Trout Angling Access Safeguarded For Season Opening
Anglers are being reassured by Fish & Game that access to their favourite fishing spot for the looming trout fishing season has been safeguarded by Parliament under several pieces of new and existing legislation.
The new 2015-16 sports fishing season begins on October 1, with thousands of trout anglers eagerly awaiting the chance to get out and fish rivers and streams which have been closed over winter.
Fish & Game’s national communications manager Don Rood says some anglers have been anxious new workplace safety legislation would restrict access to their favourite fishing spots because they had to cross farmland to reach them.
“Happily that’s not the case. When parliament recently passed the new Health and Safety in Employment Act, it clarified that the new law does not apply to recreational access.
“It says a farmer’s responsibility and duty does not apply to recreational users coming onto their farm land, except when work is being carried out in that particular part of the farm at the time.
“Anglers and farmers can now rest easy that the law doesn’t affect traditional access to favourite trout rivers and streams. This dispels fears that anglers would have to get detailed safety briefings from farmers and fill in paperwork every time they wanted to go fishing.
“All that rumour and speculation was just that – rumour and speculation and Fish & Game and Federated Farmers have worked together to ensure recreational access is safeguarded.
“While the clarification is good news, anglers should still exercise common courtesy and talk to farmers and get permission to cross their land,” Mr Rood said.
While other existing legislation also protects recreational access to rivers, streams and bush, Fish & Game is concerned some land owners are trying to physically block public roads.
“No one has the right to block a public road, or a paper road. People are entitled to use these to reach public waterways and land.
“This is a serious issue and Fish & Game is already fighting some attempts to prevent public access. No one has the right to take away access rights or block public roads in a cynical attempt to capture recreational areas for their own exclusive use,” Mr Rood said.
Fish & Game is urging people to let them know of any cases where legal access is being denied.
Anglers wanting to check on access can go to the Walking Access Commission’s maps, available on the commission’s website.
“The Walking Access Commission has done good work clarifying access issues since it was created, and its website is a handy reference tool for outdoor recreation enthusiasts,” Mr Rood said.
Fish & Game also maintains a nationwide network of access signs highlighting where anglers can legally get to streams, rivers and lakes to fish for trout.
“There is plenty of information available for trout anglers deciding on where to fish on opening day, or looking for a new spot.
“New Zealand has a fantastic wild trout fishery which is the envy of the rest of the world. The important thing is that people get out and enjoy themselves when the new season opens on Thursday and hopefully get a nice fish to put on the family dinner table,” Mr Rood said.
Further information on access to trout fishing can be found on the Fish & Game website.