Sport fishing and the rules
In Episode 5 of our 2011 series, 'A Life Apart', we showed a sea-run brown trout caught in a net and apparently being taken away from the river to be eaten, which would clearly breach fisheries regulations.
The only legal way to catch sport fish like trout or salmon in a river, or on a beach near a river-mouth, is by rod and line.
Everyone who wants to catch sport fish must get a license from Fish & Game, and with it they'll get a copy of the regulations.
These rules, which are at www.fishandgame.org.nz/Site/Regulations make it clear that if you catch a sport fish as a by-catch in a net, it MUST be returned to the water, dead or alive.
The fisherman in our programme set his net to catch mullet or kahawai - but, having accidentally caught a brown trout, he was obliged to return it.
What happened in our programme appeared to break the rules because we wanted to show that fish like mullet are an essential part of his family's diet.
Unfortunately, during our crew's brief visit, the only fish he caught was a brown trout. At this point we showed bad judgement by creating a scene in which he appeared to take the fish away to eat.
The sport fishing regulations are in place to ensure sustainable fish numbers are maintained and Country Calendar fully supports them. It was not our intention to show the rules being broken - we would advocate all fishers to keep within them.
- Julian O'Brien, producer