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Foreign anglers could pay more to fish in New Zealand: minister

(Xinhua)

13:23, March 09, 2012

WELLINGTON, March 9 (Xinhua) -- Foreign anglers wanting to fish New Zealand rivers and lakes might soon have to pay more for the privilege than their local counterparts, the New Zealand government announced Friday.

The government was considering a proposal to establish differential fishing licences for overseas anglers, Conservation Minister Kate Wilkinson said in a statement.

Wilkinson said she had asked Fish and Game New Zealand, the agency that manages sports fish and game, to provide a report on the rationale on for a non-resident fishing licence and charging a differential licence fee for visiting anglers.

The report, which included input from the Department of Conservation (DOC), then went out for public consultation.

Wilkinson said New Zealanders were understandably passionate about their trout and other sports fisheries and backcountry angling was a major tourism drawcard.

"Surveys by Fish and Game show that international anglers typically target these remote waters more intensively and over longer periods than New Zealand anglers," said Wilkinson.

"Fresh water fisheries are expensive to maintain and while visiting anglers use these waterways frequently they contribute less to their management than local anglers.

"A non-resident licence has been proposed as a means of developing a pricing structure that is both more equitable to the New Zealand anglers who helped create and maintain the fisheries, and consistent with other high-quality international fishing destinations."

About 70 submissions were received from the public, 66 percent of which supported establishing a non-residents licence and charging a higher licence fee for non-residents.

"Such input will help ensure any new licence is well targeted and achieves the desired outcomes for the management of New Zealand's renowned recreational freshwater sports fishery," Wilkinson said.

The Fish and Game Council and DOC would consider the submissions and undertake further discussions with interested parties, including iwi (indigenous Maori tribal groups).

A proposal for any new non-resident sports fishing licence, including appropriate fee level and other advice, would then be provided to the Conservation Minister for consideration.

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