MAF has issued a consultation document covering proposals to further restrict the amount of snapper allowed for recreational fishers in response to a reported decline in fish stock.
Nowhere do I see in the range of options any mention of the special dispensation granted to Maori under the Fisheries (Kaimoana Customary Fishing) Regulations 1998. I think that is a mistake.
Recently I was involved in discussions with a MAF lawyer whose brief it is to manage prosecutions of persons caught breaking the laws regarding the taking of fish. I wasn't aware, until he told me, that there are no restrictions as to the size of fish that Maori can take as the holder of a customary permit. He said the taking of undersized snapper was rampant, particularly in the isolated areas of Northland and the East Coast where Fisheries Officers are few and far between.
He characterised customary permits as a rort on recreational fishers and opined that the failure of the Tangata Kaitiaki/Tiaki (those that issue permits) to specify size limits, as a condition of the permit, was a significant contributing factor in the fall in snapper fish stock.
Sage advice which I guess would be opposed by any and all Maori MPs holding constituency seats as an attack on the integrity of Maoridom.