Million Dollar Snapper Swims Into Auckland Harbour
Give a man a fish and he’ll feed his family for dinner; give a man the opportunity to capture a Million Dollar Snapper and he could be shouting his family out to dinner for the rest of their lives!
Headed for Auckland this April is a new fishing competition with a million dollar price tag attached to its fin. From Friday April 10 to Sunday April 19, an expected 3,000 keen recreational fishers will head out into the greater Auckland area in the hopes of reeling in their biggest catch ever.
An innovative ‘catch and release’ competition, the Million Dollar Snapper Challenge has been created by Prestige Events in consultation with NIWA, the Ministry for Primary Industries and the New Zealand Recreational Fishing Council utilising smartphone technology to allow fishers to participate, and at the same time contribute important data for research.
Prior to the competition start date, official NIWA staff will tag and release 50 snapper into the greater Auckland area. Each tagged snapper corresponds to a major prize – one of which has an incredible prize of $1,000,000, payable in annual installments of $50,000.
There is also an additional $250,000 in prizes must be won including a Fryan/Honda Marine Boat package, an Isuzu D-Max Ute and much more, making it the richest prize pool of any fishing competition in the country.
Dave Baty, Managing Director of Prestige Events is extremely passionate that the competition be a catalyst for fishing education and understanding of the sustainability of fish populations.
“The Million Dollar Snapper Challenge is innovative on every level – designed to allow fishers an exciting day of fishing with a very significant prize at stake, but utilising education and technology to minimise the impact on the fish stocks.
“We’ve looked at all the ways catching and releasing fish can be done most effectively and with as little stress to the caught fish as possible. This is a great opportunity to educate those that have never entered a fishing competition previously, but also re-educate those that have entered competitions over the years,” he says.
“We plan to set a new standard for the way in which fishing competitions are carried out,” he says.
Each registered competitor will be supplied with an innovative Kabura Slowjig, designed to lure in and capture snapper through the lip (the least harmful place to hook the fish), as well as an official fish handling cloth designed to keep human hands off the fish as much as possible.
Upon catching a snapper, competitors are asked to take a picture of their caught tagged fish using the official competition app (fish4all), which enters it into the competition for largest snapper as well as the draw for prizes.
Data gathered from each caught fish is fed back to NIWA to provide insights and enabling representatives to be better informed on the total recreational catch when attending fisheries management and allocation forums.
Those lucky enough to catch a tagged snapper can use the app to register their win the moment they catch it – the tag can then be removed from the fish and the fish returned to the sea or kept for eating.
Tony Craig, Partner and Creator of the ‘fish4all’ app believes keen recreational fishermen will only benefit from being able to record where, when and how many fish they catch – creating a greater insight into New Zealand’s fish stocks and recreational interest in them.
“The App has so much downstream potential for the recreational sector beyond just data” Tony said and believes “…through “responsibility” the sector will take back control of its destiny”.
Fisheries Scientist and Group Manager Fisheries and Marine Ecology for NIWA, Bruce Hartill is interested to see how recreational fishermen take the app, the Kabura Slowjig and cloth on board in the coming competition.
“Personally I feel that any shift from meat harvesting to catch and release fishing would be a step in the right direction, as long as the fish are released in good condition. At the end of the day there are only so many fish in the sea.”
Prizes are awarded at the end of the competition and are based on the measurement of the caught fish – not weight, so it remains with the individual whether to keep their catch or release it to be caught again another day.
“The Hauraki Gulf is one of Auckland’s premiere fisheries so we want to encourage people to get outside with family, friends or colleagues and enjoy the challenge that fishing brings,” says Baty.
Proceeds from competition entry go to Cure Kids, the Auckland Coastguard and Bluelight Foundation charities.
For further competition details and registration head to www.snapperchallenge.co.nz