Readers emails on National’s snapper problem

Kevin writes:

Hi to you ,my concern with the Snapper issue is not so much with the bag limit a little But the size limit being upped to 360mm

My partner has 3 boys from 13-16 we love fishing together ,but we are confined to the Upper Waihi end of the Tauranga harbour we have NEVER caught a snapper over 300, so any fish we catch if this B/S goes through we won’t be taking home Snapper for tea !!

And the boys will be VERY disappointed at having to throw back a good fish !! and WHY should the Commercial catch size stay at a tiny 250mm!!

Good point regarding commercial sizes, perhaps a sunset clause on smaller nets and raise the sizes for both commercial and recreational to 30cm. Nets have a finite life so set a date. Depreciation means the nets are paid for anyway. 

Stu adds:

Problem with not fishing during spawning is that the dec-Jan period is naturally the best weather when most ordinary folks have their holidays and decent weather etc. Banning snapper fishing then would be an enormous compliance exercise, and a huge financial blow to all the rec fishing tackle industry etc.

However, banning COMMERCIAL fishing, especially trawling, at that time, now that indeed would be easier and effective. Easier to police 15 trawlers than 150,000 rec fishing boats!

I note however that if a fish is dead before spawning, or after spawning, it is equally dead, and unlikely to meet the NEXT spawning season!

He goes further talking about commercial fishers.

The issues are that there is a huge waste factor, fish crushed to uselessness in massive trawls  from trawlers is probably the worst. Also, often trawlers will fill their bag with snapper when they are actually targeting other species. This was hugely true this last year, with trawlers going for gurnard just catching bag after bag of snapper, the return which they got for these snapper was, after all costs (food, fuel etc) and crew wages etc, was a huge $0.90c per kilo! These guys were not WANTING to catch snapper, they just got in the way.

I think if comm snapper catches were reduced, they would be forced to concentrate their efforts on high value fishing methods, that is, long lining for snapper. The trawler caught crushed snapper is the rubbish that winds up in NZ shops. The high end long line caught snapper get exported whole for BIG money.

As snapper stocks increase of course, “by catch” of snapper will become a greater and greater issue. This is one argument that commercials used this time around for an increase in their TACC.

This is how those “oops” accidents happen for some trawlers when people see an ocean of dead snapper floating around…. skippers realise the fish they have caught are valueless, and so just Oops dump them.

That is wastage that needs to be more stringently policed.


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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

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