Proposed fishing rules could put fish and chip shops out of business

Proposed fishing rules could put fish and chip shops out of business

If you like buying a bit of fresh fish for dinner every now and again then bad news – it might soon become harder to get your hands on it if you live around Auckland.

It's especially bad news if you're one of the many people who stop in at the famous Piako Pete's Fishing shop near Thames.

Pete Thorburn is worried he might have to stop selling his famous flounder because of proposed new fishing rules.

But he's got a better plan.

Piako Pete and his wife Gail Thorburn get a lot of customers. Some say it's the best in the country and the shop has become a bit famous.

But he's worried about losing the job he loves and has been doing for two decades.

Mr Thorburn fishes in the inner Hauraki Gulf and the government want to reserve the inner Hauraki Gulf for recreational fishers so commercial fishers like Mr Thorburn would be banned.

The couple say recreational fishes catch mostly snapper but they catch flounder.

But they aren't the only ones who are worried.

Bob Lovett has been running his Remuera shop for 20 years. The shop has been there for 100 years.

If the new rules go ahead, he will not be able to get fish off the smaller fishing businesses fishing close to the shore and his shop will close.

Back in Thames, Mr and Ms Thorburn have a plan.

The government should ban big commercial trawlers from the area but allow the forty-odd small commercial fishers to keep fishing there.

"They say they support small business but this is just the opposite. Every single fisherman is a small businessman. We're just basically being told to go away," says Mr Thorburn.

So he decided to start a petition to save his shop. In less than three weeks they have gathered 400 signatures.

For Piako Pete, it's about the job he loves.

"Once you've been doing it for a while, it sort of gets in you and you can't get away from it no matter what you do."