North Shore Times : January 24th 2013
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Call 09 578 0917 Andrew Cadenhead Accident Compensation Law Specialist www.acclaw.co.nz ACCIDENT COMPENSATION PROBLEMS $ DONATION PE PE SON 10am -4pm Call to ban net 'hazards' at beaches Setnets ban: Hibiscus and Bays Local Board member John Watson, left, and councillor Wayne Walker battled to secure the bylaw banning nets at Arkles Bay and want to see action taken at other popular east coast beaches. By LES WATKINS Let's get rid of setnets at popular Auckland beaches. That's the message from Auck- land councillor Wayne Walker who wants to see what the council can do about it. The number of swimmers who've been entangled -- some lucky not to have died -- underlines the fact that we don't need the extra hazard of these nets,'' he says. Mr Walker represents the coun- cil's Albany ward and chairs its environmental forum. Rodney Times editor Geoff Dob- son and his family, among thou- sands who flocked to Te Haruhi Bay at Shakespear Regional Park on New Year's Day, were appalled to see three setnets in the shallows where children were playing. One was removed when the tide went out but the others were left there all day,'' Mr Dobson says. One parallel to the beach was potentially dangerous but the other, set at right angles to the beach, was far worse. The current kept dragging us towards it and, although we strug- gled, we couldn't avoid getting snared. So were some other swim- mers and they were really upset,'' he says. Mr Dobson and adult son Eli had a similar experience at Te Haruhi Bay last year while snorkelling to the wreck of the SS Wainui. We swam straight into a net because there was no way we could see it. It's just as well we're reason- ably good swimmers because we could have been in big trouble. It's disgraceful that this practice -- almost inviting tragedies -- is allowed to continue on our busy holiday beaches.'' Omaha Beach is among those with a setnet problem. Rodney's Insite Security general manager Chris Martin says two nets which he took from the shal- lows were collected, at his request, by fisheries officers employed by the Ministry of Primary Industries (MPI), which replaced the minis- tries of agriculture, forestry and fisheries. He also arranged for the Omaha Surf Club to pick up a third contain- ing dead or dying fish, drifting about 150 metres offshore. In addition to still catching more fish, it was a potential hazard for vessels,'' Mr Martin says. MPI compliance manager North Harbour Deirdre Hilditch says people should think twice before removing nets that don't belong to them. MPI does not encourage this sort of action as it could lead to charges being pressed by the setnet owner through the police,'' she says. Ms Hilditch's advice is to ring 0800 476 224, a number manned by ministry staff. Responsibilities for maritime craft and swimmer safety do not lie with MPI,'' she says. The Auckland Council is review- ing public bylaws and people are invited to make submissions between February 15 and March 15 online via its website. Alternatively, forms will be avail- able at council service centres and libraries. No incidents where a person swimming has become tangled in a net and drowned have been recorded in Auckland or the rest of New Zealand between 2002-2011, a Water Safety New Zealand spokes- woman says. In regards to near misses, we get hospitalisation data which is coded in accordance with international hospital coding systems, so there would be no way of knowing if it was related to net fishing,'' the spokeswoman says. SETNET ISSUES The setnetting issue has been discussed with affected communities by Rodney MP Mark Mitchell. He says nets are left unattended and often for long periods. Mr Mitchell has opened talks with fellow MPs and will be in discussions with the appropriate ministry on how best to increase protection for both marine life and beach users. ''I fully support the recent actions of Insite Security and the Omaha Surf Life Saving Club who removed a set net that was a potential hazard to swimmers.'' Auckland Council Rodney representative Penny Webster says recent problems around northern beaches have highlighted setnetting issues. Setnetting has been a part of New Zealand's fishing tradition. But problems have arisen with setnetting because they indiscriminately kill everything that gets caught in them, Mrs Webster says. ''As well as that there is a danger to the public swimming within these nets. Maybe it is high time we had a debate about if this practice should continue.'' Mrs Webster says it is not a council issue and needs to be dealt with at a national level.
January 22nd 2013
January 25th 2013