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Congratulations NZ! - Our marlin are not for sale!

A massive thank you to all the passionate people who joined with LegaSea to save our marlin from commercial exploitation. The government has just announced that marlin will not be entering the QMS!

Together we really can make a difference to our fishing future.


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The Ministry for Primary Industries has released a statement advising there will be no changes to the management of our striped marlin. This statement was released on Friday 24th May.

Before the decision was released more than 3200 people had their say about our precious marlin. Have a browse through some of their comments to Nathan Guy, the Minister for Primary Industries.

Thanks everyone for your input, some of the more memorable comments include -

"A live marlin is infinitely more valuable to New Zealand and New Zealanders than a dead one."

"I have been attempting to catch marlin since I was 10 years old and I still haven't caught one yet. I am very concerned that marlin are being considered for commercial quota. We just need to look at what has happened to the Yellowfin tuna stocks which have been savagely depleted over the last 10-15 years to a point where they are now almost non-existant in our waters. Mark my words if marlin become commercial quota, they will all but disappear within 5 years. Once they are gone, it will be too late. We owe it to future generations to protect our precious natural resources, rather than exploit them for short term unsustainable gain."

"I am appalled that the issue is even being considered. I don't normally put my name to this type of thing, but this is a matter about which you should be taking some immediate notice."

"Market forces are normally a reasonable guide for business management decisions. Unfortunately history has repeatedly demonstrated that when applied to ocean resources, these same market forces result in exploitation to the point of extinction. Land based activities are more easily monitored. Ocean activities are largely unseen.
Your decision as Minister, is therefore more important to protect the few remaining species. I urge you to desist from the pressure of the commercial lobby group, and avoid having your name attached to the extinction of marlin, a legacy that would bring shame to you and the National Government."

"Don't sell our country, don't sell our resources."

"New Zealand's striped marlin recreational fishery is already facing enough pressures from outside our EEZ. They don't need the added pressure of commercial fishing within our EEZ.I understand that commercial fisherman argue that they catch them anyway and have to throw them back dead, however I have worked on surface longline boats and catching striped marlin in the normal tuna fishing season is a vey rare occurrence. Allowing striped marlin as a by-catch will only encourage fisherman to fish outside of the season and is not necessary."

"I truly believe that if you actually loved this country and had a love for the outdoors and not money, YOU would not be trying this!"

"I would like to add that Whakatane was once the "Yellowfin Tuna Capital" of New Zealand. Now to even see a Yellowfin or hear of one being caught in our waters is something to talk about. Yes, over fishing in the Pacific has paid a toll on this fishery but the increase in TACC and sale of quota to foreign vessels hasn't helped the matter either. Don't let the same fate that has befallen our once thriving Yellowfin fishery be that of our Marlin Fishery as well. The people who you are paid by to work for are speaking. Don't let their voices fall on deaf ears minister."

"Allowing Commercial to keep and market their"dead" marlin will only mean that more marlin are declared "dead" when coming to the boat."

"I would also question just what the commercial fisheries would do with these fish? Turn them into cat food, sell them as fish fingers, don't waste this great resousce. Help keep this country a leader in conservation not explotation."

"You have no mandate to do this, and we believe there could be a greater long term revenue stream to benefit the country, local charter boats, and recreational fishers. A lot of tax dollars and GST are collected from these people".

"I strongly agree with the [marlin] letter. There is now well documented evidence that commercial fisherman are targeting broadbill swordfish which can be kept as a by catch. These fisherman are very sucessful at accidentaly catching Broadbill and the impact will soon become known. If Marlin can be kept as by catch, they will become targeted and the fishery will be ruined. Don't destroy one of the greatest fisheries in the world and a reason that makes NZ the best country in the world."

"Short term profits are for businesses not countries."

"I have been fishing since I was 3 and I am now 46 and still fishing.I have tagged and released 80% of the Marlin I have caught. Fishing, particularly Gamefishing is my recreational pastime as it is with thousands upon thousands of other New Zealanders. It is in the recreational fishers interest to conserve and enjoy and despite the Pelagic fishery industries protests, their interest is to make a buck at what ever cost. Take tuna for example. if they want to keep Marlin that are so called "bycatch" then look at the method of cature and change it to a more sustainable method. We all know that as soon as they are given the right to keep it then they we take it all under guise of "bycatch".

"Please make sure that marlin stay "NOT FOR SALE"."

"Every season I spend over $3,000 on gamefishing and I just have an 18 foot boat. If you do the sums on every dollar that this very important recreational fishery generates and circulates around the country all the way from New Plymouth around to the Hawkes Bay, you are talking about some serious figures both monetry and employment wise when you take in to account the fuel tax, tackle, Boat building industry and bait industries etc.

"Let it be known that many peolpe who game fish are National voters, as I am. I will immediately change to another party as will others if this goes ahead."

