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HOOKED ISSUE 21 2019

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nzsportfishing.co.nz


New Zealand Sport Fishing Council is one of the longest serving incorporated organisations representing recreational anglers. The NZSFC was formed around the IGFA fishing rules and ethics so that a consistent standard could be set when comparing catches. The NZSFC offers additional records classes for New Zealand records beyond what IGFA offer for juniors and small-fry anglers. We have refined some of the IGFA rules to make them more suitable for our contests. Our New Zealand based IGFA representatives keep a close liaison between IGFA and (NZSFC) and have regular input into issues that could affect New Zealand anglers. We have promoted valuable marine research that is internationally respected. This includes the game fish tagging programs for marlin, sharks, tuna and kingfish which now has a history of 17 years of information. The Council created and continues to support the NZ Marine Research Foundation (NZMRF) for the primary purpose of conducting research on fish species benefiting our membership that could not, or will not be financed by government agencies. Information from research carried out by the NZMRF has been very valuable when justifying our position in species management. All they have to do is remind themselves, that the majority of what the NZSFC does is for the benefit of individual members rather than equal benefits for each club. More fish in the sea, better access, water quality, individual legal protection, record recognition, research, advocacy, fishing data collection and dissemination are all individual benefits of belonging to the NZSFC.

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CONTENTS 4 6 7 10 14 16 18 22 24

President's Report EDITOR

From the Office Striped Marlin Stock Assessment

Helen Pastor CONTENT ENQUIRIES Helen Pastor 027 485 3600

BOISC 50 Years Yellowtail tournament LegaSea Update

secretary@nzsportfishing.org.nz ADVERTISING ENQUIRIES Dean Andrew 021 862 579

Fish Care - Desender Rig Southern Bluefish Tuna Run

sales@nzfishingnews.co.nz www.nzsportfishing.co.nz

Tagging News Club Marine

Cover Shot Sean Gilchrest, skipper of Nauti Forty, with one of the better bluefin (98.2kg) caught this season.

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PRESIDENT’S REPORT

SEARCH ON FOR A CEO

WELCOME TO THE AUGUST EDITION OF HOOKED UP! By the time you read this, it will be a month or thereabouts to the Conference in Wellington. It’s an exciting time for us with some big things on the horizon. Get your registrations in to Helen now, if you haven’t already. We already have 26 partners signed up for the partner’s programme – it’s almost tempting to skip the conference and see what the partners get up to! We started advertising for a Chief Executive Officer a few weeks ago. As I’ve said before, we have so much opportunity to provide so much more to both our existing and potential member clubs. We talked about recruiting a Relationship Officer last year and had some money allocated in this year’s budget for six months salary and travel expenses. We realised that the new role would significantly increase the management effort required from the Board and, potentially, dilute our ability to get things done even more than what we have now. It became evident that what we really need is a solid ‘cornerstone’ for our professional structure to build and execute strategy around. The CEO will take the lead on securing additional funding and initiating our youth fishing programme among other projects that will provide value and relevance back to our member clubs. Upgrading the role of Relationship Officer was an easy decision for the Board to make in that context. We have enough funds in reserve to underwrite this role for 2-3 years, however, during that period we expect this person to be able to obtain funding support for the role to pay for itself and deliver on some exciting value add initiatives for our member clubs. We’ve put thoughts of Sport NZ funding on hold for a couple of reasons. Firstly, they haven’t confirmed the details and timing for applications for next year’s funding round, they seem to be running much later than their earlier indicated schedule. Secondly, they announced in June that any organisation seeking more than $50,000 of Sport NZ funding would need to have 40 % of their Board made up of ‘self-identified’ females. Yes, that is the terminology they used. I am a strong believer in the benefits of diversity. However, our challenge is securing more women as club delegates and then having those club delegates promote their chosen person to represent them as their Zone Board representative. I do not accept that forced diversity generates increased diversity of thinking styles, mindsets and perspectives that we really need at the Board table. So, for now, it appears Sport NZ funding may be out of our reach until something changes. 4  www.nzsportfishing.co.nz


