Fishing a Major Public Recreation

Press Release: 7 July 2015
Fishing “Undoubtedly” a Major Public Recreation

Recreational fishing is a major sport as shown by a survey conducted by Sport New Zealand says the New Zealand Federation of Freshwater Anglers.

Federation president David Haynes said the survey showed the importance of recreational fishing and that the importance had to be carefully weighed up in decisions involving water allocation as well as underlining the urgent need to clean up the unsatisfactory state of some rivers.

“It shows without a doubt that trout fishing has a high public participation and government both central and regional must heed that,” he said. “The survey covering 2013-14 also showed participation in fishing to be increasing whereas glamour sports like cricket and golf showed decreases.”

David Haynes said fishing ranked highly, with 20 per cent of all adults ranking it the 5th most popular participatory sport, and 28 per cent of those with some Maori ancestry ranking it 3rd.

Further details of the survey showed it was the second most popular activity with adult men and runner-up to walking and clearly well ahead of popular sports like golf, rugby, tennis and football.

“The survey clearly establishes that fishing, whether saltwater or freshwater, cannot be ignored by politicians, policy makers and developers.”

Detail showed other significant findings such as income and wealth making little difference with fishing ranking consistently at 5th and 6th for all income groups.

“This reflects the egalitarian status of New Zealand’s fishing unlike the feudal system of the UK and much of Europe where the better salmon and trout rivers are virtually the preserve of the wealthy who can afford the high access fees,” said David Haynes. “The early colonial settlers ensured selling fishing rights would be illegal and set that into laws. Consequently anyone in New Zealand can afford to go fishing by only paying a token licence fee to fish anywhere in New Zealand, subject to permission of landowners.”