Annual Taupo license sales: National fishing license sales 1981 to 2014
The recent comparison of Taupo v’s Rest of NZ fishing license sales – see the dramatic decline in Taupo sales indicated in the graph above – triggered much discussion amongst TRM inmates and other anglers. We are grateful and reinforced by all the phone calls and feedback which confirmed this is of concern to so many Taupo anglers. Indeed, we received calls from some we had never heard from before which indicates the level of interest.
Both local and visiting tourist anglers asked if there were any earlier records to indicate if/how the Taupo fishery performed in the ‘good old days’ when it was promoted – to provide proof that promotion and marketing Taupo fishing would be successful. That was easy as the evidence from the earlier years was part of the reason for TRM’s report.
Following history of Taupo fishing license sales has been taken from an account of a study by Deryck Shaw in 1983 – which was condensed in a booklet – TAUPO – A TREASURY OF TROUT . This was commissioned by DOC’s predecessor – the NZ Wildlife Service, Department of Internal Affairs and the Central North Island Wildlife Conservancy Council to report on the economic activity generated by anglers, their profiles, fishing patterns and catch in the Taupo Fishing District.
In the forward, by the Governor General no less, Hon. Sir David Beattie complimented the authors and commented “They have produced what I am sure will be required reading for all those who have a serious interest in trout fishing in NZ, or in the many associated activities which provide us with considerable economic advantages and opportunity.” end of quote. Anglers who have complained to TRM suggest that these advantages and opportunities have been squandered and ignored over the last 30 years since that 1985 report.
It reports that in the 1948-49 season 9968 licenses were issued. By the 1953-54 season this figure had jumped to 25,774, then increased to 49,732 five years later. By 1973-74 the number of licenses sold had risen to 56,938 and continued to increase reaching 77,213 by the end of 1983-84 season.
In percentage terms the growth in sales over that 35 year period amounted to 674%.
The report estimated over 30% of the Taupo anglers fished the Tongariro River (excluding the Delta) in the 1982/82 season and suggests: “This high usage confirms the river’s international standing and it’s reputation as being the most important recreational river trout fishery in NZ.” But I am sure you already knew that.
Another angler questioned TRM’s basis – asking how the $29 million in business turnover was assessed? He asked if these figures were just ‘best guesses’ ? Fair question too.
To be asked such probing questions is wonderful as often we wonder about the level of apathy by anglers – i.e. when they failed to object to such controversial issues as the Tongariro flood control damage to spawning redds in the Braids or the Trout Centre being used to farm trout for local iwi.
So it is encouraging and refreshing to see how closely the report was studied by Tongariro and Taupo anglers.
The TRM report on 11 May claimed that thee were no other businesses with $29 million turnover that had no marketing plan or promotion budget or such poor accountability to stakeholders. That $29M figure was assessed as part of an economic impact assessment by APR Consultants in the December 2012 review prepared by DOC. We quote from their summary:
“…. the survey’s data enabled partial estimates of Taupo fishing visitors’ impact rather than undervaluing the fisheries per se. Conservative assumptions were made in order to generate a more complete estimate of Taupo visitors’ economic impact attributable to fishing.
Overall it is reasonable to assert that the Taupo fishery supports nearly 300 jobs, creates at least $29 million in business turnover, and adds $11 million to the size of the economy.”
That could be compared to Deryck Shaw’s economic impact assessment of the Taupo fisheries impact in year ended 1983 – estimated the total output (i.e. turmover) to be $10.8 million and 244 FTE’s (jobs created or sustained)
Between 1983 and 2012 the annual cpi inflation averaged 4.2% p.a. Taking into account GST increases an inflation adjusted impact to Shaw’s figures would be over $30 Million.
So anglers can observe that the two ‘estimates’ are of a similar quantum and been carefully calculated on a responsible basis.
Therefore it is reasonable for anglers – stakeholders – to question why DOC and Taupo Council have ignored the steady decline of fishing license sales over the last 30 years without any improvement in promotion or marketing? Taupo Council cannot afford to continue to ignore anglers and categorize them as just another tourist activity. They are far more important and deserve much higher status in the Council’s planning and budget.
In Shaw’s 1983 economic impacts report they assessed the assets – holiday homes, boats, camper vans, etc.) at $112.5 million with the average angler having $2493 worth of assets directly to fishing at Taupo. Using the same cpi inflation trend that must be worth over $350 million today.
The 1983 Shaw report concluded that fishing was identified as a significant part of regional tourist activity…etc. and went on to say “Angler tourism is a relatively “clean” activity with minimal environmental impact. The future potential for angler tourism is huge but needs promotion as confirmed by their conclusion – quote:
These findings reinforce the responsibilities of all authorities that have a direct or indirect role in the future maintenance of the fishery to ensure its preservation and enhancement.