Seeing the increased action from NGOs that call for a total ban of commercial fishing using bottom trawling and Danish seine in the Hauraki Gulf made me think of this opinion letter from Captain R. Dixon published in the Auckland Star in 1929 (Volume LX, Issue 207, 2 September 1929, Page 6). You can access to the entire publication here.
Find a text version below. Note that Cabbage Bay is referred nowadays as Colville Bay and that 100 miles from Auckland goes well beyond the boundaries of the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park.
FISHING IN THE GULF.
A FISHERMAN'S EXPERIENCE (To the Editor.)
Twenty-four years ago I was owner of a fishing yacht and a set of nets, and fished in the Thames Gulf. In those days it was quite common for two men to catch four hundred dozen schnapper in one tide. We received one shilling per dozen for our catch. Fourteen years ago I was master of trawlers fishing in the Hauraki Gulf. I caught five tons of fish in one lift off Cabbage Bay. The trawlers at that time were only old vessels converted. We used to make two and three trips a week and we would average nine hundred baskets of fish in that time; 25 baskets to the ton meant 36 tons a week per boat. All the fish were caught between Tiri and Cape Colville, Kauhui Island and Cabbage Bay. To-day we have up-to-date trawlers. They make one trip a week and cannot average six hundred baskets per week. Furthermore, if the trawler of to-day had to stay in the area mentioned above they could riot catch enough fish to feed the crew. Seining is the latest of the three methods, and it started about twelve years ago. It is exactly the same as trawling only they are allowed to fish inside the gulf. One small seine boat with two men could catch as much fish as a trawler if they were both working together under equal conditions. This was proved when some of our trawlers were converted into seine boats. Trawlers and seine boats in no way damage the spawning grounds, but they have depleted the gulf of fish. I would suggest closing the gulf for three years and allowing no nets to be operated within one hundred miles of Auckland.
CAPTAIN R. NIXON.
I find it fascinating that this topic was already being publicly discussed almost one hundred years ago. And what an excellent resource PapersPast is.