NIWA counting fish in Marlborough Sounds

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Recreational fishers in the Marlborough Sounds, Tasman and Golden Bays are being approached at boat ramps in the region in the hope they will provide information on their catches for a research survey.

NIWA is undertaking this survey for the Ministry for Primary Industries to find out how many fish are being caught by recreational fishers.

Marine ecologist Niki Davey said the purpose of the survey, which began on September 1, is to estimate recreational catches of commonly caught fish such as snapper and blue cod – the first of its kind in the area since 2005.

“It is important we get up-to-date, accurate information to enable fisheries managers to make decisions on the best data available.”

The researchers have selected 54 days at random over the next 12 months on which to conduct the surveys which will happen at eight boat ramps. They are the ramps at Tarakohe, Nelson, Okiwi Bay, Havelock, Picton, Waikawa Public, Waikawa Marina Ramp, and Waikawa Marina.

Fishers returning from the water will be asked by interviewers if they can measure their catch, when and where they’ve been fishing and which methods they used.

An aerial survey will also be carried out at midday on the same survey days, to provide a snapshot of the number of boats fishing in all areas of the Marlborough Sounds and Golden and Tasman Bays. The information is then combined with the interview data collected throughout the day, to provide estimates of the harvest of commonly caught fish stocks.

The next survey day is September 29.

Ms Davey stressed the interviews are voluntary but said the more information the researchers get, the better data is available to fisheries managers.

 “Fishery managers need to understand any changes and trends , over time. This is incredibly important information and we appreciate everyone’s cooperation.”

Related information 

Read "Counting fish": article from NIWA's Water & Atmosphere publication, 2013

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Marine Ecologist
Snapper are an extremely popular catch for recreational fishers. [Derrick Paull]
In a spotter plane over Auckland harbour. [Bruce Hartill]