A Big Paddle for NZ Snapper E-mail
Written by Allen Bushnell   
Saturday, 25 January 2014 13:31

Forse.Map Our mate Jeff Forse is at it again. After representing New Zealand in the China/Australia/New Zealand CAN International Fishing Tournament last year, Forse will soon take off on an epic 500km paddle down the east coast of NZ. Along with partner Ali Seyfoddin, Forse plans to bring needed attention towards conservation of NZ’s vital snapper population. Sponsored by Ocean Kayaks NZ and Legasea, the powerhouse conservation group, Forse and Seyfoddin will take off in March from Cape Reinga at the top of New Zealand down to Great Exhibition Bay, through the Bay Of Islands (fishing capital of the world) and finally into central Auckland.

Of all gamefish in NZ, snapper is the main staple. The commercial fishery for snapper has long been contested, with factory boats from Asian countries often documented violating commercial fishing regulations and boundaries set by the NZ government. Like many recreational anglers, Forse is outraged at recent political developments related to the snapper fishery that may be teetering on a crash, much like the NZ tuna disaster of recent years.

snapper“We are not conservationists by profession but we do care about the environment we live in and we have a great passion to preserve and maintain our oceans and its fish so our children can continue enjoying the great New Zealand outdoors the same way we do. The change in snapper quota attracted our attention. And with us, a whole nation was worried about the future of recreational fishing. Everyone believes the commercial fishing or lack of sensible management in the commercial sector is responsible for the destruction of our fisheries. But recreational fishermen were the ones hammered at the end. Commercial quotas were not affected but increased!”

A good way to bring attention to this potential crisis, Forse thought, was to promote an epic paddle while spreading the word along the way. “Last year we completed a 350km paddle from Auckland to Tauranga but in a large group with a mix of sit-in and sit-on kayaks.” Forse says. “This year we have upped the challenge and will be using custom-coloured Ocean Kayak 4.7 Ultras."

OKNZ "We are still unsure of the record for paddling sit on tops but this will be right up there. We will carry our tents and bedding, picking up food and water supplies on the way. Ocean Kayaks is giving us the kayaks, which are being fitted out by Coromandel kayak guru Rob Fort with his new line ‘Rob Fort Series’.” After the trip, these kayaks will be raffled off with proceeds going directly to Legasea.

Forse refers to Legasea as “the mouthpiece for all New Zealand recreational fisherman and users of the sea,” and adds, ”They are there for the people not the corporate pirates who just want to catch everything and sell it. For Ali and I, we want our children and grandchildren to enjoy the amazing sights we have seen within New Zealand waters, whether its paddling with a pod of dolphins or orcas, or simply catching a feed of snapper and cooking it for tea. This resource is for everybody and no one entity has the right to take it all.”

kawau island practice paddle7 To prepare for the trip, these big paddlers are training with “some ridiculous paddles,” and will have an online tracker to show their progress once the Big Paddle begins. Jeff Forse is a safety and quality manager at Air Liquide New Zealand Ltd and Ali Seyfoddin is a scientist at the School of Pharmacy, the University of Auckland. “We have an understanding with each other, if the weather is right we keep paddling, if it is bad we rest. But mostly it’s the fishing that distracts us not the bad weather!”

Kayak Fishing Magazine will be following Forse and Seyfoddin on their remarkable journey and posting updates as we receive them. Further info can be found on these sites: 

https://www.facebook.com/oceankayakers
http://oceankayakers.com/ 

 

 

 

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