up ISSUE 23 2019
WORLD VOLUNTEERS DAY 5 December 2019 Thank you to all of the volunteers who keep our clubs running, and our sport thriving! 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 5 6 8 9 10 14 18 20 24
President's Report EDITOR
From the Office AGM Notice
Helen Pastor CONTENT ENQUIRIES Helen Pastor 027 485 3600
CEO Intro Strategic Plan
firstname.lastname@example.org ADVERTISING ENQUIRIES Dean Andrew 021 862 579
Big Marlin Fishing in Hawaii Fisheries Management Report
Catch and Release Competitions Yellowtail Kingfish Best Practice A Look Back in Time
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PRESIDENT’S REPORT WELCOME TO THE FINAL EDITION OF HOOKED UP FOR 2019 As I write this, we’re exactly four weeks out from Christmas day and, for me, it can’t come fast enough. It’s been a huge year on all fronts, and the two weeks of inactivity over Christmas will pass in a heartbeat – and I’m sure most of you can relate. The effort you put into your jobs, families and fishing clubs is extraordinary. It’s often underappreciated but highly valuable for you as people and to your clubs and communities. It was world Volunteer Day on December 5th this year. I hope at the very least you and your volunteer colleagues were able to take some time out to have a quiet beverage together and reflect back on what you’re achieving and what you have achieved in the time you have been working together. It might not seem much, but don’t forget that without volunteers our clubs would be not much more than a membership list. Hopefully, your clubs will have gone the extra mile to remember and acknowledge what it is you hard-working volunteers do to keep the club engine running. Whatever happens, don’t be humble in celebrating what you do – you’re worth it! We’ve had our CEO, Steven Stanford, aboard for exactly a month now. He’ll tell you a bit more about himself and what he’s thinking about in the next few pages. It was extremely pleasing that after two weeks on the job, he presented a Business Plan at our November board meeting for the next nine months outlining what he’ll deliver between now and our conference in September at Paihia in the sunny Bay of Islands (well, of course, it will be sunny with five-knot variables as is always the case when we have an NZSFC non-fishing event). Helen’s been flat out getting the Yearbook ready for printing this year. It is sad to see sponsorship of the Yearbook falling away as an increasing number of sponsors turn away from print media advertising. However, we got there in the end. One of the annual challenges we have is getting clubs to file their affiliation numbers and catch records. It’s not just one or two. Helen often has a fairly significant list of clubs yet to report until almost the middle of November, which is way too late for getting the Yearbook complete on time. Another challenge she often has is getting clubs to declare accurate membership numbers. Unfortunately, there is a small group who try it on every now and again and declare numbers lower than their actual membership. A lot of this has to do with avoiding affiliation fees for “associate” members, who often sign up as “non-fishing members” with reduced membership entitlements and sometimes no voting rights. We’ve heard it argued that because these members are non-fishing members they don’t need NZSFC affiliation. The problem for NZSFC is that our constitution says that if you affiliate with NZSFC you must declare the number of adult and junior members as of June 30th each year. There’s no allowance for non-fishing members, or anything giving the board authority to negotiate affiliation fees. As discussed at the Auckland conference in 2018, for two to two and a half cups of barista coffee per member per year you have a voice through submissions and interactions with MPI and government and have your interests as recreational fishers advocated for. As I said at this year’s AGM, half of our income goes to fisheries advocacy and marine research. If you’re not happy with the obligation prescribed by our constitution, we have a democratic process that you can use to get your peer member clubs to accept an alternative fee structure. But until the constitution changes, the affiliation obligation is simply for ALL adults and juniors. 4 www.nzsportfishing.co.nz
Let’s be clear, these non-fishing members help your club’s income through using your restaurant and drinking from your bar. When you choose not to pay affiliation fees you are defaulting on your membership obligations and taking money away from our ability to create value for you and your club. It’s not fair on your peer clubs to have it both ways and hold back on your commitments. If you think your club is not getting value for money then tell us what you feel needs to change. We have a CEO in place now who is charged with delivering value, so if you tell us what you want, you have a better chance than ever of getting it. As a postscript to the conference, I’m delighted to advise that Minister Nash followed through on his promise he made at the conference to ensure that recreational interests would be represented on the Hauraki Gulf Ministry Advisory Committee. We have been successful in having our own Dirk Sieling appointed to that forum and he attended his first meeting on Friday 22nd of November.
Bob Gutsell PRESIDENT
FROM THE OFFICE Since our last edition, the main focus for me has been the finalisation of our yearbook. The yearbook will be going out to all clubs during December so your members will have copies prior to the summer competition round. You will note there are some changes in the Nationals rules, and I recommend that you advise your anglers about these and make sure they are very clear about them before the start of the Nationals tournament. We have changed the format of our yearbook a little bit, including more information for members about the Council and FishCare, and have made it easier for members to find what they are looking for in the book. If you have any ideas about the yearbook and any changes you feel should be made, I would be only too happy to hear from you. You will see later in this edition an article about kingfish handling for measure and release. This information is very helpful, especially if anglers are planning to measure and release in the Nationals. This article is also going into the yearbook for reference. Many of our clubs are now having competitions with a measure and release section. Our new CEO Steven Stanford has started work and has been very busy. I am sure he has already met quite a few of you and will endeavour to meet the rest of you as he makes his way around the clubs. Tags have now arrived, so I have tags in stock. Any clubs wanting tags please order them early. Please check out how many you have and whether you have enough for all your up and coming tournaments as this saves the mad panic a couple of days out. Our long-awaited Weighmasters booklet is being printed and will be sent to clubs shortly. I also have an electronic version so clubs can print some more if they are needed. The booklet will be updated on an annual basis, so please note the version number so you can be sure you have the latest edition. Please use this as the basis for any weighmaster training and any discussions regarding weighmaster procedures. I have included in the magazine a taster for the AGM in September 2020. Bay of Islands Swordfish Club is hosting the AGM and have a well-organised programme for us - please save the date. As this is our last Hooked Up prior to Christmas I will take the opportunity to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a safe and happy holiday break.
2020 New zealand sport fishinG council agm I would like to take this opportunity to invite you all to attend the 2020 NZ Sport Fishing Council AGM at the Bay of Islands Swordfish Club in Paihia from 18th September to 19th September 2020. As the second oldest game fishing club in the world, we have a proud history which goes back to the beginning of game fishing in New Zealand and features some of the world’s great identities of our sport. The Club was one of the five founding clubs of the New Zealand Big Game Fishing Council in 1957, and was a leader in seeing that Marlin were classified as a non-commercial species. We are also very aware of the many current issues facing our sport and feel that successful conferences are a must to gather support for the Councils initiatives going forward.
Whilst it is planned to hold the conference in our Paihia clubhouse we would also like to include our historic Russell clubhouse in the proceedings so we are planning a night in Russell but this will depend on numbers. We are extremely proud of this historic facility that houses a large amount of game fishing memorabilia and is rated by many international anglers as one of the great game fishing clubhouses of the world. We have also arranged a partner’s program which highlights some of the Bay of Islands best attractions We are looking to make your time with us both memorable and rewarding and we hope that the 2020 AGM will be a great success and lead to an even stronger New Zealand Sport Fishing Council. Tight Lines Jeff Douglas Club President
ACCOMMODATION RECOMMENDATIONS We have confirmed three prime accomodation suppliers for the 2020 AGM. They are all located within easy walking distance of the Paihia Clubhouse and are owned and operated by BOISC Members. There will be a shuttle service available if you don’t wish to walk. When booking, state that you are attending the NZSFC AGM.
Bay Cabinz Motel
Anchorage Motel is situated on the waterfront in Paihia and is owned by keen fishers Denis and Aileen. Anchorage is only a short stroll to the beach, surrounding restaurants and bars.
Bay Cabinz Motel offers self-contained private chalets overlooking Paihia village. Set amongst native surroundings with sea or garden views, it provides free Wi-Fi and free off-street parking with a 4 minute walk to central Paihia.
Breakwater Motel owner operators Ken and Lyn are pleased to offer New Zealand Sport Fishing Council AGM guests - Waterfront and Seaview Suites @ $135 per night for 2 persons.
Denis and Aileen are happy to offer the New Zealand Sport Fishing Council delegates a 10% discount while attending the NZSFC AGM. E: email@example.com P: 0800 505 100 09 402 7447
All Chalets are recently refurbished offering air-conditioning, smart TV’s, ceiling fan and a spacious balcony with outdoor seating. The fully equipped kitchenette includes a refrigerator, microwave and stove. The open-plan chalets are elevated to enhance views and privacy. We are pleased to offer the New Zealand Sport Fishing Council AGM guests a 10% discount. Please phone Ali direct on 09 402 8534 to enquire or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Luxury central waterfront accommodation with spectacular ocean views. Only a 100m flat walk to the town centre and the Swordfish Club. E: email@example.com P: 0800 273 259 09 402 7558
PARTNER ACTIVITIES Two days of activities that showcase the Bay have been organised for partners - bookings are essential as we need to confirm numbers with operators.
Friday 18 September 2020
Saturday 19 September 2020
Wine, Cheese and Chocolate
The Happy Ferry will take you across to historical Russell where you will link up with Russell Mini Tours who will take you back in time telling you stories going back to the earliest settlers whilst visiting places of significant historical interest. There will then be a bit of time to explore the village and it’s shops on your own before heading out to lunch on Darryls Dinner Cruise (pictured).
Cheese tastings at Mahoe followed by wine tastings and lunch at Marsden Estate (lunch at own cost). After lunch a visit to Rainbow falls then on to Cottle Hill vineyard for more wine tastings. To finish the day off, a visit to Makana Confections for chocolate tastings before returning home. Pickup Paihia: 11.30am Drop off Paihia: 4.30pm Tastings: Mahoe Cheese Marsden Estate Cottle Hill Makana Confections Lunch: At own cost at Marsden Estate
Ferry from Paihia Wharf: 10:50am pickup Russell Mini Tour: 11:15am - 12:15pm Darryl’s Dinner Cruise: 1pm from Russell Wharf, drop off back at Paihia Wharf
THINGS TO DO IN THE BAY Whether looking for adventure or looking to relax, there are many activities to make your stay in the Bay perfect. Below are a few highlights
Day trip to historical Russell. Plenty of the nations firsts to see, with lovely stores and an excellent range of restaurants and cafes.
Day trips in the Bay of Islands to show you around this unique corner of the world. * Explore - www.exploregroup.co.nz * Fullers - www.dolphincruises.co.nz * Paihia dive - www.divenz.com
There actvities in the Bay for the more adventurous including: * Parasailing www.bayofislandsparasail.com * Sky Diving www.skydivebayofislands.com
Waitangi Treaty Grounds and Museum An absolute must-do for all visitors to New Zealand and to Northland, Waitangi offers an authentic and interactive cultural experience. www.waitangi.org.nz
Explore the local vineyards and wineries in the Bay of Islands and enjoy a glass or indulge in a tasting of the local varietals. Ake Ake | Cottle Hill | Kainui | Marsden Estate | Omata Estate | Paroa Bay
The Bay has some fantastic places to relax and pamper yourself - get a massage and/or manicure: * Revive Day Spa (Russell) www.revivedaysparussell.co.nz * La Spa (Paihia) www.paihiabeach.co.nz/la_spa_naturale.htm
INTRODUCING OUR NEW CEO
The Council has largely worked behind the scenes for over 60 years representing the NZ fishing community. As we move towards 2020 the place of recreational fishing is under ever more scrutiny from conservationists and the commercial sector. The NZ Sport Fishing Council is actively lobbying to maintain angler access whilst promoting activities which will help restore New Zealand’s fisheries to abundance. Steven Stanford 12/11/19
Our new Chief Executive Officer, Steven Stanford, started working with NZ Sport Fishing Council at the end of October and has hit the ground running. He intends to get around to meeting all of you over the next few months and has been able to visit a few of the clubs and zone meetings already. For those of you who have not yet met him, here is a little bit about him. Steven has worked for 20+ years in the telecommunications and IT sector. His roles have included Sales Management in large corporates through to Managing Director/ CEO roles in emerging companies. The added bonus is that Steven is a keen fisherman and current owner of a recreational charter vessel operating in the Hauraki Gulf. Most weekends he can be found cruising the Hauraki Gulf with friends and family enjoying the superb marine environment on Auckland’s back door. As CEO of NZ Sport Fishing Council, he is focused on driving value to member clubs, increasing fishing participation, developing youth access to fishing and building alternate funding streams for the Council to use in the promotion of NZ recreational fishing. Biggest fish caught: 6’7” Sturgeon in Vancouver. He fought it for 25 minutes and it ran three times after getting to the back of the boat. As a catch and release fish,it was towed to shore, tagged and photographed. The fish has been caught four times over a 50 year period.
GOAL OF THE NZSF CEO
THE GOAL OF THE NZ SPORT FISHING COUNCILS CEO During the CEO interview process, the NZ Sport Fishing Council developed three priority initiatives to be addressed over the next nine months. These initiatives are: 1. Better dialogue with member clubs which includes feedback on the Council’s performance and suggestions for future activities. 2. Identify the challenges and strategies required to improve youth participation. 3. Identify ways to improve the Council’s finances. At the November Board meeting, a business plan was approved with the goal of presenting a strategic plan to NZSFC delegates at the 2020 conference being held in the Bay of Islands. The business plan includes a complete review of the Council’s current operations, analysis of peer organisations, youth engagement, educational programmes, national tournament software requirements, future resourcing requirements and funding. To ensure success, the strategic plan needs to be developed in a highly consultative manner and a programme of engagement with interested parties is a key part of the process. Phase one was the distribution of a questionnaire to member club delegates in mid-November – this is due back by the end of January. As part of this phase, the January 2020 board meeting has been extended a day to include a board workshop that will review and agree on the board’s purpose and objectives. These two activities will form the nucleus and direction of the final document. Briefing papers on each sub-segment will be tabled for board review in April and a draft strategic plan will be tabled in May. The final version will be presented to delegates at the 2020 conference. The NZSFC membership has been supported by an army of enthusiastic and selfless volunteers that work on behalf of New Zealand recreational anglers. It is imperative this process produces tangible value to both council members and the wider fishing community. If any angler is concerned about their right to fish recreationally and ensuring New Zealand’s fishing stocks are abundant for future generations, they should join one of the 53 nationwide fishing clubs in support of the Council’s efforts. 9 www.nzsportfishing.co.nz
CELEBRATING 60 YEARS
OF BIG GAME FISHING IN KONA, HAWAII 10 î€€ www.nzsportfishing.co.nz
BIG MARLIN FISHING IN HAWAII
Darryl Bradly, Murray Hansen, Robbie Matthews and Lynda Matthews (Opening night NZ Anglers with country flag)
This is a fantastic International Bill Fish Tournament held every year in Kona, Hawaii. This year, the Kona International Billfish Tournament took place in late July and they were celebrating their 60th year. Peter Fathian is the founder and he and his volunteers have created a very prestigious tournament. Pauline and Albert Threadingham – known to us in NZ – are both judges and help every year in Kona. They are also in recognised tournaments all around the Pacific. You can see them over here in the outstanding Zane Gray Tournament hosted by the Bay of Islands Swordfish Club (the Organiser of which is the President of the Swordy Club, Jeff Douglas). Countries from all around the world enter teams in the Kona tournament and 2019 had 41, including six from NZ (three from the Bay of Islands: Endeavour, Ngamu, and Anchorage; the Ahipara team, Moet; and one team from Hawkes Bay and Gisborne respectively). The top NZ team, “The Odd Fellows”, came 8th overall, a fantastic achievement with 1200 points. The winning team was from USA-based Lauguna Niguel Billfish Club. Michell Firestein, who has been fishing this tournament with his dad since he was seven years old, won the prestigious tournament with a total of 1600 points. The fishing in Kona is amazing and the fishing grounds are very close to where the anglers stay. The people are so friendly, the weather is exceptional and the species of game fish are plentiful, including blue marlin, swordfish, tuna and mahimahi. On everyone’s wish list is landing a ‘grander’ and this didn’t happen in the HIBT this year, but vessel Marlin Magic landed one on a private charter the week after. That’s fishing. 11 www.nzsportfishing.co.nz
TOP IMAGE Left: Bruce Rogers, Terry Henwood, Miss Billfish, Denis Pollock, and Barry Jordan - Anchorage Team from Bay of Islands. BOTTOM IMAGE One of the NZ teams at the opening night.
