Consultation begins over Omaui mataitai

A map of the proposed mataitai at Omaui.

CONSULTATION has begun for groups with fishing interests over a proposed fishing reserve in Southland.

Mataitai reserves allowed customary and recreational fishing but often banned commercial fishing.

The proposed Omaui reserve application was submitted by Te Runanga o Awarua.

It would cover the coastline of Omaui, and would meet the existing one around Bluff.

A public meeting was held in late 2019 and attendees were advised the next steps were for Fisheries New Zealand to consult those with fishing interests, assess the application and advise the appropriate minister.

The application would then be approved or otherwise. If it was, a guardian of the area, Tangata Tiaki, would be appointed.

The second consultation for those with fishing interests would include written submissions from those who took fish, aquatic life, or seaweed or owned quota, and whose ability to take it, or whose ownership interest in quota, might be affected by the reserve.

During the first phase of consultation, 13 submissions were received.

Submissions and community members’ views varied, but were fairly balanced for and against.

One was from local fisherman Tom Chell, who was worried about losing his ability to fish.

“I am for protection of fishing areas from commercial fishing operations as I have noticed depletion of fish stocks all over many areas of New Zealand.

“Commercial fishers know that this area is used by recreational fishers and yet they still rape the area.”

He suggested a larger area be made commercial free but be available for all recreational users to fish and gather seafood.

It was explained at the public meeting mataitai could have specific restrictions put in place quickly, if it became necessary.

Harbour Fish South Island Seafood’s submission states there is very little commercial fishing in the proposed area that would adversely impact its fishers’ operations.

It acknowledged there was pressure on particular species such as paua which would benefit from the active management by Ngai Tahu whanau and local community.

Another submission from Peter and Liz Cruickshank objected to it.

“Our family settled in Invercargill 155 years ago and appreciate the opportunity to fish or collect mussels around the Mokomoko and round towards Cable Bay even though we have only done so once in the past 45 years.”

The closing date for submissions was March 8 and could be sent to FMSubmissions@mpi.govt.nzSport mediaNike nike lebron xiii low image resolution Red Black White – Buy Air Jordan 1 Retro (white / black / varsity red), Price: $60.85 – Air Jordan Shoes