Thursday, January 25, 2007

Too much kai-moana if you go by reports in yesterdays main daily newspapers. Paua, pipi, and crayfish stocks are being hammered by overfishing - and action is being taken.

The DomPost has reported that lower North Island crayfish stocks have diminished to a level where commercial fishing quota holders are contemplating a 44% reduction in annual harvest.

Further north, the Herald has reported on the "success" of a sting that saw a Maketa man caught with 144 undersized paua in his car. Nearby someone was nabbed with 750 pipi (limit=250).

"Fisheries resources were finite, and the ministry would not tolerate those who took more than their fair share" said a Ministry of Fisheries staffer. But "fair share" is not only influenced by overfishing. Deforestation and excessive fertiliser use increase sediment and polution entering our waterways - where the impact on coastal fisheries (particularly shellfish) can be significant.

Since Forest and Bird released the 2005-06 Best Fish Guide overfishing has been brought to the attention of those like me - your average urbanite who typically buys from the shelf. We have an obligation to avoid buying at risk fish.

For those who make a living from fisheries the concern is grave. It's potentially their livelihoods at stake. And when recreational catchers poach from the commons we all loose out.

Ask your chipper, your fishmonger, or your supermarket what you're buying and where it comes from - and if you're fishing for kicks know the limits and stick to them.

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