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BIG MARLIN FISHING IN HAWAII
Robbie Matthews from Ahipara with a local wahoo
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Fisheries Management Standing Committee GAMEFISH UPDATE The New Zealand Sport Fishing Council, clubs and anglers are important contributors to the New Zealand Gamefish Tagging Programme. Sport fishers have caught and released most of the 5,200 fish tagged and 350 fish recaptured over the last three years. A report updating the results of this programme will be published soon. The 2015-16 fishing year was one of the best on record, however, the numbers of striped marlin, yellowtail kingfish and mako sharks tagged and released over the last three years are below the average of the last 10 years. To be complete, it is important that all clubs send their catch counts, by species, for the 2018-19 fishing year to Helen as soon as possible. These catch records are an important time series of information for landed and tagged fish that need to be completed for all clubs, each year.
CLUBS Please check you have sent your catch counts (by species) for 2018-2019 to Helen
YELLOWTAIL KINGFISH There have been a series of presentations to Working Groups on the trends in commercial catch rate for kingfish as part of an industry-funded project. Trawlers mostly catch kingfish less than 80cm so catch rates will not represent trends in the adult population. Commercial longline catch rates in East Northland have increased a lot over the last four years, but there is some uncertainty about how representative those trends are. After recent research, there seems little doubt there will be pressure on Fisheries New Zealand to increase the Total Allowable Commercial Catches (TACCs) for kingfish in KIN 1 (Northland â€“ Cape Runaway) and the west coast of the North Island (KIN 8) in the 2020 management round. We will monitor progress and input as required.
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FISHERIES MANAGEMENT REPORT
ROCK LOBSTER MANAGEMENT MPI has not responded to the Council’s submission on the membership review of the National Rock Lobster Management Group. The Council’s submission was sent to Fisheries New Zealand in July. Fisheries New Zealand will be preparing management advice for CRA 1 (Northland) and CRA 3 (Gisborne) before Christmas. This may include a review of the concession for commercial fishers to take undersize males in CRA 3. There is not much data on the commercial catch of concession fish, but the stock assessment model can be used to work out the effects of reduced catch, time to grow to 54mm tail width and release mortality for small crayfish returned to the sea.
RECREATIONAL HARVEST ESTIMATES On 28 August MPI released the 2017-18 National Panel Survey estimates of recreational harvest. This is a repeat of the 2011-12 survey, so the results are directly comparable. Of significance, since 2012 – a. There has been a 20% reduction in recreational fishing effort. b. There are fewer participants in recreational fishing. c. Total recreational harvest –
Total finfish catch has reduced in numbers by 19%.
ii. Harvest of non-finfish i.e. Shellfish and crayfish have reduced in numbers by 41%.
iii. In Snapper 1, including the Hauraki Gulf, catch by weight is down by 21%.
In Kahawai 1, including the Hauraki Gulf, catch by weight is the same\
The August press release from MPI describing some key survey results is disingenuous. For example, in one statement Stuart Anderson, Director of Fisheries Management, says, “The average recreational snapper catch has almost tripled in the last 30 years, and the average recreational kahawai catch has more than quadrupled in the Hauraki Gulf”. Comparing the most recent results to old estimates that have known biases is indefensible. The manner in which the Ministry announced these comparisons gave the public the wrong impression of the good work that the researchers, NIWA and NRB, had put into delivering the results. It is disingenuous of the Ministry to use key results of the survey and present them as being an increase in the recreational harvest of three or four times when it is untrue. It was made clear to the Minister at our September AGM that no matter what is said afterwards, the damage has been done in terms of public perception and understanding of the actual recreational harvest of snapper and kahawai in the Hauraki Gulf. The Minister advised the AGM that “it was a poorly crafted media release” from Fisheries New Zealand. Stuart Nash apologised on behalf of his Ministry.
FISHERIES MANAGEMENT REPORT
BAY OF PLENTY The NZSFC has registered as an “interested party” with the Bay of Plenty Regional Council in respect to any resource consent applications or planning processes within the coastal marine area of the Bay of Plenty that may affect recreational fishing interests. This is in response to the High Court decision acknowledging that Councils can use their powers under the Resource Management Act to protect or manage indigenous biodiversity in the coastal marine zone out to 12 nautical miles, in the Territorial Sea. Local NZSFC representatives, mainly Vance Fulton, will engage as required to provide constructive feedback on any proposals that may impact on recreational fishing interests. The NZSFC has also requested a position on the Scientific Advisory Group that is scoping out the baseline and ongoing monitoring requirements to meet the conditions specified in a related Environment Court decision. It is anticipated that this role will be shared between Tony Wood, a local, and John Holdsworth, dependant on meeting requirements and availability.
