The recent loss of 3 massive Bronze Whaler Sharks and a Stingray at Hatfield Beach in Auckland highlight just how destructive set nets are. Recreational fishermen had set the net the previous day, and on returning found the massive animals entangled and already dead. They recovered their net and left the sharks strewn on the beach.
Now Auckland City Council had just last year rejected a ban on Set Nets at this and several other beaches, arguing for the rights of recreational anglers, and that by-catch is minimal. I wonder if the council would consider this result minimal?
I witnessed a bloke retrieving a set net a couple years ago and the sheer number of fish discarded dead was appalling. As the net was pulled in, he piled the legal sized snapper on one side, and undersized snapper and other unwanted fish on the other. In the end the undersized fish pile was about 5 times the size of the legal pile. It also contained several juvenile sharks, a ray, some mullet and a couple of fish species I couldn’t identify.
This highlights the real problem with set nets – They are indiscriminate killers. They catch nearly all fish passing the area, be they legal, undersized, endangered, or anything else for that matter. They do not belong in this day in age. Our fisheries are under enough onslaught as it is, without allowing this archaic method to continue.
Auckland City Council is reviewing set nets this year, and you can help by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org and tell them in no uncertain terms that you wish “Set Nets to be banned on ALL Auckland beaches”
Thanks in advance for help with this.