Of note is the investment being made by The Nature Conservancy to establish a ‘peak’ recreational fishing representative group in the South Island. It remains to be seen how the group will operate and fund itself, and whether ideas like proportional allocation and licensing will rear their ugly heads again. It is timely to remind ourselves that we are so much more than just a fisheries management representative organisation. We are all about the sport of fishing. Whilst our fisheries management advocacy work is outstanding, the other parts of our game are about the development of fishing as a sport, a healthy outdoors family orientated recreation and an important form of sustenance, thus adding value back to our clubs. By serving those objectives we not only earn the respect of existing members we also attract new members and build our mandate. Maintaining our quality fisheries management representation and advocacy whilst simultaneously building these other parts of our delivery are our priorities going forward. We had our second meeting with the Purse Seine Fleet operators back in June. Pelco now owns the Sanford boats and Talley’s still have the Capt MJ Souza. I have been quite impressed by their willingness to work with us and minimise interaction between their boats and ours. We put a proposal to them last year detailing dates of tournaments in along the northeast coast, which they actually used as a guide to try and avoid having their boats in areas that had tournaments coming up or being run. They want to do it again next year. One thing I have found really interesting was their report that their skipjack catches have been reducing over the last 15 years. They have a similar concern to us that numbers of skipjack, yellowfin tuna and marlin are in decline and that more action needs to be taken to control the Central Pacific fishery. We’re currently working together on a case to be put to the Central Pacific Tuna Commission by our NZ Commissioner. Speaking of tuna, we seem to be having quite a different southern bluefin tuna season this year. In contrast to the last couple of years, we are experiencing a ‘slow burn’ scenario this year. The season started in June, and fish were still being caught late July. This creates an even more interesting conversation with MPI and our commercial friends, given that we are highly likely to have exceeded the 15MT (metric tonne) recreational allowance this year, but almost certainly less than the estimated 24MT we caught in the first year we noticed them off Waihau Bay. There’s still lots of pressure from MPI and the commercial sector for tighter recreational controls, and we have our next meeting with them on August 19. It’s farcical we are having to talk about constraining our catch, between 15 and 25 MT, against an international allowance of 1080MT. The Nationals Database replacement project continues to make steady progress. We have completed the requirement documents and are currently running a procurement process to get quotes from three database providers. We’re still aiming to get the new database up and running for next year’s Nationals, but that now depends on the costs and lead times that come back with the quotes. We had a look at the first cut of the new weighmaster handbook at our last Fishing Committee meeting. Mark Hemingway and the team have done an outstanding job putting all this together. It’s currently being “beautified” and you should receive an electronic copy of the first draft by the time you’re reading this. So that’s it from me. Looking forward to catching up with some of you at the conference in Wellington.

Bob Gutsell PRESIDENT

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FROM THE OFFICE This quarter has been interesting for me with the end of the financial year and all that that entails, along with the opening of the new fishing season with the tuna run in July. Each time I think we are coming up to a quieter time, something comes up to change that. On thinking about what I would put into this report, it seemed to me what was required was simply a big reminder note to you all. Firstly, the AGM – please send in your registration forms as soon as you can. We have a lot of things to discuss and vote on and would like as many clubs as possible represented in Wellington. The partner’s event this time is over two days. First up, on Friday is a trip to Greytown. This is a lovely town full of history, boutique shops, food and wine. It is often referred to as the Arrowtown of the North Island. After a lovely lunch in Greytown, we will be heading to Martinborough for some wine tasting and then back in time for dinner at the Mana Cruising Club. On Saturday, there is a train trip to Wellington CBD where there is a myriad of things to see, the underground markets, cable car, Cuba Street, Te Papa museum, independent breweries and wine bars, David Jones and lots of other shops. After this great day out its back to Mana Cruising Club for pre-dinner drinks and our prizegiving dinner. I’m sure it will be a fun-filled weekend and a good time to catch up with everyone. Each year delegates completing two, five, 10 and more years of service are recognised. Clubs are asked to let me know their delegates’ years of service so we can ensure they are recognised accordingly. I have been working with our webpage people streamlining the page and trying to iron out all the kinks. As it is now the time for prizegivings, could you please all remember to send me your updated information with regard to your clubs and committees. I will try to get these onto the page as soon as possible and also ready for the yearbook. So, you procrastinators out there, – start now! Invoices for affiliation fees will not be sent out until after the Annual General Meeting. Also, this year for catch totals, we will have a new column for caught and released fish. We have decided to do this so we can get a better idea of how many fish are actually caught, including released fish. As it is the start of a new fishing calendar year, I’m sending out a reminder to all clubs to send in their remaining cards for tagged and released fish. Please let everyone know as we would like as much information as possible. Finally, I would like to say a big welcome to the new club administrators that have joined during this year and a goodbye to ones leaving. We often forget about their tireless work in the background, but I have a lot to do with the office administrators and have found that we all work well together and you are very helpful. It is daunting when you start – I can vouch for that – so I would just say “to ask is the easiest way”. Welcome to Linda and Mark at Whakatane Sportfishing Club and Leoni from Bowentown Boating and Sportfishing Club. If there are any new club admin people, please make yourself known to me. I am happy to help if I can.

Helen Pastor 6  www.nzsportfishing.co.nz


billfish management

STRIPED MARLIN STOCK ASSESSMENT 2019 - A SUMMARY The information collected from New Zealand recreational and commercial fisheries was compiled and sent to the Secretariat of the Pacific Community. They employ a team of scientists who work on a range of tuna, billfish and shark species and report to the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission. On July 26 the latest striped marlin stock assessment for the South West Pacific Ocean (SWPO) was published. This will be reviewed by the Scientific Committee in August.