SUBMISSIONS In June Fisheries New Zealand released proposals that would affect the future management of 13 inshore finfish and shellfish stocks, seven deepwater stocks, and the amateur charter boat reporting scheme. The New Zealand Sport Fishing Council and LegaSea teams worked with the New Zealand Angling & Casting Association to develop eight fisheries management submissions, a response to the proposals to amend the Amateur Charter Vessel reporting scheme and the animal welfare regulations. Our submissions were sent to FNZ on 26 July. Stuart Nash announced his decisions on September 27th. All new catch limits apply from 1 October 2019. A summary of the fisheries management decisions has been compiled in a separate document. We are disappointed with the decisions and remain concerned that many of our depleted fish stocks are being managed to maintain commercial catches rather than healthy fish stock levels. No new developments have been advised regarding the Amateur Charter Vessel reporting scheme and animal welfare regulations.
RESCUING FISHERIES At the September AGM, the Council received several presentations by the Rescuing Fisheries policy development team. The presentations were given by Josh Barclay and Barry Torkington. Graeme Colman, Horizon Research principal, provided an interesting update on the latest polling results measuring New Zealander’s views on fisheries management. 77% of New Zealanders think inshore fish stocks are less abundant and 54% believe some inshore stocks are facing a crisis of depletion. The presentations were well received, generating interesting discussions around why the status quo is untenable and how we might achieve more abundant fisheries and a fair go for all New Zealanders. Sam Woolford and Trish Rea continue as joint Rescuing Fisheries project managers. Trish and Scott Macindoe are also spearheading the effort to engage with mana whenua as this is critical to the project’s success. The Fisheries Management Standing Committee has oversight of the team’s activities and external service providers are engaged on an as-required basis. 16 www.nzsportfishing.co.nz
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catch and release competitions
THE WAY OF THE FUTURE? Measure and release competitions mean that fishers can return prize-winning fish to the ocean and still return home with a prize.
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CATCH AND RELEASE COMPETITIONS HANDLING FISH
Once upon a time the only way to successfully participate in a fishing competition was to catch a big fish, have it weighed and then hung up for everyone to see. Unfortunately, after slowly going ripe on a hot sunny day, this would often mean the owner would bury the fish in the garden instead of eating it with family and friends. Times have changed and more clubs are choosing to run competitions that are measure only, giving fishers the option (and the encouragement) to release fish they catch. The beauty is that fishers can still keep a fish if they want to. It also means that large old fish, whose genes are valuable to the species, don’t have to be killed for a prize but can be released and can continue to contribute to the population. Fishers still get to win prizes and have their fishing skills validated in front of their peers. It seems the public – both fishers and non-fishers alike – find this kind of event more attractive than the traditional kill and weigh format competitions. Length-based competitions also reinforce the conservation message to our younger generation who are increasingly aware that we need to look after our resources as best we can. Measuring a fish and throwing it back seems simple enough, however, fish can still die days after rough handling and release due to infection. There are several important practices that need to be applied to ensure any released fish have the best chances of survival. There’s not much point in releasing a fish if it still dies after being caught. Firstly, before you wet a line, crush or file away the barb on your hook. This is fairly easy with a pair of pliers. This ensures it is easier to remove the hook, which means the fish does not have to be squeezed or pressed hard against a deck when the hook is being manoeuvred out of its mouth. The fish’s internal organs can be damaged if they are handled roughly. Crushing the barb on your hooks has little or no effect on your hook up and catching success, especially if you use circle hooks and maintain constant pressure on your fish when reeling it in. Removing the barb also means it is easier to remove the hook from soft stretchy human skin if an accident happens. Secondly, use a rubber mesh landing net to remove the fish from the water. These nets are less likely to remove the protective slime from a fish’s skin. Netting a fish is better than lifting it into the boat by the leader as it doesn’t damage its mouth or lips (you are less likely to accidentally lose the fish as well). Fish that have their slime removed may disappear with a quick flick of their tail as they dart back below the surface, however, an infection may set in and then it may die days or weeks later. Thirdly, have the measuring mat and camera ready before the fish comes aboard. Having a fish gasping on the hot deck while you fumble around in the cockpit looking for the mat is not helpful and the longer a fish stays out of the water, the less its chances of recovering and swimming away. Lastly, use wet hands when handling the fish and placing it on the mat for the photograph. Dry hands remove slime. If you have a towel, don’t use it on the fish. Use it on your wet hands after the fish has been placed back in the water and everyone is giving high fives. 19 www.nzsportfishing.co.nz
YELLOWTAIL KINGFISH BEST PRACTICE GUIDE Yellowtail kingfish are a highly respected sportfish and New Zealand has arguably the best kingfish fishery in the world. Out of the 37 IGFA claimed world records for southern yellowtail, currently 35 have been captured in New Zealand and two captured in Australia.
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FISHCARE - YELLOW KINGFISH
This world class fishery makes kingfish a popular sport fish for Kiwis as well as charter operators, some of whom target them exclusively for local and international clients. The economic and social value of kingfish to New Zealand fishers, visitors and regional economies is high. As such, it is in our best interests to understand and adopt best practice principles when catching and releasing kingfish.
TECHNIQUES Lures, livebaits and well-presented dead baits are the most popular techniques employed to target kingfish. Fishers need to respect this powerful fish and use suitably heavy tackle as they have a well-known reputation for breaking gear, cutting lines on underwater obstacles and quickly escaping. While leaving fishers in a state of awe when this happens, it can sadly lead to the kingfish’s demise. Carrying terminal tackle around will impede their ability to feed and could hinder the evasion of predators. A good choice is 24kg-37kg mainline as lighter line may result in longer fight times, which reduces the chances of survival due to shark attack or the kingfish succumbing to exhaustion. There are some exceptions such as fly fishers sight fishing for smaller specimens in clear, shallow water. The minimum legal size for a kingfish is 75cm, which is about a 6kg fish.
