National Kahawai Day A Yearly Event

“Kahawai decision day, May 28th, is a day worthy of national celebration. Every year,” says national recreational fishing advocacy Legsea.

May 28th. twelve years ago was the day the Supreme Court clarified that the fisheries Minister can purposely allocate the available fisheries to meet the needs of recreational or other interests. Since 2010 the Minister has deliberately limited commercial catch of kahawai on the northeast coast of the North Island in order to enhance public fishing.
The four-year Kahawai Legal Challenge was the first time recreational fishers had taken the Minister of Fisheries to court since the Quota Management System was introduced 20 years prior. It proved the public is able to influence how our fish stocks are managed, to ensure more sustainable and abundant fish populations for the future.
Kahawai was often the first fish a youngster might catch and kahawai often fed a family.  The kahawai is truly ‘the people’s fish.
Plundered Fishery
The Kahawai Legal Challenge was a response to the Minister of Fisheries’ unfair allocation decisions when kahawai was introduced into the Quota Management System in 2004. The Minister allocated most of the available quota to industrial fishers who had already ravaged the fishery, using purse seiners and spotter planes to hoover up thousands of kahawai schools.
A major campaign was launched. The New Zealand Sport Fishing Council spearheaded the challenge. Te Runanga A Iwi O Ngāpuhi and Te Runanga o Ngāti Whātua supported the challenge because kahawai was a traditional food source for many whānau in the north. After pursuing the case through all available legal channels starting with the High Court in 2005, the Court of Appeal in 2006 and Supreme Court in 2009, the outcome was a mixed decision.
Ultimately, the Kahawai Legal Challenge was a test case. In the ensuing years the New Zealand Sport Fishing Council has increased its involvement in fisheries management and policy processes, initiated LegaSea to reach out to the public, and more recently developed a viable alternative to the Quota Management System – Rescue Fish Ika Rauora. 
Kahawai decision day, May 28th, is a day worthy of national celebration. Every year.

Footnote: Read more about the Kahawai Legal Challenge here

© A youngster with his first kahawai

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3 Responses to National Kahawai Day A Yearly Event

  1. Donald. Wilson says:

    The kahawai should be celebrated because it is a wonderful recreational fish. Kahawai is very underrated as a fish to dine on.
    Despite the Supreme Court case really nothing has changed.The large companies have continued to ravage the fishery, using purse seiners and feeding surface schools are rarely seen out from Havelock in the Marlborough Sounds and from Nelson here in Tasman Bay.
    The challenge is there for the new minister as Stuart Nash was a miserable failure as a Minister of Fisheries.

  2. Rod Littlefield says:

    Sadly commercial fishers have continued to decimate the kahawai in Marlborough. I used to regularly catch kahawai at the local river mouth,and
    you could regularly see work-ups in the sounds and down the coast. Now there are pitifully few left, work- ups are rare and fishing for them is a waste of time.
    They are worth so little commercially that they have to sell vast amounts to Australia for Cray bait etc to make it worthwhile. What selfish greed.
    What a waste of a terrific sport fish. What a sad legacy for children.

  3. Matthew Montgomery says:

    100%! Kahawai is the fish we all grew up with, excited to catch and still exciting but not as common as it was. Children of all ages and adults alike love this fish both to catch and to feed the family. Please ensure we conserve it for the future of us all in Aotearoa.
    Please……it is not an infinite resource.

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