Public invited to Marlborough Sounds blue cod meeting

Kaikoura news
Wednesday, May 27, 2015

The MPs for Kaikoura and Nelson, Stuart Smith and Dr Nick Smith, are inviting the public to meetings on the review of regulations for the Marlborough Sounds Blue Cod fishery to be held next Tuesday, 2nd June in Blenheim at 5pm and Nelson at 8pm.
“I have been inundated with concerns about the current Blue Cod regulations, particularly the slot fishery rule of only being able to keep fish in the 30-35cm range. The current approach is not working well for the sustainability of the fishery as many larger fish caught and put back are not surviving. There has also been significant concern about the transit rule which prohibits blue cod caught further afield being landed in the Sounds. I have been pushing for change and am pleased that the Blue Cod Advisory Group has come up with an alternate approach,” Mr Smith said.

“Cabinet on Monday and Caucus on Tuesday considered the proposals from the Blue Cod Management Group this week. The consultation document is to be released at the two meetings where the Ministry of Primary Industries and the Blue Cod Management Group will explain the proposed changes. The public will have the opportunity to make submissions to the Blue Cod Management Group who will make recommendations to the Ministry of Primary Industries. Final decisions will be made by the Minister of Primary Industries, Nathan Guy and by Cabinet. The Government’s aim is to have decisions on any changes made by the new fishing season on 20th December 2015,” Mr Smith said.

“I also want Dr Smith, in his role as Environment Minister to give an overview of the Government’s future plan for creating a Marlborough Sounds Recreational Fishing Park. We have decided to proceed with the Blue Cod review given the work already under way by the Blue Cod Advisory Group and the level of concern about the current rules. Our longer term plan is to have recreational fishers even more involved in the management of the Marlborough Sound and it being an exclusive recreational fishery,” Mr Smith said.

The meetings are to be held at the Marlborough Convention Centre, Blenheim and the Rutherford Hotel, Nelson

“We welcome public input into how we can improve the management of recreational fishing in Marlborough Sounds. The top priority has to be sustainability and ensuring the recreational experience for local and visitors in this special area is enhanced. This is about ensuring people, now and into the future, can reliably catch a feed of blue cod but not fill the freezer,” Mr Smith said.