HOT TIPS • Tie strong and reliable knots. • Make sure your reel and rod are fit for purpose and well maintained so the possibility of gear failure is minimised. • Lures (i.e. knife jigs or top water lures) usually hook fish in the jaw and these fish have a better chance of survival than fish hooked deep. • When lure fishing with stick-baits or trolling lures like Rapalas, please replace treble hooks with single inline hooks. Treble hooks are more likely to catch a fish in the throat area if taken down and do fatal damage to the gill filaments. Treble hooks can also damage the fish’s eyes or catch under the throat and cause excessive bleeding, plus are potentially dangerous for the angler when removing the hooks from lively fish. • When using live baits to target kingfish, use non-offset circle hooks as these have been proven to reduce gut hooking and the risk of mortality. • Use suitably strong leaders to reduce the risk of breakage and help control the fish when landing. • If using sinkers whilst live baiting always position the sinker above the swivel (and the hook below the swivel) so that if they do break the line they do not have to tow around the sinker.
FishCare The school of best practice is an educational programme initiated by LegaSea and the New Zealand Sport Fishing Council to help fishers reduce their impact on the marine environment. www.fishcare.org.nz 21 www.nzsportfishing.co.nz
HANDLING AND RELEASE TECHNIQUES Kingfish are a species that can handle being caught and released fairly well as they are not susceptible to barotrauma, and if handled properly will recover fairly quickly. On the north east coast one Coromandel charter operator reported the same fish being captured and released three times in one week. While highly unusual, it shows that with careful handling kingfish can successfully recover from capture and release. Ideally, where possible, release fish whilst still in the water boat side.
SAFELY LANDING FISH INTENDED FOR RELEASE • At every stage of handling, take good care of the fish so its chances of survival are maximised if the fish is released. • If you need to bring a kingfish on board for tagging, measuring or a quick photo, use a rubber mesh net for smaller fish. • When landing larger fish there are several options. If your boat is close to the water and the fish is caught on a jig you can lift it by holding the jig. • On larger boats where you may be further from sea level and the fish is too large to net or bring aboard by hand, you can use a lip gaff or a lip-grip device designed to lock on the lower jaw. • File or flatten the barbs on your hooks so they are easy to remove. This reduces excessive handling or damage to the fish. • When removing lures with more than one hook, be extra careful as a thrashing fish can be extremely dangerous, easily swinging the ‘free’ hook into exposed flesh. • Do not under any circumstances put your hands in the gills or gaff the fish anywhere other than the mouth. • If the fish has been caught on a bait and you cannot see the hook in the fish’s mouth, do not use the trace to lift the fish aboard. Cut the line as close to the mouth as possible whilst the fish is in the water or use a net or lip gaff if the fish must be brought aboard. • Large kingfish have learnt how to survive over time and these genes are valuable for the population. Please consider releasing large fish instead of killing them.
MEASURING AND PHOTOGRAPHING • Place any fish on cool wet surfaces. Fish dislike being placed on hard surfaces, so you may need to gently restrain the fish in order to measure them. • Do your best to stop them from thrashing around on the floor. 22 www.nzsportfishing.co.nz
FISHCARE - YELLOW KINGFISH
• Do not drop them from a height. • On the measuring board you can hold one hand over their head and the other around the base of the tail. If a photograph is required, have someone on the opposite side of the measuring board ready to photograph the fish (so you do not obscure the fish and the board). • Cradling the fish by its mid-section with both arms so the weight of the fish is supported is good practice. This is a good way to hold them when taking photos of angler and fish. • Do not use a towel on the fish, the possible exception being a small, soft, clean wet cloth placed over the fish’s eyes to help calm it. • Before bringing the kingfish onboard, have all the necessary items (measuring board, tags, camera etc.) ready and quickly accessible so that the time the fish is out of the water is kept to a minimum. • Keep your hands out of the gills at all times. • When lifting the fish for release you can safely hold one hand around the base of the tail while the other holds the lower jaw. For a more secure release just hug the fish with one arm while holding the base of the tail in the other hand. • On release, slide the kingfish into the water head-first.
ACCURATE MEASURING The point of using a measuring board is to get an accurate length measurement. To achieve this the fish must have its lower jaw against the headboard of the measuring device. If you have a photograph of the fish you can then read the length at the fork of the tail. If not, you will need to record the length before releasing the fish, either on the tag card or your catch sheet. The correct measurement is the nearest centimetre down from the tail fork. In other words, if the fork is exactly on 87cm, that is the correct length to record. If it is between 87cm and 88cm, then record 87cm as the length. This is standard scientific practice.
TAGGING Tagging kingfish is a great practice as it can help with gathering data and contribute to better management of the species. If you intend to tag the kingfish, place the tag on the upper dorsal surface below or just behind the dorsal fin, angled towards the back to improve water flow over the tag. Tags that have been correctly implanted can stay attached for many years and provide excellent information on growth rate for this species. Kingfish will try to rub off tags placed on their sides. These tags are often returned in a badly worn condition where no number remains, which greatly reduces the value of the tag. For more information on tagging kingfish, go to www. fishtagnz.co.nz/yellowtailkingfish-tagging-procedure/ 23 www.nzsportfishing.co.nz
a look back in time GAME FISHING IN NEW ZEALAND FROM THE START IN ABOUT 1900 UNTIL 2017 PART 1 BY JOHN CHIBNALL – PATRON NZ SPORT FISHING COUNCIL
There is a great saying:
“If you don’t know where you have been you will not know where to go in the future.” History is important. The Tuna Club in Avalon, Santa Catalina Island, California.
