NZ Fishing Council are relaxed and now organising and getting better and better at understanding what they are up against. There are alignments being established all over the place.

Building Alliances

They are organising and building alliances with the NZ Angling and Casting Association that caters for the interest of small land based clubs on the beach. The NZ Underwater Association, and the previous differences of the past that have been healed, (beyond healed) - now very trusting and reliable relationship as they now come together. Yachting NZ and of course Legasea that Scott is very much involved in. All are finding their place either affiliating or endorsing this growing organisation, the NZ Sports Fishing Council.

That in building up an organisation to represent ordinary NZers the Partners and Sponsors from the business world are stepping up. ITM (Independent Timber Merchants) has signed up for 2 years, the Hunting & Fishing chain of shops, Yamaha and Honda, Diawa and Wasabi, Black Magic, Club Marine Insurance and many other organisations & Scott then says that he has to be careful as when he’s naming names - as he may forget some and get into trouble. However, there are 60 companies that have come into support the ordinary NZer, and they are paying a goodly sum per annum to support recreational fisher folk to protect and rebuild local coastal fishing. This action is to put up a united front against the moneyed might and power of the commercial sector that is in bed with the Government against its own people.

These businesses are coming on board with not only cash, but also with rich access to extensive databases, rich access to their social media feed and reach. The Hutchwilco NZ Boat Show, DB Dominion Breweries and their low alcohol DB Export Citrus are all on board. What this is saying is that for the first time we have an organised recreational fishing lobby independently funded with zero government money and focussing on best practice and attempting to shift people’s attitudes expectations and behaviours. In particular as required to constrain, as required to conserve, as required to leave fish in the water in order to accelerate the rebuild of NZ 's inshore fisheries

In some ways he sees this as quite daunting as fishing can be a very religious feeling for many people, this is their time out, they do not want to be interfered with.

This interview covers:

Dealing with disposing of fish heads, frames and offal, that are delicacies for other races and cultures that value these - where we in NZ tend to discard them with not to much thought. That there is now a website dedicated to people who want to eat what’s left, can go on to https://www.freefishheads.co.nz. With 16,000 people registered, this is a win win that benefits many.

So this is one of Scotts important outreach projects allied to Legasea.co.nz - here to restore our fishing grounds for the average NZer to be able to 'fish for a feed.’

Being a 58 year old European NZer trying hard to not consume, for Scott, is a challenge especially whilst working with Legacy and half a dozen full time contractors taking these messages and issues, to the people of the real threats to NZer’s and to realise the magnificent gifts around our coast and conserve them before it’s too late.

Legasea: with 52,000 subscribed supporters and growing!

https://www.legasea.co.nz

You are invited to sign up for free and they will send you a newsletter telling you what the current situation is. – ‘less is more’ – Scott also understands how overloaded our in-trays are.

He asks you to simply subscribe - to a free newsletter so that they can inform you and give you insights. You will find their newsletter very interesting and you may even wish to donate as well. You can even like their FB page or tick a box or two in the surveys and polls they run.

Legasea are well liked and a trusted source for a growing number of Maori iwi (tribes). Because they see them as taking care of ika (fish) and Tangaroa’s (God of the Sea) gifts of the ocean.

Sign Up For The LegaSea Newsletter!

We are working together to rebuild our inshore fisheries. Click here to join the team!

Scott reminds us of Martin Luther King in the context of the civil liberties and civil rights stating:

“It’s not the words of our enemies that we will remember – but the silence of our friends.”

The aim is to continue to build up NZ’s falling fishing stocks and make them sustainable for perpetuity.

That to have equitable access to that abundance is the goal to all NZers and not witness additional yield allocated to bulk harvested, low value, export focused commercial fisheries.

It is important to remind ourselves that 94% of all fish caught in NZ are taken by the commercial sector and the other 6 % by average NZers called the recreational sector.

Recreational Sector Harvest

Recreational Fishers take approximately 10,000 tonnes or 10,000, thousand kilograms of fish per annum by 600,000 fishers. Be it in small boat, off the beach or in the water – what they do with it is a very private thing – some people deep freeze it for later, most people take what they need, others gift it to family neighbours and friends over the next few days. For many the ability to share catch is a primary source of self esteem. Maximum mana enhancement to gift a fish as a taonga (treasure) – to knock on the door of a friend and say here, I caught this for you and hand over a fish, or a bag of fillets or half a dozen scallops.

Commercial Sector Harvest

The commercial sector harvest about 350,000 tonnes of fish of which 90% is exported.

Some of the figures and prices that these fish are sold overseas for - make Scott cry.

Including the discarding, dumping and disrespect of fish by the bulk harvesting commercial sector – plus the ‘miss reporting’ that has been brought about by the ‘quota management system’ where catch entitlements are poorly distributed.

There are many problems specially ‘by-catch’ where fish that are caught in nets that the trawler is not wanting to catch - so over the side they go and all the fish are dead or die, because their bodies just are too frail when brought to the surface as well as being crushed in the net.

