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I don't understand the "nut job" comments, unless they're based on something besides what's written in the linked article. Am I missing something, or do you consider anyone who thinks that commercial fishing can be responsibly increased to be a nut? The arguments he gives in the article are debatable, but could be sound, and don't seem nutty to me. It seems reasonable to expect that legit commercial fishermen can be expected to vigorously report poachers, and that rampant poaching can be more damaging well managed commercial fishing.
Also, I've found squirrel turds to be generally level headed (well, not flying squirrel turds, those things are crazy)
I agree that commercial fishing is not nutty per se but you need to understand that in NZ many of the areas they are talking about have been hammered in the past, don't support much in the way of legal sized animals or have been restricted to act as a seed area!
In the NZ quota system, the last people to talk to the minister before the quota is set, is the commercial industry, with recreational, customary and conservation groups locked out. I would envisage a committee made up of reps from all interested parties with EQUAL access to the minister before quota's are set, or closed areas opened.
"It seems reasonable to expect that legit commercial fishermen can be expected to vigorously report poachers," frequently they don't! There is also a big issue with "trucking" (fishing in a closed area, then moving to an open area and reporting your catch from here) in NZ.
I would like to see balanced consultation!
"There were also opportunities to react more quickly to research into stocks with a view to increasing commercial limits. " sounds like they've already made up their minds what the results of research will be!!!
I am not against commercial fishing, I recognise the necessity, importance etc, but you must also remember that most of our Ministers have no background in the area of their portfolio (s) and don't always get the full story!!!
My 2 cents (BTW my PhD was on the biology of squid, with application to the fishing industry!!!!)
Thanks for the response. I'm sorry to hear that NZ system for making these decisions is inefficient, or even corrupt. That way lies madness. In the US, the big fishing boats (at least in Alaska) are required to take along a government employed observer/biologist to make sure that things are done legally, to monitor by-catch, monitor animal health, etc. The smaller operations fall in line due to expensive government monitoring and huge fines, and the legislators rely on recommendation from well regulated panels of experts, not activists, or industry reps. It generally works to keep the fishing industry chugging along in a sustainable way, which naturally results in maximum long term profits, and also satisfies the more reasonable of the environmentalists. There's no satisfying the zealots on either side, so they are (somehow) kept mostly out of the process, to the benefit of everyone.
It sounds like maybe the industry people have the system rigged in NZ, which would be a shame. I fear that the balance may be tipping in California (where I live) as the integrity of science is slowly undermined by some "scientists" misusing science to promote environmental dogma. I hope that I'm worrying for nothing, but the total amount of coast line closed to sport fishing in California has increased several hundred percent in recent years, with the howels of sportfishermen falling on deaf ears.
We do have observers but they're on very few boats (interestingly these are the ones who always seem to get marine mammal and seabird bycatch )
I don't mean to infer that the system is totally corrupt, but there is certainly room for huge improvements!!!!!
We also have a lot of joint venture fishing (NZ companies assoc with overseas ones usually Japan, Taiwan, Korea and Russia) big bucks involved!!!! Sport fishing is pretty much alive and well in NZ (going for Tuna, Mako, Sailfish etc, this is quite often in the North- warmer temps!!But a bit for Mako etc in the south!)
I think the quota system has some good points but it needs tweaked! e.g squid quota is set as if squid were a finfish and the spawning and recruitment are linked (decoupled in an annual species, although I sure you knew that!!!!)
As a former observer for the US government on fishing boats in Alaska, Oregon, and Washington, I can say that those fisheries, especially the Alaska fisheries, are much better off than the US fisheries off of the Atlantic Coast and it is most likely because of the implementation of the observer program before it was too late. The program is even expanding more to encompass smaller vessels as well. While most of the management of fishes appears to be going well, the management of invertebrates and commercially important squid and octopus is slowly trailing behind. Recently, there have been substantial increases in the data recorded for squid and octopus which is definitely a good thing so I hope that continues.
I should explain that the fishery we I am mostly talking about here can be accessed by anyone with car, a wetsuit or at least a good tolerance for cold water, and a sack. The quota management system in NZ is often held up as one of the best around, but it does rely heavily on the honesty of all the parties involved particularly in terms of reporting.
So if an area along the coast is closed to Paua (abalone) fishing it is easy to spot poachers, i.e there shouldn't be anyone taking sacks full (the recreational limit is ten per person per day). If the area is open to commercail fishing things get much more complicated.
Just saying its complicated, and I don't have a beef with the fishing industry, my work is largely funded by them...