Principle 5

Value recreational fishing

Support favourable government policies that ensure fish stocks are rebuilt to support high quality fisheries.

The Situation

In a world where many political decisions are based on financial outcomes it is only fair and reasonable to ascertain the true value of recreational fishing so that decisions can be balanced accordingly.

Allocation decisions by the Minister and management by the Ministry for Primary Industries have traditionally focused on maximising outputs, exports and profits for commercial fishing interests.

While it has been easy to quantify commercial export dollars it has never been a simple exercise to put a dollar value on recreational fishing. Times have changed.

A recent study by the New Zealand Marine Research Foundation shows that recreational fishers spend almost 1 billion dollars per annum on fishing. This spending  generates at least $1.7B in economic activity and supports 8100 fulltime equivalent jobs.

Recreational fishing and increased tourism could contribute so much more to the economy if given the right conditions including favourable government policies that ensure fish stocks are rebuilt to support high quality fisheries.

It will take a gutsy government to achieve a bigger economy on the back of healthy fisheries, and the potential rewards are eye watering. Or we can continue to whip the commercial inshore horse until it froths at the mouth, but it will not go any faster.

Recreational Fishing in New Zealand. A Billion Dollar Industry

What this means for you

Let’s be clear, there is more to recreational fishing than just dollars and cents. It’s an important part of our heritage and culture and it enriches our lives when we can freely provide kaimoana for our loved ones.

And just because all these values associated with recreational fishing are hard to quantify it doesn’t diminish our contribution to the national economy. In fact, recreational fishing contributes to the wellbeing of all New Zealanders because it is such a good money spinner.

All those “road” taxes paid on petrol that we use in our boats, the GST on fishing equipment we buy, boats we build and tourists we entertain, must add up to something.

A lot of something – an estimated 1.7 billion dollars, so why is New Zealand still allowing the export of thousands of tonnes of trawl caught fish for $2 and $3 per kilo?

Commercial fishers are increasingly operating in a government sanctioned oligopoly (a market dominated by a small number of companies).

It is now time to break the shackles and stop pandering to corporate profit driven needs and instead deliver abundant fisheries.

LegaSea's Solution

LegaSea needs you to stand up for more abundant fisheries.

Abundant fisheries will mean better environmental outcomes, more fish in the water, better fishing for us and our children and a thriving New Zealand economy based on the conservation and utilisation of just 6% of the fisheries resource. Considering that over 90% of commercial catch is exported, having abundant fisheries is a no brainer.