Boating NZ : FREE TO READ April 2014
90 Boating New Zealand April 2014 A pril 1 is a significant date for recreational anglers in northern New Zealand. That’s when new snapper size and bag limit restrictions come into play in the Snapper 1 (SNA1) fisheries region, the most heavily utilised recreational angling region in the country. SNA1 includes Bay of Plenty, Hauraki Gulf and east Northland, and while other species are caught, snapper is the main target for the region’s recreational anglers. Whatever you may think of the new size and bag limits, they become law on April 1, 2014. That means a new bag limit of seven snapper of more than 30cm in length – fewer fish and larger than the previous limit of nine, 27cm-plus snapper. A larger minimum size means we’ll have to return a greater portion of our snapper catch to the water and, for the new rules to have any hope of fulfilling the Ministry of Primary Industry’s goal of rebuilding the stock to 40% of virgin biomass, those fish need to be returned with a decent chance of survival. However, careless handling and poor fishing practice has the potential to kill thousands of undersize snapper. In some areas where juvenile fish are common, anglers seeking 30cm-plus snapper could potentially kill more small fish through poor handling than they would have a month ago when 27-30cm snapper made up part of their daily bag. We anglers need to take responsibility here. Many recreational anglers don’t seem to give a damn about the welfare of the fish they throw back, and the new limits will mean throwing back more undersized snapper than ever before. That could mean a lot of dead fish. But there are ways to limit the waste. There’s no point in fishing if everything you catch is too small to keep, nor is it environmentally responsible to continue wading through dozens of undersized snapper in the hope of catching one that’s legal. Fishing with appropriate tackle, handling and releasing small fish carefully, and moving away from areas full of juvenile snapper will reduce the number of undersized fish that die as a result of our fishing efforts. TARGET BIGGER SNAPPER There are ways to target larger fish, just as there are ways to handle and release small fish without seriously harming them. With fewer snapper available to you, it makes even more sense to target the bigger ones, releasing the small ones unharmed to help rebuild Using lures is a good way to target larger fish. On April Fools’ Day, new snapper size and bag limit restrictions will come into effect in the Snapper 1 fisheries region – so anglers need to target quality, not quantity. OUT OF THE OCEAN JOHN EICHELSHEIM 90 APRIL RULES DAY REGULAR_Out of ocean_April14.indd 90 18/03/2014 8:46:48 a.m.
FREE TO READ March 2014
FREE TO READ May 2014