This post is comprised of a letter that I handed to the manager of a local fishing and tackle store yesterday. It's to do with a fisho-political shitfight that's going on in this town right now. To put it in some kind of perspective, there is a petition campaign waged by two recreational anglers to stop netting in Oyster Harbour on the premise that the by-catch is largely under sized black bream. It's an easy petition to get signed in the macho-charged environment of a fishing and tackle shop.
Commercial fishos, those shadowy, old families of the town are, well, upset to say the least.
Yesterday, I bought my yearly quota of wet weather gear there (really nice purple quilted, waterproof jacket and plastic pants, yay). I spent the money I'd earned catching fish - totally appropriate I thought, until I saw the petition. It was a moment. It made me feel like a total fuckwit, for handing money to this man. The only way to get the shit off my liver was to give him this letter.
Dear manager of major local fishing and tackle store,
I have been fishing Oyster Harbour commercially for a couple of years. This morning I bought from your store some wet weather gear and Polaroid sunglasses. I noticed that I handed my cash (from netting black bream) to you over the top of Robertson's petition on the counter. The irony does not escape me.
Robertson's petition is premised on the slander that we as commercial netters catch under size bream and kill it. We use large mesh and rarely catch under size fish as a result. If we do catch under size bream, anyone who knows the fish can tell you that they remain alive for a long time and so, consequently, are thrown back alive. It's easy for people to get hysterical about the netting of fish if they don't know these facts.
Over the years I have bought tents, shoes, raincoats, fish cleaning gear, fish smokers, lures and many other items from your store. Today for the first time, the money transaction made me feel sick and a bit used. I looked around at all the anglers' gear and back at the petition. I thought about Robertson's plan for a Black Bream Classic. I realised that as a small local business, you are not supporting the community, only looking after your own best interests.
This petition is slanderous against a small minority of workers who make their living in an honest and sustainable manner. You are helping to perpetuate this slander in order to sell more fishing rods.
As a result, I will no longer shop at your store. I will go the the nation-wide franchise along the highway and encourage other people who support local commercial fishers to do the same.
It's been a week - the Toa in me is sniffing the wind and getting more annoyed by the moment. I really feel for those old Albany fishing families who are having to justify their existance against this kind of leisurely bullshit.