By-catch in commercial parlance is either valuable or not valuable. Those that are not valuable (do not have rights - go back over the side to float on the surface in their hundreds and often thousands to be videoed and then shown on TV or Facebook.

But, it’s not only commercial - recreational fishers have work to do on this and evidently quite a lot of work in some instances.

Scott states “we all have to lift our game.”

Scott use the word atrocities – a word he states he does not use lightly in relation to the following:

Trevally: he says is a highly valuable fish, Scott says that he is happy to swop it for snapper.

A kilo of trevally in NZ is worth about NZ $12 retail including GST (not filleted). About 200 tones per annum is caught in public recreational sector. While the commercial sector with entitlements can catch about 3000 tonnes – though they can only catch 2000 tonnes per annum so there is no real constraints as it is over allocated – which Scott sees as really sad.

Much of this fish is exported. 800 tonnes per annum to France, Saudi Arabia and the United Kingdom. Sold whole, frozen with no added value, no GST for $2.70 per kilo, last year $2.50 the year before, it was $2.30 - a rich,dense high quality protein source.

We have this incredibly high quality nutrient dense protein source and the greatest concentration of Polynesians grouped together in history, domiciled here in NZ in South Auckland and yet we have 45 dialysis machines working overtime at Middlemore hospital. Why? Because we are dealing with waves of people suffering from Type 2 diabetes through eating a poor diet whilst we take this sacred source that the Polynesian - who is hardwired to this as their metabolism is all about eating fresh fish and we are selling the best fish at $2.70 a kilo to France. This just blows Scott away!

Kahawai: We the selling 1,000 tonnes a year to Africa – Ghana and the Cameroon for $1.75 per kilo - So what is this all about?NZers would gladly pay $5.00 a kilo

The fact that we are selling our rich protein for such a low price shocks Scott (as it does me Tim doing the interview) and it should shock you dear reader – we are being done by commercial interests and none of these benefits are flowing through to NZers as a community.

Snapper: (tāmure ) We are exporting snapper to Australia sized at 25,26,27,28,29 centimetres – that we in NZ have to throw back dead or alive because of being undersized – yet the commercial sector can get away with this with the blessing of the NZ Government for a miserly $10.00 a kilo - we export 2.500 tonnes of this or nearly as much as all NZers combined in our entire public sector harvest – what is this all about? NZ snapper fillets cost retail $30.00 kilo plus.

Presently the NZ Government is angling to have the public sign off to a particular quota and all the rest be taken over by commercial interests. This will not happen on Legasea's watch, Scott assures us. Hence the Government MPI Ministry of Primary Industries refuse to give the public sector representatives the time of day.

And the NZ Government mission card for NZ primary producers is to double the export of primary produce by 2025

Who is the person/s driving this over extraction of the earth’s resources? This is the neo-liberal agenda that continues to steal the future of our children and grandchildren!

No Resource Rental or License

NZ Commercial Operators do not pay for a resource rental license – they can just take and extract from the ‘collective commons’ and there are no governmental regulations to make them pay for this resource.

What Recreational Fishing Adds to the Local Economy

The private recreation sector spends $950 million on bait, boats, rods and fuel etc. Plus charters, accommodation and 8,200 jobs within the industry as well all employees (PAYE) are taxed, there is the GST component of 15% GST plus fuel and road user tax. The recreational fishing industry adds to the local economy and with no fish, this sector would suffer hugely.

This interview also covers:

Doug Kidd the ex National Party Minister of Fisheries and Speaker of the House comes in for high praise, as he saw what was happening to NZ’s fishing stocks and spoke out about it very strongly.

These two links will put you firmly in the picture as to how commercial interests are working to disenfranchise recreational fisher people in NZ.

https://www.legasea.co.nz/articles/recreational-fishing-not-part-of-quota-system

https://www.legasea.co.nz/articles/differing-perspectives-on-allowances

The end of recreational fishing as we know it? It’s up to us to all mobilise and make the effort to join together and meet this challenge.

Scott also gives kudos to the Auckland Council for their visionary Hauraki Gulf Spacial plan along with Waikato District Council and the Thames-Coromandel District Council. Their coming together is going to breathe new life into this superb marine and fish environment.

This interview with Scott Macindoe, like his last one is superb. An articulate wordsmith and communicator he lays out for everyone what is happening and what we need to do.

His previous hard hitting interview November 2015.

http://www.ourplanet.org/greenplanetfm/scott-macindoe-advocate-for-fish-and-ocean-fauna

He finishes with the Maori word Tumanako which signifies hope.

A must listen.

https://www.legasea.co.nz

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Tim Lynch

Tim Lynch

Tim Lynch, is a New Zealander, who is fortunate in that he has whakapapa, or a bloodline that connects him to the Aotearoan Maori. He has been involved as an activist for over 40 years - within the ecological, educational, holistic, metaphysical, spiritual & nuclear free movements. He sees the urgency of the full spectrum challenges that are coming to meet us, and is putting his whole life into being an advocate for todays and tomorrows children. 'To Mobilise Consciousness.'

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