"From what I've seen as soon as something is given a commercial value by our government it becomes only within the budget of the wealthy of the world, some examples - milk, cheese, mutton, steaks, tourist areas. Export quality really means not for local consumption (generally). The commercial gain as far as I can see is mainly for the rich few, for most did not get that way by sharing. So how about looking after the majority that voted for you in the last election. Who knows what will happen in the next?"

"One of the reasons I emigrated to NZ was for more enlightened management of fisheries compared to those of the EU - please do the right thing."

"I suggest you go on a charter and see for yourself. The Bay of Plenty was famous for its yellowfin fishery and now they are extinct. Striped Marlin are the only gamefish left for us recreational anglers and we spend a lot of time and money to pursue our passion, mainly tagging and releasing them. Australia has gone down this road and are regretting it big time as their fishery has been hammered."

"Come on mate use your common sense."

"I cant beleve as a country that likes to pretend we are clean and green, no effort to make that name a reality is being made and this marlin exploitation is even a question. This is of great concern and as a country our government need to look to the future and preserve our stressed ocean stocks."

"Come on Mr Guy please dont even contemplate the move to give our Marlin away."

"My view & hope that plans to introduce striped marlin into the quota management system will create enough of a reaction within recreational fishers that politically this decision will be seen as too damaging for the party in power. As a businessman, employer of 25 staff & a steady National voter I will also use any influence I have to dissuade the party I support from making such a decision."

"Stop selling our country out!!!"

"I am 36 years old and have taken up fishing as a hobby in the last 3 years. This year I was lucky enough to 'hookup' on a striped marlin. It was easily one of the greatest thrills of my life. I still smile when I think about the reel screaming. Don't deny others that joy."

"Hear hear - let's keep NZ waters for New Zealanders!"

"This email is my first to any Minister for any reason over the past 62 years. I will be closely watching how all members of the house speak act and vote on this issue. I am angry that the greatest resourse NZ has "its fisheries" are not protected more."

"Good luck and I hope you make the right call. I hope future generations do not resent you."

"I would like the opportunity to take my kids and grandkids out to catch and release one of these wonderful specimens of the sea, and if we allow the commercial fisheries into these waters they will pillage the fishing stocks in a very short period of time. Let's not sell any more of our wonderful natural assets PLEASE."

"Leave our Marlin alone!!!"

"I personally have been out in the 400 meter mark off the coast of Whangamata and seen the massive miles and miles of longline that stretches down and up the coast. I have seen the dead broadbill and marlin floating at the surface and personally think it is disgusting this type of fishing is allowed."

"I'm not normaly a politically vocal person, but as soon as you start messing with marlin you will seriously piss me off!"

"Simply, marlin are amazing creatures. I would love to take you out for a fish, to hopefully allow you, if you have not already, to experience the brilliance of even seeing one, hopefully hooking , catching and releasing one ;-)"

"Just like the yellowfin, the marlin will be doomed! MPs should pull their heads in and look at the bigger picture!!!"

"I am astounded that this National government has such a minimal understanding of sustainable fisheries, and is simply giving in to the greed of New Zealand's commercial fishers."

"Don't let this great resource get raped and pillaged like the yellowfin tuna in the Pacific. It is your decision, but don't let the money get in front of what really matters."

"A simple message. National and my local National MP will no longer receive my vote should you attempt to commercialise our marlin fisheries. That you can count on."

"Marlin are part of our culture, why should the rest of New Zealand pay the price and feel the wrath of commercial fishing? Why should Marlin suffer?"

"Come on guys, we have something special here in NZ, let's not follow the rest of the world down the road of greed and idiocy and abuse of our resources."

"Recreational anglers spend a lot of money and support a strong tourist /charter industry in pursuit of marlin. Please lets keep it that way!!!"

"Please mate. Be the person who stood up for our environment. So many before you have already bent to the tremendous pressure of the corporates. It's time to be brave. It's time to draw the line. It's time to stand up and say "it's too late for the yellowfin tuna. But we have learnt our lesson. Today, our marlin are not for sale!". You have the power to do this and be remembered for it. Sometimes the right choice isn't the easy choice. We have the pleasure of this majestic fish today. Make sure you give that pleasure to your grandchildren. The rest of this email is automatically generated. Everything above is my voice. The voice of a recreational fisherman. The voice of a father. The voice of a New Zealander."


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Currently all Marlin caught commercially cannot be landed and are therefore returned to the sea dead or alive.

The government want to change this and will argue that they are trying to reduce waste.

Even with consideration for this argument, we know from past experience that if marlin are allowed to be commercially caught and sold it would become an intrinsic part of the commercial catch/benefit, and separating unintended and intended catch is impossible.

Read the 'Marlin not for sale' media statement and background information about marlin being a recreational-only fishery here....

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