Outdoor Recreation and Fisheries spokesperson Richard Prosser says allowing the commercial harvesting of marlin in the name of avoiding waste through unintentional by-catch is a specious argument and such a policy would threaten the future of the magnificent gamefish.
“Swordfish were permitted as by-catch in 1987 when marlin were reserved for recreational fishers, and have since become a major target for surface longliners.
“Big game fishing is a NZ$100 million industry for New Zealand and it is essential that marlin are preserved for the sake of our recreational fishers and tourism industry.
"Billfish stocks worldwide are declining, and the New Zealand game fishery is too valuable both economically and ecologically for us to allow it to be reclassified.
"New Zealand First is absolutely committed to retaining marlin as a purely recreational fish,” says Mr Prosser.