Controversy over who needs a licence to fish at the mouth of
the Taieri River has been clarified after a meeting between
recreational fishermen and Fish and Game Otago.
Some anglers had questioned Fish and Game Otago's right to
prosecute people for fishing for trout and salmon without a
licence in the area below the Taieri Mouth bridge, citing an
agreement made decades ago allowing them to do so.
Fish and Game said whatever ''folklore'' was around, the
council was charged with upholding the law which clearly
stated the area was freshwater, so people needed a licence to
fish for trout and salmon.
Otago recreational fishing representative Warren Lewis said
in the 1980s a gentlemen's agreement between the former Otago
Recreational Fishers and Fish and Game was made to allow
families and children to fish for non-sports fish such as
flounder below the Henley Ferry bridge without a licence.
''It was a one-off case, a privilege,'' Mr Lewis saidTo fish
for those species people would be using a rig for flounder,
not a trout rod or lures, he said.
However, it appeared some people were using that agreement as
a defence for fishing for sports fish without a licence.
''They should know better than to try it on. A lot of people
get enjoyment out of this without the odd person upsetting
the apple cart.''
Fish and Game Otago operations manager Ian Hadland said the
council had always maintained it was not after children
fishing off the wharf for flounder, only those anglers with
spinning gear more suited to catching trout or salmon.
The gentlemen's agreement was old and the latest generation
did not know its provision, or stretched its intent, so it
was important anglers realised they could not fish for sports
fish in fresh water unless they had a licence.
If they accidentally caught a sports fish they needed to
return it to the river unhurt, he said.