This brief story is about game fishing in the early days from about 1900 until 1957, when the New Zealand Big Game Fishing Council Incorporated was formed, and from then until 2017 – when it reached its sixty years. The Council’s fifty year book already tells much of the Council’s story from 1957 to 2007. This article is to record the work not mentioned in that book but nevertheless remains part of the Council’s history. Adding to the Council’s fifty year book is how the Council has changed to enable it to try and look after all the recreational fishers’ interests, as well as how sport fishing has turned into a large industry important to our nation’s economy. The last ten years from 2007 also has no history recorded yet and this article will attempt to tell of the many changes that have been made or have been attempted to be made since this time.
THE BEGINNING The sport of fishing with a rod and reel came to New Zealand from England and the United States with the early settlers. Fishing with rod and reel was, without doubt, happening in England and the US before the eighteen hundreds, and was recorded in many areas. The first recorded Game Fishing Club was formed in the Pacific in 1898 (incorporated in 1901). It was named the Tuna Club and was located in Avalon on Santa Catalina Island off the coast of California. Many of the IGFA & NZSFC fishing rules and regulations we still use today were created by this famous old club which is still in existence today, although now showing its age. Fishing in England on rod and reel goes back several hundred years, where it is believed the first reel was invented in around 1650. This is documented in books written by T. Barker and Izak Walton, found in the archives in England. Izak Walton’s book ‘The Complete Angler’ describes what fishing with rod and reel is all about. He is considered to be the ‘Grandfather’ of angling. There is much more information still available on game fishing in England, however, there is little information on rod and reel fishing in NZ before 1900. What is available is anecdotal, making it a bit unreliable. In those days we are sure there would have been many anglers who started fishing with a stick and fishing line on one end. There are some stories about groups of fishermen fishing for subsistence which was most likely the start of what you may call fishing clubs. There were some fishing clubs formed and operating before the 1914-18 Great World War, but none were game fishing clubs, even though there was talk about them in the North. It is well-documented that the first marlin caught on rod and reel in New Zealand was in 1915, followed by the first shark caught a few days later. After the 1914-18 Great War there were a number of game fishing clubs formed in the far north at Whangaroa down to Tauranga in the Bay of Plenty. Five of these clubs are still operating successfully today and these were also the five founding clubs of the New Zealand Big Game Fishing Council incorporated in 1957, now called New Zealand Sport Fishing Council Incorporated. Long before that, many clubs were formed that never became part of the Council. The first of these was the Bay of Islands Kingfish Club Inc., formed in 1918. This club was operating well for six years and then was abandoned in 1924 for a new club called the Bay of Island Swordfish and Mako Shark Club. The entire Kingfish Club’s funds and effects were transferred to the new club along with most of the executive staff, including the President and the Secretary. It took many years to find out why this change was made, and it turned out that the Kingfish Club was a registered Incorporated Society making it a non-profit organisation. The club was formed by Charter Boat Captains and Hoteliers in Russell for personal business reasons which is not allowed with incorporated societies, so the new club wasn’t incorporated until it joined the Council in 1957, even though it still operated as if it were (they had a constitution, still voted in their executive each year, kept records of their membership, the business of the club and their daily catch, and produced minutes of their meetings). Most of the old and not so old clubs should keep the history of their early beginnings on record so the new members joining will know the strength of their club’s background. Most of the old clubs were formed in or about the 1920s. Many new clubs didn’t last as long as what was originally planned for more than one reason. Forming a new club needs to be well planned and taken seriously. One the most interesting pieces of NZ Game Fishing history is when Zane Grey came to NZ in 1925. Many thought he was just on one of his adventures, but in reality, he was invited by another famous New Zealand angler called C. Alma Baker who was a wealthy mine owner and rubber grower. In those days rubber came from the sap of trees in the tropics. Alma Baker met Zane Grey while he was game fishing from the Tuna Club on Catalina Island. Grey was already quite famous for his angling endeavours while also making a fortune from writing Cowboy adventure books that made him well known in America and other places in the world. Baker thought Grey should come to New Zealand to get publicity for the game fishing here as it was quite a tourist industry in many coastal parts of New Zealand. Alma Baker, through his wealth, had great influence in many places in the world, including with the New Zealand Government of the day. 25 www.nzsportfishing.co.nz
He persuaded the government to invite Grey to New Zealand to fish and publicise our game fishing in New Zealand. In 1926, a new fishing club house was built and completed at Otehei Bay in the Bay of Islands called the ‘Zane Grey Sporting Club Ltd’. It had full accommodation in separate cabins and a clubhouse with bar and dining available, as well as long distance phone and post office facilities. Four new game fishing boats were built to game fish from the new location, mostly paid for – from what I can gather – by the Government. Over the next few years Zane Grey fished from the north coast down into the Bay of Plenty, including freshwater fishing at Taupo. There is no record of him staying at the lodge that had his name, other than visits in its early days, although there were plenty of other well-known anglers who stayed and fished from there. The original Zane Grey Sporting Club visitor’s book is in the Russell Museum. There are also some catch records etched on large Kauri wood panels displayed in the Bay of Islands Swordfish Club Inc. Russell Clubhouse that came from the Zane Grey Club. Zane Grey made New Zealand marlin and shark fishing known to the world and, without doubt, put our game fishing in New Zealand on the world map.