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BILLFISH MANAGEMENT

The assessment report states that there have been large changes striped marlin fisheries over time (Figure 3). Also, striped marlin show different behavioural and reproductive patterns to the tropical tunas. Typically solitary individuals, striped marlin spawn on an annual cycle in spatially confined aggregations. These aggregations are believed to occur across a wide band around 20 degrees South during the fourth quarter of the year. This aggregating behaviour during the spawning season brings together widely dispersed individuals and increases their catchability to the gear, which can impact on the stock. Unintentional or directed targeting of the spawning aggregation during this time period could result in large catches and an associated decline in spawning biomass. Recent genetic research suggests that SW Pacific Ocean striped marlin form a genetically distinct stock. As a result, future studies to resolve the biological uncertainties underlying the stock assessment should focus on sampling individuals in the South West Pacific Ocean. The Australian CSIRO has successfully read striped marlin age by counting growth rings in otoliths (balance bones). This is typically the most reliable method of aging fish but has proven challenging for marlin. The maximum age for striped marlin in the SWPO was 8 years based on growth rings in dorsal spines. It seems likely that the real maximum age from reading otoliths will be 11 or 12 years old. This will help determine Natural Mortality, one of a number of important uncertainties in the stock assessment. The report notes that one of the most influential data components in the stock assessment is the continuous record of landed catch-at-weight data from the New Zealand sport fishing clubs. These data show a decline in average weight from the beginning of the assessment period (1952) which the model attributed to fishing mortality. It is possible that since 1988, further decline in median weight has been masked by the New Zealand Sport Fishing Council’s voluntary 90 kg minimum weight policy. However, since then there is catch rate data from the New Zealand Billfish Logbook programme which show similar trends to the catch rates from large scale longline fisheries in the SW Pacific Ocean. The stock assessment model indicates a clear, persistent decline in spawning biomass and increase in fishing mortality from the beginning of the model period, which is consistent with what was found in the previous assessment. Fishing mortality increased further in the 2000s to a peak at the beginning of the current decade (2010s) which also coincided with the lowest estimates of spawning biomass. Recent years show a slight improvement in stock status relative to the early 2010s (Figure 27). This assessment concludes that the SW Pacific Ocean striped marlin stock is likely overfished, at about 20% of unfished spawning stock biomass in 2017. The total weight of mature female striped marlin (spawning stock biomass in 2017) is estimated to be 2,500 tonnes and the total biomass is estimated to be about 7500 tonnes. Total annual catch in 2017 was 1130 tonnes for the SWPO (Figure 4). The stock assessment report and other reports for the 15th Science Committee meeting are here under the Stock Assessment Theme tab

John Holdsworth 8  www.nzsportfishing.co.nz


BILLFISH MANAGEMENT

Figure 3: Average annual catches of striped marlin in the SWPO by 5°x5° cell during the 1950s (top panel) and the 2010s (bottom panel) indicating the large shift in fisheries composition over time. The black lines represent the boundaries of the assessment region (outer lines) for striped marlin in the southwest Pacific Ocean and the four sub-regions used to define the fisheries.

Figure 4: Striped marlin landed catch in the South West Pacific Ocean by year and fishery – Longline from Japan, Taiwan, Australia and New Zealand and other countries and recreational catch from Australia and New Zealand.

Figure 27: The estimated total biomass from the 2019 diagnostic case with the associated model specific statistical uncertainty (95% confidence) as calculated from the Hessian.

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BOISC YELLOWTAIL INTERNATIONAL TOURNAMENT

CELEBRATES

50! by Pete Saul

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Ngakau Cooper landed this 19.8kg tope, a pending junior world record.


BOISC YELLOWTAIL INTERNATIONAL

TIn 1970, the Sydney Game Fish Club issued a challenge to the Bay of Islands Swordfish Club for a winter tournament targeting yellowtail kingfish on light tackle. This incredibly popular event, the BOISC Yellowtail International, celebrated its 50th year in June, 2019. This contest, with Superfreight as its naming rights sponsor, is unlike any other Kiwi fishing tournament in several respects. First, it is restricted to a single species. Secondly, it is fished primarily on 6kg line, although the use of 8kg is permitted (but seldom used because of the points system favouring the lighter line). Thirdly, there are no big money prizes; just perpetual trophies which are very keenly contested. Fourthly, and absolutely vital to the success of this tournament, is the transTasman rivalry that kicked the whole thing off. Every year, anglers from Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland come to challenge the local teams. Many participants have competed for twenty, thirty and even forty years like Melbourne’s Terry Titchener – who has organised the annual Aussie contingent for a very long time.

