Winter means less free fish off-cuts for the needy

By Talisa Kupenga

The onset of Winter has seen a decrease in recreational fishing, meaning less free fish off-cuts for an Auckland marae to distribute to the needy. Papatuanuku Kokiri marae and the Outboard Boating Club (OBC), partners in the no fish waste initiative, say the decrease means many may go hungry.

Empty fish bins means more empty bellies.

Papatuanuku Kokiri Marae spokesman Lionel Hotene says "there is less people going out on the water, less people fishing, so we've seen a decrease from three pick-ups to about one a week. The drop off in the amount of fish has gone down to at least a quarter but that’s to be expected.”

In nine months, the marae has uplifted six tonnes of unwanted off-cuts from the OBC. This is distributed to South Auckland community groups and families for the needy, what is left goes into the marae community garden.

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Papatuanuku Kokiri marae volunteer Marcus Mikahere collects the off-cuts for a number of families he says "they will go hungry no doubt about that and that's a sad thing because they need the kai and they appreciate the kai when it is brought there."

In the Summer months up to 400 OBC boats go fishing each week. Come winter that numbers falls to nearly a quarter of that total.

Hotene says “with the amount of boating clubs that exist in Auckland we're hoping at least a few more can adopt or replicate the same initiative that OBC has taken."

Hotene is looking to meet soon with two other boating clubs in the hopes to grow the initiative.