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Trout Anglers Warn Against Selling Fishing Rights
Feb 12th, 2011 at 3:16pm
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Press Release to farming publications issued 27th January. Seems to have sunk without trace!  Angry

27 January 2011
Press Release

Trout Anglers Warn Against Selling Fishing Rights

A national trout-fishing organisation is alerting farmers that it illegal to sell rights to trout fishing is in New Zealand. The NZ Federation of Freshwater Anglers' president Jim Hale said that in recent years instances of a few unscrupulous commercial operators buying sole access rights to top trout fishing rivers had escalated.

"It's been like an insidious cancer because those guides and lodges know it's illegal under the Conservation Law Reform Act so they are unlikely to tell the farmer that selling or letting fishing rights is unlawful," he said.

Section 26 ZN of the Conservation Act 1987 states, "Every person commits an offence against this Act who sells or lets the right to fish in any freshwater."

Jim Hale, a Kairanga dairy farmer near Palmerston North, said in most cases it was likely the farmer/landowner would not be aware of the illegalities. Normal property rights give the right of any landowner to decline permission to cross private property.

"There have been some suggestions that have inferred anglers want a ‘wander at will’ situation. It is totally mischievous to suggest this. We encourage our members to ask permission and to respect stock and property at all times," he said. "I reiterate, we don't want the right to roam. We respect normal private property rights -town or country.""

Jim Hale said he was disappointed to read of Minister of Agriculture David Carter saying it was the legitimate property right of an owner to sell exclusive access for fishing.

"The law is crystal clear and Mr Carter should take time to study it before rushing in with totally inaccurate utterances."

Mr Hale said the buying of sole trout fishing rights had been going on for some decades, originating in the Central North Island where fishing rights to stretches of the Rangitikei and Mohaka Rivers had been captured by various commercial interests. In recent years the practice had spread further, including to the South Island. One estimate in 2004 said 50 percent of the Rangitikei and 57 percent of the Mohaka Rivers were involved. In addition there were several other streams captured.

A glance at some web sites of commercial operations involving trout fishing shows numerous examples of "exclusive vehicle access", "guests have private access to -- productive trophy trout rivers", "world class private access fishing on the famed waters of the Rangitikei and the lesser known but highly productive Taruarau River" and others.

Mr Hale said the ban on selling fishing and shooting rights was put in place in the law books by the early European settlers who wanted New Zealand to be an egalitarian society where the outdoors and sports like trout fishing were available to all, after buying a token licence fee for management of the fishery. New Zealand's public fishing and shooting sports are a total contrast to the UK's class system where the best trout fishing is available to only those who can afford the high fees.

Mr Hale said the vast majority of New Zealand farmers treated anglers with generosity and respect, as the vast majority of the trout fishing public do them, and allowed anglers to cross their properties given natural common courtesy and respect to property and stock.

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