The Australia GFAA tea m of Brody McKay, Oska Davis, Lauchlan Hic ks and Ben Massurit took out the junior hono urs fishing aboard GPS.

Davey, skipper Nat ce Nightingale - Adam y Poulson - took The team aboard Floren Ton and n aughan Anderso Davey, John Gothard, Sh team honours for the third year in a row. top out the trifecta, winning

Fishing consists of four days, with six days available to allow for bad weather. Unusually, the weather was absolutely perfect with light winds and no swell. As a result, the 37 teams were able to fish the first four days straight and the catches were excellent. The presence of a Gamefishing Association of Australia junior team this year saw a tremendous tussle for honours in the junior section, with the GFAA team on GPS narrowly defeating the Whakatane team on Moet and the Whangarei Deep Sea Anglers team on Harlequin. Such was the success of the junior teams that they also finished ahead of most of the senior teams on points. In the senior division, the Bay of Islands Swordfish Club team on Florence Nightingale restored Kiwi pride by repeating their performances of the previous two years and winning handsomely, from a new team from Whangarei Deep Sea Anglers on Great White.

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BOISC YELLOWTAIL INTERNATIONAL

The prestigious Laurie Peel Trophy – named for a longtime Australian entrant – for the largest yellowtail on 6kg on a livebait, went to Charlotte Rowe for a fish of 25.45kg. This was also the largest fish of the contest. In a move towards increased conservation, a measure and release section was added last year, with teams this year coming to grips with the concept in a big way. Photographs of fish on approved measuring boards were awarded points based on average length/weight data recorded from the catch over the previous ten contests. Measured and released fish count in the catch tally the same as fish that are weighed, and also count for the maximum boat limit of six fish per day. More than two hundred yellowtail were landed, measured and released or tagged during the contest. Due to the number of teams this year, the final prize giving dinner was held in a formal setting at the Duke of Marlborough Hotel on the historic Russell waterfront. Teams for the 2020 contest are limited to 30, and advance entries are advised.

tournament was landed The heaviest fish of the .45kg on 6kg tackle. by Charlotte Rowe at 25

TOURNAMENT RESULTS JUNIORS

OVERALL:

MOST POINTS – NZ ANGLERS Dave Chambers 5203.26, Jag Vazey 4016.29; AUSTRALIAN ANGLERS, Terry Titchener 2946.01, Lachlan Eggins 2769.46; TOP LADY ANGLER Charlotte Rowe, 2812.11, Jo Warren 2103.18; SKIPPER HEAVIEST KINGFISH Malcolm Warrick Chopper; TOP CHARTER SKIPPER Geoff Stone Major Tom II; TOP PRIVATE SKIPPER Adam Davey Florence Nightingale; TEAM CAPTAIN SCORING LEAST POINTS Ralph Mays; HEAVIEST YELLOWTAIL ON TRAILERBOAT UNDER 8M Stephen Smith 17.45kg Big Hunt; HEAVIEST YELLOWTAIL ON 6KG Charlotte Rowe 25.45kg.

HEAVIEST OTHER SPECIES Ngakau Cooper 19.8kg tope; MOST TAGGED YELLOWTAIL Max Dallow 5; TEAM TAGGING TROPHY – Luke Dallow, Martin Cleave, Max Dallow 6; MEASURE AND RELEASE TOP TEAM KC – Dave Chambers, John Smith, Anna Smith 4035.5 points; INDIVIDUAL MEASURE AND RELEASE – MOST FISH Dave Chambers 3058.5; MOST POINTS Manu Hargreaves 700.5 (106cm).

TOP TEAM Florence Nightingale – John Gothard, Nat Davey, Shaughan Anderson, Tony Poulsen 11646.77; Great White – Scott Fryer, James Laurie, Zac Rainbird, Dylan Mason 8141.09; TOP SKIPPER Nat Davey.

MOST PROMISING ANGLER Bruce Sigley; HARDEST TRYER Joe Lang; TOP JUNIOR ANGLERS – BOYS Cameron Fleming 3941.9 points, Ben Massurit 3811.34; GIRLS Jessie Lawrie 1492.41, Lia Kammerer 972.69; MOST TAGGED AND RELEASED FISH Ben Massurit 2; HEAVIEST YELLOWTAIL Jackson Brittain 20.05kg; MOST MERITORIOUS CATCH Jackson Britttain; TOP TEAMS, AUSTRALIA GFAA – Brody McKay, Oska Davis, Laughlin Hicks, Ben Massurit 7923.12 points aboard GPS; WHAKATANE SFC – Lukus Van Der Werff, Reid Griffin, Hayden McLeary, Cameron Fleming 7308.05 points aboard Moet; TOP SKIPPER Hayden Wright, GPS.

