Following the “Historic Changes to Taupo Fishery” summary on TRM Daily Report (Click on 28 April in calendar), we received several enquiries from anglers concerned about the obvious decline in trout fishing activity in Taupo and on the Tongariro – now confirmed by the Taupo licence sales.
The sales decline of over 50% in the last 30 years deserves serious consideration.?
We referred them to DOC (Department of Conservation manage the Taupo fishery). One inmate, here last week during the school holiday, was so alarmed at the lack of active anglers and the state of access roads (- i.e. to Blue Pool etc.) he was demanding what could TRM do about it? Desperate stuff which I could not answer… So he was referred to SWMBO.
Eventually, after some brief website searching, TRM sent them more details with a 30 year survey of licence sales – provided below to directly compare local Taupo licence sales by DOC with those for the rest of NZ from Fish & Game. This upset them even more.
The results are revealing and confirms what anglers at TRM have been thinking and saying for yonks.
It is most encouraging to see how many people actually care so deeply about their trout fishery and react to this stuff.
i.e. Thank you to one angler who pointed out a mistake – when we suggested the fishery was worth $11M annually, he referred to the recent economic evaluation of the Taupo fishery which indicated it returned $27M to the local economy. He said you’d like to think that would carry some weight when so many rely on the trout fishing industry for their employment? But no.
Regretfully there is no effective promotional or marketing plan for fishing.
This is quite disappointing for any tourist industry which generates $27M to the local economy, to largely neglect to feature any advertising by those who benefit the most, for many years. Historically trout fishing is what Taupo/Turangi’s tourist reputation was built on. i.e. In the 1920’s the Government sponsored Zane Grey to visit and write about it. Since then they relied on the Government Tourist Department. ( See the posters photos below and on right..)
But they now rely on the goodwill of local retailers (like Sporting Life) and struggling motels (guess who?) and other small businesses – you know who we mean – to promote trout fishing for them. If TRM had not promoted the fishing benefits of this Taupo/Tongariro region for the last decade it would not have been prompted at all.
It is more remarkable when a tourist town like Taupo reports (Taupo Times April 29) on their front page how anxious it is to attract more visitors during the ‘shoulder’ and winter seasons to fill capacity in off-peak times. That is the very time when trout spawning runs peak.
Yet, apart from a few roadside signs, any real meaningful Council initiated promotion of trout fishing has been neglected for at least twenty years. (Last year their priority promotion was for weddings?)
Compared to the excellent promotion to attract tourists to the trout fishing in Rotorua, Otago and Southland, the local council and DOC have failed miserably.
(Then, the final straw – when TRM go the extra mile and erect a “Welcome to Turangi – Trout fishing capital of the World” sign – to replace the old council sign – a bitter and twisted council official immediately attacked – the very next day – to serve TRM with an Infringement Notice and $300 fine for not having a resource consent to change the sign with the same message? Unbelievable! Even though it was them who removed the old sign to refresh it to remove the previous Council’s logo…
Did you know a (SOS) “Save Our Sign” partition is available for signing at TRM reception. Or you could just email your thoughts. TRM will cover all that in much more detailed juicier story closer to the local elections. But I digress. )
When we discussed this issue with a local Taupo fishing guide he commented that the fall in demand for his services coincided with the deterioration of trout condition in 2005.
But the actual stats from DOC confirm the fall in licence sales commenced five years earlier – in 2000. So they cannot blame deteriorating trout condition as the reason.
The evidence of spawning runs monitored in the Waipa Stream and used as an index of fish in the Tongariro River (see Figure 2, P. 31 of the last Target Taupo – issue 67 dated October 2015 – by Michel Dedual) confirms the major fall in the run size did not happen until 2005.
In his article he blames – quote: “So the ‘type’ of angler leaving the fishery (reduced licence sale) is having an effect on both the CPUE (Catch Per Unit Effort) – DOC jargon for the number of fish caught per hour per angler, aka gooblygook? – and the catch inequality.” He says “The declining trend in licence sales seen between 1986 and 2013 is primarily driven by a sharp decline in the number of short-term (24 hour) licences sold. These are mainly sold to visiting anglers who are not familiar with the local waterways and, consequently, are less likely to be successful…”
Go to: http://www.doc.govt.nz/Documents/parks-and-recreation/places-to-visit/tongariro-taupo/target-taupo-67.pdf (or much easier just to stay at TRM as a hard copy of the Target Taupo is in every unit).
The six page article is a summary of a previous article and too complicated for a website blog to manage. We challenge all anglers to read it and understand it… He sums it up in his last para as follows:
“The objectives when managing recreational fisheries are primarily to sustain or improve the quality of fishing so that anglers remain satisfied, and to sustain the fish population. Anglers can be satisfied for several reasons, but maintaining or increasing the CPUE generally maintains or increases satisfaction. Therefore, if we assume that the CPUE is an important measure of the fishing quality, then we can conclude that average fishing quality has improved between 1985 and 2014.”
Do you agree? TRM would be very interested in your opinion to compare to DOC’s conclusion – “that average fishing quality has improved between 1985 and 2014.” – as we have checked with every fishing guide and fishy inmate we could find and have not been able to find any who share that view – indeed, the most common response was the exact opposite? i.e. that the average quality has deteriorated in that same period…
She claims the lack of any promotion of Taupo/Turangi fishing for at least the last twenty years is the most likely cause?.
What do you think?
Tomorrow TRM compare Taupo licence sales (below) with the rest of NZ’s fishing licences sold by Fish & Game – analysed since 1980, to identify the real reason for the decline in fishing licence sales. Don’t miss it…
Thank you to DOC for the schedule below: