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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  • cossackstomper

    We don’t keep fish under 34 cm. We never catch our limit of 9 per person. So don’t see why that should alter. Nathan Guy is a mouth piece for the commercial fishing interests. In every move he has made he has hurt the recreational fisher to the benefit of the commercial fisher Blue Cod in Marlbourough, Crayfish down south. It seems odd that he met with commercial fishing interests over 3 months ago ,and yet he has never bothered to meet with the recreational fishermens lobby. Is this because Peter Goodfellow president of the National Party have a 36% share in Sanfords who have a large quota in the snapper 1 area?. Why weren’t any proposals put up at all that showed the commercial catch being lowered. Does this smell fishy you bet it bloody does, and Cunnilife grilled Guy in Parliament yesterday ,and rightly so. National have been caught with the their pants down and will get a deserved butt walloping over this. Don’t piss off the fisherman of NZ ,and take away the one thing we can all enjoy in this over priced, over taxed, under paid country .You want to lose the voters in Auckland and the election keep on this track and you will be gone in 15 months

    • Simo

      Realistically, game over here. They will back down and then apply equal cuts across the both commercial and recreational. Anything else is political suicide. Just me two cents worth, we fish the SNA1 a lot, using baits, catch 40 take home 3 over 270cm. We are fattening the little buggers up for the commercial catch it seems. There is not a lack of fish in SNA1, its just the size…….

  • tarkwin

    Try fishing on the banks in the Kaipara. Good fishing but every fish will be the same size, about 280mm. This happens every time I fish there.

    • cossackstomper

      Would love to buddy however not everyone in NZ can fish there, and what moron guy is doing is trying to stuff a recreational fishery that 2 million people have access to

  • LabTested

    Kevin is complaining about increasing the catch size & how it means he cannot take his kids fishing.One of the best days fishing I had was in a tinny with 3 kids. Bait could barely hit the water before we had a hook up. Under size & release. We bought nothing home that day, but the kids loved it,

  • The other Neil

    Like most things in life the majority of people are reasonable in their approach. But I get pissed when I go to the fish market and see snapper smaller than I can keep and I have struggled to catch a keeper. I know the commercial fishing is an export earner etc. but I think the approach is short sighted. The “value” to NZ of being able to catch a fish to eat out in the Auckland harbour for example is not well communicated. I have lived in a few places around the world and people are amazed that we can do that. The private value to New Zealanders of being able to fish out weighs the commercial interests, irrespective of politics.

  • Paul

    “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! :

    What is this shit if the snapper has produced 1000+ baby snapper, then isn’t their next year , its babies some will be and be breading a few years after that???

    • Bunswalla


  • Harry

    Because the trawlers go through the Coromandel just before Christmas then when ever I go to Pauanui you cath few snapper that are over 30cn so raising the size limit down there will mean no fish for dinner for most holidaying family’s.
    Stoping the commercial fishing during the breeding season will restore the fish stocks. Cutting the recreational limits only will see me changing my party vote

  • Ururoa

    If I read the report correctly, MPI allocates 50 tons to recreational and 450 tons to commercial for incidental mortality (i.e. fish dies without being able to be kept). This could be when a small fish swallows a hook or a fish is damaged by a trawl but not collected. What is wrong is that this allocation is separate from the quota. In effect, this wastage is a “freebie”. Each sector is given this allowance over and above their quota; therefore there is no impetus to change methodology to minimise this wastage.

    This is obscene. Incidental mortality should be a part of the allocated quota for all sectors, so that there is a strong incentive to change methods to reduce the waste. The incidental mortality allowance works out to be <2% of the recreational quota, but 10% of the commercial quota.

    Commercial are the wasters in the fishery; 6% of the total TAC is wasted by them. Thats like every time you fill the car up at the gas station you pour the last 3 liters of petrol down the drain. Get them to change their methods by forcing them to include incidental mortality in their actual quota, not as a free throwaway allowance.

  • Justsayn

    Here is a theory, maybe a bit like the stories of throwing back any snapper under 32cm, but possible…

    They will pull back on the floated changes on the snapper quota, implying they were the work of lefty pinko civil servants appointed by Labour, and all will be well.

    They may not have planned for the consultation proposals to cause such outrage, but now that it has what is the hurry to fix it? At the moment it is providing a useful and ultimately meaningless distraction from other things.

    • TOR

      Here is my theory, MPI will back down and introduce another option whereby commercial will get cut to placate the masses. The law will pass but before the ink is dry the commercial interests will go to the highest court in the land to get the status quo back and win. We will get stiffed as no funds to fight it through the courts and commercial interest will laugh all the way to the bank.
      Last time I fished all we caught was 25cm or less fish, came home with 2 gurnard for a days fishing…..not even enough for a feed

  • IWantToBeLikeMallardOneDay

    I’m a habitual speed reader. All I got from this is that it seems National are considering implementing a manban…

  • Ratchette

    No doubt the recreational fishing community will remember past years when inner Coromandel beaches were literally covered with dead (spawning) Snapper. Commercial fishing boat’s holds were full and yet they kept fishing. Eventually having to cut the nets and release dead Snapper onto the beaches. Commercial fishing also wiped Orange Roughy from their breeding areas. There’s the real problem, commercial greed.