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At aged 90, Stuart Smith is as competitive as ever!

Melbourne’s Terry Titchen er (left) has been fishing the tournament for fou r decades and has been instrumental in organisin g the Aussie contingent.

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LEGASEA UPDATE If you are one of the lucky people to have caught a decent-sized tarakihi on the east coast of New Zealand, well done. Good catches are becoming few and far between and that can be put down to the poor state of east coast tarakihi stocks. Last year the Minister cut the overall allowances for recreational fishing and reduced commercial catch by 20% as the first step in the rebuild plan. Tarakihi stocks between Otago and Northland are in a bad way. The Minister of Fisheries Stuart Nash is currently reviewing commercial catch levels. The last two stock assessments show the stock is declining, edging closer to a collapse than any rebuild. We recently submitted that the Minister must reduce the Total Allowable Commercial Catch by 40% to enable stocks to rebuild to healthy levels. Last year more than 9000 of us supported the Minister in making a bold decision, to cut commercial catches by 65% to enable the stock to rebuild in 10 years. He only applied a 20% cut and gave the tarakihi on the east coast of New Zealand, well done. Good catches are becoming few and far fishing industry a year to develop their own rebuild plan to achieve the management target. We’ve seen the industry’s plan. It proposes lowering the management target and more research to understand the tarakihi stock and avoid catching juvenile fish. We have to face up to reality. Tarakihi levels are at less than half that required by the official Harvest Strategy Standard and must be rebuilt. To restore tarakihi to healthy levels within 10 years serious catch reductions need to be made now. Only the Minister can apply the necessary cuts and he has our support. Cutting commercial catches from October will have an impact on the inshore fleet, and we sympathise with anyone who may lose their livelihood. It is unfortunate that the Quota Management System has evolved to a stage where the guys and girls who get their hands wet, those who work hard to make a living, bear the brunt of personal and financial risk associated with catching fish while the profits are largely captured by the quota owners. Last year the Minister clearly signalled more cuts were coming in 2019 so it would have been a logical next step to modify company catch plans to reduce the reliance on tarakihi and target other species. Not so. The QMS incentivises quota owners to maximise profits by amassing quota and shifting to least-cost fishing operations. Over time this has deprived the inshore fleet of the flexibility to adjust their catches while maintaining their livelihoods, their vessels, and their dignity. It has also stifled innovation in fishing methods. Currently, change is driven by a few dedicated innovators in the inshore fleet who receive very little help. Innovation is long overdue and it would be a step backwards if the Minister accepts the industry’s plan.

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LEGASEA UPDATE

BACKING THE MINISTER TO CUT TARAKIHI CATCHES Fishing methods that land fish of the highest quality need to be developed and used. We have to stop trawling the life out of the inshore zone. Instead, we read an industry plan mostly based on trawling for longer using larger mesh to catch the same tonnage of landed catch and with a rebuild timeframe somewhere beyond 27 years. Really?

Figure 1: The trawl footprint for tarakihi targeting in the trawl fishery 2007–08 to 2011–12. [Source: MPI]

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Over the winter months, fishers often head into the deeper water in search of fish that have slowly retreated towards the continental shelf as the temperatures change from warm to cold. Some species of fish suffer from barotrauma when retrieved from depths greater than 20 metres. Barotrauma is where a fish can’t adapt to the change in water pressure quickly enough and the gas in their swim bladder expands as they are brought to the surface. Some species like kahawai and kingfish are more adaptable, but snapper is a species that are likely to suffer worse effects of barotrauma. This condition has been studied and several attempts have been made to develop strategies to help fish survive. One commercial product developed in the USA is called the ‘SeaQualizer’ and is a pair of clamps that are tied to your line and is then fixed to the fish’s lower jaw ($60 USD). The fish is lowered on your line and when the fish hits the approximate depth that has been pre-set on the device, the clamp releases and the fish swims away. Another style of descender rig developed by our expert marine scientist John Holdsworth has a similar style of operation at an affordable price. A pair of Fish Grips are used in conjunction with a heavy fishing set up.

The best way to help fish with barotrauma is to return them to their original depth as soon as possible.

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Fish Grips are a pair of plastic vice grips that are attached to the top or lower lip. A hole can be drilled in the grip’s top handle so that the mainline line can be attached to it. Another short (40cm) section of mono is attached to the lower handle and then tied to a heavy weight (usually about 16-20oz). When returning a fish back to the depth it came from, the grips are fastened to the fish’s jaw and both are carefully placed in the water. Gently ease the line out so the weight can carry the fish down to the depths. Once on the bottom, a sharp jerk on the line will release the grip so the fish can swim free. Having a dedicated rod set up beforehand is a good idea as the length of time it takes to return the fish can make a big difference to its survival. As we realise how finite and delicate our ocean resources are, we need to be continually assessing better ways to fish. While this process might feel awkward at first, over time you will become wellpractised at releasing fish in good condition. We need to protect and conserve what we have. LegaSea encourages you to have a go at using the descender rig to reduce your impact on the marine environment.