The original BOI Swordfish Club
When the great depression came in the mid 1930s, the lodge was closed due to a lack of trade, and the boats were sold. The lodge was soon sold to Jack Anderson, an American banker, who operated it with a manager until his estate sold it again in the 1970s. The main building burnt down a few years later, and these days the restaurant that has been built there is a tourist stop for Bay of Islands’ charter party boats. It is believed this was the first game fishing clubhouse to be built in New Zealand.
I don’t have the same knowledge of the other founding clubs but have fished out of most of their areas except for Mercury Bay. I’m sure all these clubs will have their early history on record. The five founding clubs all started without club houses. The Whangaroa club used the Marlin Hotel; the Bay of Islands club used the Duke of Marlborough historic hotel; the Whangarei club, after moving from Whangarei Harbour to Tutukaka Harbour, used the old Tutukaka pub when the little office at the end of the wharf wasn’t big enough; I’m not sure where the Mercury Bay club met before they took up residence at the club building on the wharf but most likely at a local pub; and Tauranga had a game fishing camp at Mayor Island but used the hotels on the Tauranga waterfront for meetings and social events outside of fishing (they also used an office on the charter boat wharf). These clubs will have met in many other places as well, and all have a rich history of their own. In the early years there was no unified game fishing rules and regulations. Zane Grey tried to stop some practices, like the use of treble or multiple hooks, harpoons for harpooning fish close to the boat, sliding gaffs that went down the line to snag a fish that they could not get up with rod and reel, hard baiting to choke the fish and putting a float at the top of the leader to stop a fish from going down. Their fishing equipment was antiquated and, in many cases, homemade. While there were a few split cane rods, most were made from local supple-jack, a small tree called ‘Tanekaha’ of all shapes and sizes. Many of the old clubs have these rods, as well as the associated reels, on display. The fishing rules were different from club to club, especially between Northland and the Bay of Plenty where most of the game fishing was taking place in those days. To make it worse, clubs and anglers were accusing each other of cheating, causing bad blood between clubs in the North and the Bay of Plenty. While there had been attempts to unify the fishing rules, the clubs could not agree on what they should be. In 1939, the 100-year Centennial was being planned. NZ had nearly been part of the British Empire for 100 26 www.nzsportfishing.co.nz
years and big celebrations were coming up in 1940. Part of the celebration was to have a national game fishing tournament. All known clubs and anglers were notified of the pending event, but because of the development of the Second World War in 1940, it did not reach the expected size, although many anglers still fished in it. The event was called the Auckland Centennial Game Fishing Tournament and had its own fishing rules – this was the first time in New Zealand that all game fishers had to fish with the same rules. At the same time, the first proposed national body was trying to get underway but was unable to continue its development until after the war ended in 1945. In England in the 1930s the idea of a worldwide association of marine anglers had been brewing for some time. The old British Tunny Club had taken the first steps to establish a headquarters in England to formulate worldwide ethical fishing rules; however, the threat of war had interrupted their plans. In the meantime, Australia and the United States had taken their first steps in the same direction. In Australia, there had been discussions about forming a worldwide body. New Zealand was included through Dr Harold Pettit’s representation of the Bay of Islands. Dr Pettit was a well known angler in those days who Handbook for the 1940 World Contest for Big Game Fishing shared the notion that we needed the same fishing rules for all anglers. In July 1938, a meeting led by Clive Firth, the President of the newly formed ‘Game Fishing Association of Australia’ (GFAA), was held in Sydney. In attendance was Michael Lerner who was on a fishing expedition in the waters of New Zealand and Australia for the American Museum of Natural History in New York. He was accompanied by Dr William H. Gregory, a world renowned ichthyologist, and Miss Francesca La Monte, a renowned woman angler and ichthyologist associated with the formation of the IGFA and who later became one of their trustees. Over the next year there were several meetings with different representatives from the USA Tuna Club, the American Museum of Natural History, GFAA, the Tunny Club in England and Dr Pettit from New Zealand. There may have also been others not found in my research. On June 7th 1939, the International Game Fish Association was formally launched, known as the IGFA. NZ’s first IGFA representative was Dr Harold Pettit, a position he held from its inception until after the formation of the Council in 1957. One of the newly formed IGFA’s first duties was to form a worldwide register of record fish caught. With this came a set of fishing rules and regulations that everybody had to fish under to be able to claim a record caught fish. Most of the other national bodies that had registered records of fish caught were integrated into the IGFA world record catch records. Many of the fishing rules and regulations they created are still relevant today although there have been many changes to keep up with changing times. After the second world war ended, time was needed for our country, and indeed the world, to get back to normal, but after a few years people started to go out game fishing again. With that the clubs started normal operations, and they and many well known anglers brought up the subject of forming a national body again. The idea of a national body had the backing of many of our prominent citizens but the clubs and anglers still could not agree on what the rules and regulations should be or how they should be implemented. For the next 10 years there was little progress even though there were many meetings and ideas discussed. At this time there was still no other national body interested in servicing the needs of game fishing. This problem was having an effect on New Zealand’s worldwide reputation as a game fishing mecca. In 1957, the then Governor General of New Zealand, Lord Norrie (a keen game fishing angler), got involved and brought the clubs together to fish under the same rules and regulations. The rest of the Council’s formation is well documented in the Council’s fifty year book. Look out for part two in our next edition!! 27 www.nzsportfishing.co.nz
happy fishing & goodluck with the season
Hooked Up is the e-magazine of the NZ Sportfishing Council.