fish anyone? redux

Three years ago there was considerable debate regarding the introduction of stricter size and number limits for recreational fishing in Northern New Zealand. What was missing from the debate was the impact of population growth and the associated increased pressure on fish stocks. I blogged on this issue three years ago, stating that as New Zealand’s population continued to grow, then stricter limits on recreational fishing was inevitable.

Now three years later, a report by the New Zealand Initiative, confirms what I was stating back then. The New Zealand Herald article summarising the report states that “Fishers [in New Zealand] had generous bag limits by international standards, did not need a permit, and faced no reporting requirements. This approach was not sustainable when New Zealand’s population was set to increase from 4.7 million to 6 million by 2060.”

Unfortunately, when it comes to population growth, you cannot have your cake (or fish) and eat it too. While a larger population may bring some benefits (and any reader of this blog knows that I believe there are few), there are many negatives. The question New Zealanders need to ask is, is the rapid growth in our country’s population worth the reduction in our quality of life. Sure, for some, fishing may not count for much, yet this is merely one symptom of our rapidly increasing population.

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