The Kiwi version of a descender rig with Fish Grips attached to a heavy sinker to safely release fish back on the seafloor to counteract the effects of barotrauma.

THE

descender rig HOW IT CAN HELP OUR FISHERY 17  www.nzsportfishing.co.nz


wicked tuna Kiwi style

Thunnus maccoyii, aka southern bluefin tuna (SBFT), graced us with their presence in reasonable numbers this winter. BY FREDRICK CHRISTENSEN

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The writer, Fredrick Christensen, landed this impressive 22kg albacore, a tasty ‘by-catch’ of his bluefin tuna trip.


In recent years, fishing for these amazing pelagics has created huge excitement for New Zealand anglers. Unlike their cousins the yellowfin tuna, SBFT like cooler water temps and in the mid-winter months of June and July, the commercial fleets have for many years set longlines and caught them for international markets. East Cape’s Waihau Bay is the last village on that part of the Bay of Plenty coast with a boat ramp, and a great pub too. Before you go round the Cape from there, it’s not far out to deep water where the tuna come through as they gorge themselves on baitfish on their migration north. It is also the gateway for recreational anglers to access the world-famous Ranfurly Banks - colloquially known as ‘Jurassic Park’. The winter of 2017 was an eye-opener for many anglers, with news of the SBFT spreading like wildfire on social media, helped by some shared intel from commercial fishers. Hundreds of anglers set off for Waihau Bay and plenty of fish were caught. As a result there were crazily long lines of boats at the ramp where up to 200 craft and crews a day sought to get in on the action. Waihau Bay’s infrastructure was tested to the max and beyond. There were issues where the fish were not shown the respect they deserve as people exhausted local ice supplies, with some unwanted fish and frames were dumped in local waterways – not a good look.

re rewarded aboard Nauti Forty we The Whangamata crew er making aft re aco alb S tuna and XO with three nice bluefin . pe action off East Ca a four-hour steam to the

The following 2018 season rolled around and there was plenty of anticipation, but the weather gods and the fish did not play ball, the tuna run ending a very short one for recreational anglers. Still, a few SBFT were landed and people started planning for 2019. In 2019 we had good reports of early sightings and landings from the far East Coast (Gisborne and Napier) got the juices flowing. For those in the know from following the commercial fleet online, we saw what was going on. Then the weather in early June was influenced by some high pressure systems that produced good spells of settled weather and sea conditions ideal for the mainly trailer-boat based fleet – it was all on. The word was out. Accommodation dried up almost immediately as anglers from around the North Island started making plans.

e of Nauti Forty, with on Sean Gilchrest, skipper son. sea this t gh cau g) .2k of the better bluefin (98

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By mid-June the fleet was in the thick of it, with plenty of boats getting out. With a ‘one fish per angler’ daily limit, some even managed to get their allowance. Intel again proved to be the trick to landing these beauties, with the majority hooking up on either an early or late bite time and around the 1200 to 1500m depth lines, which were holding good numbers of fish. The local chat radio was alive with input, shared GPS spots and other essential info while the great run of weather continued.

oard 63kg bluefin capture ab Owen Crowley with his ihau Bay Wa of t ou ing fish , ko the trailerboat Ma

It wasn’t all calm seas and blue skies as the East Cape region can be unpredictable, forcing some boats to take shelter and wait inshore for better conditions. Social media too was in hyper-fish-alert mode with anglers posting hookup videos, some great action and catch and releases, along with some gantry activity at the Waihau Bay Sport Fishing Club’s weigh station. It was also good to see some of the catch being shared among the helpers who assisted with breaking down the tuna. With all those lures being towed around it wasn’t long before a striped marlin was landed and during the course of the ‘Wicked Tuna Season 2019’, at least four stripies were landed. After a summer of feasting, they too were in great shape, the best going over 150kgs. Albacore were also plentiful and many boats were reporting great catches of these ‘chickens of the sea’ that tipped the scales beyond 20kgs. There is plenty of great eating in Ryan Wilson’s 77.4kg bluefin tuna.

a a day, but when limited to one bluefin tun Anglers this year were nty to go round. ple is re Menefy’s was, the Tom as gs .8k 66 are y the

