What’s to stop a foreign or resident fisherman bringing a few mates to our waters and charging them a fee for his knowledge and assistance? How do you identify this individual? How do you police this illegal guiding?
Professional fishing guides say illegal guiding is on the rise, and they are pressing for a compulsory guiding licence that would supposedly cut out rogue operators and relieve pressure on the freshwater fishery, especially our pristine backcountry waters.
The New Zealand Professional Fishing Guides' Association is the national body representing fishing guides throughout New Zealand with members located in all areas of New Zealand and is the largest single activity industry association in New Zealand's outdoor recreation sector. According to the association around 200 illegal fishing guides operate here, many are residents that do not belong to the association.
There was no way of knowing how many of the remainder were overseas guides working illegally, but the association was aware of cases where foreign guides pretended to be tourists.
Some lacked permits to legally work here and did not have to meet the same standards as their Kiwi counterparts, such as having health and safety plans, a first aid certificate, and public liability insurance.
Kiwis were also breaking the rules by doing paid guiding without a DoC concession and claiming to be "hosting" friends or foreign anglers on rivers.
Growing tourist numbers had also increased pressure on the fresh water fishery, particularly on back country rivers where hut bookings by tourist anglers were significantly higher than New Zealanders.
Fish & Game sales of fishing licences to non-residents have risen steadily over the last three years from 4709 in 2014 to 6142 last year when there were 111,000 licences issued in total.
Fish & Game say that at present guides simply required a fishing licence. Support for a separate professional fishing guide licence was still under consideration and would be decided by the Fish & Game board.
Overseas anglers are okay and very welcome but all guides must be NZ residents!
Unfortunately there are loopholes that unscrupulous overseas and resident “angler/guides” will exploit.
But really the problem illustrates the fallacy of unbridled growth, in this case tourism. Controls are needed on numbers, but John Key pursued maximum numbers – a brainless idea.
Sales Manager: Graham Carter P: 07 8551833 M: 021 02600437 E:
W: www.fishingoutdoors.org P.O. Box 10580, Te Rapa, Hamilton 3240 Facebook