Kiwis upset over “exclusive” fishing rights

New Zealand’s anglers are being shut out of top fishing spots by businesses cutting expensive deals with private landowners, angry fishermen say.

According to New Zealand’s Nelson Mail, growing numbers of “exclusive capture” deals carried out in prime backcountry have seen large sums of money passed on to landowners for the sole right to fish on their land, the New Zealand Federation of Freshwater Anglers says.

The Mail says cashed up foreigners and celebrities, including former US president Jimmy Carter, actors Liam Neeson and Timothy Dalton and former Australian PM Malcolm Fraser, have paid thousands of dollars for guided helicopter fishing expeditions on New Zealand’s most prized trout rivers.

Federation president Jim Hale said parts of rivers in both the North and South islands had been captured by “unscrupulous commercial interests”.

“It is practised by those who have captured these trout fishing waters for their own financial profiteering, even though the running water and the fish within them do not belong to them,” Hale said.

“We will fight this scourge wherever we find it, with whoever is involved, with all of the determination and resources at our disposal.”

In New Zealand the vast majority of anglers respected farmers’ properties and stock, but farmers have the legal right to stop anyone crossing their property.

Hale said the “Queen’s chain” rule, allowing access to riverbanks, did not always apply. “This is a slow, creeping cancer and we’ve decided to put a stake in the ground and say `no more’.”

Nelson Marlborough Fish and Game manager Neil Deans said selling fishing rights was illegal.

“Fish and fishing are separate from land titles, in any case. Even if you own the land, in theory you don’t own the fish, water or the bed of the river either, in most cases.”

There was no evidence the practice was happening in the region, but there was a legal loophole that meant selling access to fishing spots was “a grey area”.

What's your reaction?

Related Posts

Load More Posts Loading...No More Posts.