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The SBFT ranged in size from 40kgs right up to 120kg plus. There were some great battles recorded with a number of big fish lost. A recent posting from Nicky Sinden who travelled down there in early July to chase a 15kg line record, talked about a potential record they lost after a six-hour fight. From my home town of Whangamata, our first weigh-ins came via Sean Gilchrest, Jamie Douglas and crew who motored down on the launch Nauti Forty in early June. For them, it was a quick four-hour steam across the Bay of Plenty as opposed to five hours by car. Arriving in the area in the early hours, they set lines and followed their intel with the first fish on the boat a nice albacore, which are known to hang out with SBFT on their migration north. Gear back in the water and not long after the lines went screaming and three SBFT graced the deck after great fun and excitement. Multiple hookups were common. With their daily quota filled, they found a good place to anchor up overnight while preparing for day two, which did not prove as bountiful. By late afternoon they pointed towards home, anchored up out the back of Mayor Island, where they dropped fresh albacore for a swordfish – again no takers. A good crowd turned up to see these mighty fish weighed in on the Whangamata Wharf the following day. All in all, it was a season to be remembered for the great sea conditions; the amazing fish fought, caught and lost; and the camaraderie between boaties who both on and off the water shared a common passion and many beers got shared after a hard days fishing. A big thanks to the Waihau Bay Sports Fishing Club who got things sorted and the locals who greeted us mad fisho’s and helped with our quest for a fish of a lifetime.

Whangamata weighmaster Phil Keogh is kept busy processing Nauti Forty’s bluefin catch.

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GAMEFISH TAGGING GET THOSE CARDS IN! The 2018–19 gamefish fishing year ended on 30 June. Now is a good time to check that you have handed all you tag cards into a club or posted them to the new MPI address, at the bottom of this article. A summary of data from some of the large fishing clubs show that the 2019 striped marlin fishing season started well, but despite warm oceanic water the months of February through to April were poorer than usual. The 2017–18 fishing year was different with a late start but also a late finish (Figure 1). Neither season was particularly good for striped marlin, but the tagging percentage of 58% in 2018–19 from club records was slightly better than from the same period in 2017–18. These figures do not include the many marlin tagged and released on the Wanganella Banks by New Zealand sport fishing boats.

Figure 1: The number of striped marlin landed or tagged and released by several fishing clubs by month from 2017–18 and 2018–19, *data for May 2019 incomplete.

There are still striped marlin around with two fish over 150 kg landed at Waihau Bay in mid-June. Reasonable numbers of blue marlin and shortbill spearfish were also caught early in 2019 and the yellowfin tuna catch was poor again, despite a few large fish being landed.

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Tag recaptures There were two bronze whaler sharks recaptured in 2019. The first was tagged in Tauranga Harbour by Melissa Kellett as part of her Masters project on movement and ecology of these sharks. This fish had been at liberty for almost two years and was recaught back in Tauranga Harbour, close to where it was released. The second shark was tagged in January 2018 off Rocky Point, north of the Bay of Islands and was recaptured 15 months later on the King Bank, estimated by Rick Pollock to be 200kg. There were also a number of long-term kingfish recaptures, mainly from fish tagged and recaught at White Island or the Volkner Rocks. The longest term recapture this year was from a kingfish tagged on the King Bank in May 2012 and recaptured in the same area almost seven years later by the same vessel – Pursuit. Rick Pollock measured it on release and recapture. As with a number of other long-term recaptures from the Three Kings area, growth was slow. In this case from 112 cm to 118 cm, under 1cm per year. Rick Pollock has been a tremendous contributor to the tagging programme and other research projects over the years and we wish him well now he has finished chartering. His enthusiasm and faultless record keeping will be sorely missed. There has been three striped marlin recaptured with tags in 2018-19 and there were no tags cards handed in for any of them. A 75 kg fish was recaptured west of New Caledonia on 18 November 2018 by a longline vessel. The tag (G148230) was covered in growth and most likely was tagged earlier in 2018. The second recapture was a marlin caught off Whangaroa in February during the Nationals from the boat Family Jewels. The tag was removed from the 100 kg fish which was then retagged and released. It took a while to track down that this fish was tagged 34 days earlier north of the Alderman Islands. Then there was the unsolved mystery of a tag found in a striped marlin’s stomach. The skipper of the boat the tag was issued to had not tagged a marlin, or a kingfish, or anything else lately. While not officially a recapture it is one of the strangest tag returns we have had.

Reporting recaptures If you recapture a tagged fish, please provide the same information you would put on a release card. Please measure kingfish by laying them flat on a measuring board and recording the distance from the nose to the vee of the tail. It is highly likely that a tagged kingfish was measured this way on release. Send the information to the new Postal Address for all tag cards and recapture information: Gamefish Tagging Fisheries New Zealand, PO Box 53030, Auckland 2150 We have also been trialling a website that allows fishers to report recaptures and some releases online. Fishers can enter their details and upload a photo of the fish and the tag. The next batch of gamefish tags has the website printed on them as a reporting option.

Go to www.fishtagnz.co.nz and click on ‘Report a tag recapture’

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INSURANCE IS INSURANCE, RIGHT? Generally, the only time you see a real value in your insurance policy is during claim time if you, unfortunately, have an incident or loss. Insurance tends to be a ‘set & forget’ process and more often than not you may not realise what it is you are actually covered for. Like boats and cars etc, insurance can differ in policy offering from insurer to insurer and it is vital that you know what you are buying. Imagine paying for a 300hp v8 outboard and getting a 30hp 2 stroke instead! Club Marine has set out to offer more than just an insurance policy. Aside from covering your vessel, Club Marine has recently launched Member Benefits, offering selected discounts to a number of Marine related suppliers and services around Australasia. This offering is automatically available to all members (You’re not a client or policyholder with Club Marine, you are a member of Club) and they are actively adding to the offering as more organisations join. Club Members automatically receive Club Marine Assist which gives you 24/7 access to help, advice, directions or services while on land or in the water. Want to know where the closest marina is? Lost your electrics and need to know who the closest repairer is to you? Call the 0800 number free of charge and get immediate access to the necessary info. Club Marine Assist also provides vehicle and trailer assistance if you get stuck on the side of the road whilst towing your vessel. Jump starting a flat battery, changing a tyre, providing emergency fuel, or arranging a tow to a place of repair* is all part of this service. There are some unique benefits a Club Marine Insurance policy offers, some of these are:

Wide Geographical Coverage Your vessel is insured up to 250nm off any coast in New Zealand.

Coverage for your Fishing Gear Automatically includes fishing gear, skiing, and diving equipment on your vessel and whilst in use. Up to $500 per item, and up to $5,000 in total**

Lay-up Discounts If you don’t use your boat over the winter months you can elect certain months ‘lay up’ whilst still having cover from events such as fire and theft when it’s sitting in the driveway, or whilst towed to a service centre or repairer. If you change your mind, you just need to let us know prior and pay the applicable premium.

Coverage for Loss of Entry Fees Club Marine will also cover you for loss of entry fees that are not refundable and paid by you and your crew up to $1,000 should a claim under the Policy cause you to withdraw from a fishing tournament or yacht racing event. (Note the cover provided by this benefit will only be paid if the loss or damage sustained by your Boat necessitates your withdrawal prior to the commencement of the event, and no Excess will apply for these lost entry fees)

Automatic tender cover for Launches We’ll automatically extend your launch cover to include your tender, including your choice of optional covers like observers’ and water skiers’ cover.

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CLUB MARINE INSURANCE

CLUB MARINE & NZ SPORT FISHING Club Marine is delighted to partner with NZSFC again for 2019, which continues to offer a rebate for your local sportfishing club when you sign up or renew your cover. You just need to put your local club’s code in the Promo Code field when signing up or renewing your policy online or by phone. This rebate goes directly to your local club to assist in the ongoing development of the club and future fishing events. The rebate offered is 15% of the total premium for new policies and 10% on renewal thereafter. It is an excellent way for your club to earn extra income to provide new or upgraded facilities, events or support to its members. To find your local Club’s code please visit the Club Marine page on the NZSFC website via the link below: http://www.nzsportfishing.co.nz/about/member-benefits-club-marine Club Marine is run by boaties for boaties. We are one of NZ’s only dedicated pleasure craft insurer’s and like you, we live and breathe life out on the water and everything that goes with it. Club Marine has been providing insurance in New Zealand for over 30 years and aims to be NZ’s most trusted marine insurer.

GET PEACE OF MIND AND MORE WITH CLUB MARINE. At Club Marine, we know your boat is your pride and joy and we want to help you protect it. You can enjoy quality cover, as well as other membership benefits, including Club Marine Assist, Club Marine TV, Club Marine Member Rewards and Club Marine magazine.

To find out more about Club Marine please visit www.clubmarine.co.nz or call 0800 11 CLUB (2582) * P  lease visit clubmarine.co.nz/ memberbenefits to view the full range of benefits available and any sub-limits for certain events. ** Proof of purchase or current photo of the items may be required during a claim.

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0800 11 C LU B (2582)

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C LU B M A R I N E.C O.N Z

Assistance services are provided by NZ Roadside Assistance Ltd Company No. 2140119 as agent for AWP Australia Pty Ltd ABN 52 097 227 177 (Incorporated in Australia) trading as Allianz Global Assistance. Club Marine Insurance is underwritten by Allianz Australia Insurance Limited ABN 15 000 122 850 (Incorporated in Australia) trading as Club Marine, Level 11, Tower 1, 205 Queen Street, Auckland 1010. To decide if this product is right for you, please carefully read the Policy Wording, which is available on clubmarine.co.nz. Policy terms, conditions, limits and exclusions apply.

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happy fishing & goodluck with the season

Profile for NZ Fishing Media

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Hooked Up 21