Independent fishermen say they are being pushed out of Tauranga as council ignores pleas for more wharf space.
Members of the Black Fleet, a designation given to all working vessels, have to share 5 metres of truck-to-boat space between them at the public Cross Road wharf.
While private wharves are in the process of being built which will ease usage, fisherman are still angry.
"When you consider a backwater like Whangarei has 490 metres of space, Napier has 400, Gisborne has 286, and Whakatane has 80 it is ridiculous Tauranga only has 5 metres of truck to boat space," fishing captain Dan Harvey said.
Harvey said the newly opened $11.4 million Marine Precinct, operated by Tauranga City Council, did not cater for the needs of working fisherman.
"We had hoped the final design would have a seawall with additional truck to boat space," he said. "Instead they've sold the water edge privately."
Harvey has been fishing the Tauranga Moana (the seas of Tauranga) for 15 years. Over that time he has seen a decline in fishing vessels calling Tauranga home due to the lack of facilities. They take with them jobs and revenue.
Data compiled by different vessels showed on average each fishing ship employs eight people and turns over $1.4 million.About $1 million of that turnover is spent covering costs locally, including ice, fuel and maintenance.
"Ships are leaving," he said. "If I didn't have my family and daughter settled here I would leave as well.
"The problem is we can't get more than one truck to a boat at any time."
Captains coordinate arrival times before booking space. Despite this double ups occur as each ship uses the wharf 2.3 hours per visit on average.
"The precinct has chased the super-yacht market and forgotten about the needs of the working fleet," Harvey said.
Another fisherman, who asked not to be named, said they were forced to downsize so they could use smaller wharves in the district.
"It cost us a hell of a lot of money to do so," he said.
"It's hard being a fisherman in New Zealand you get pushed out of the wharves unless you're in a small town like Westport or Greymouth that is geared for fishing. Numbers are reducing across the country."
Council says the Marine Precinct caters for all water users and upgrade work is under way to assist fisherman.
Two private fishing companies have resorted to build their own wharf which council predicts will free up public wharf space by 40 per cent.
In the mean time, smaller vessels can use the smaller, Fisherman's Wharf in Dive Crescent to unload catch or can book space at the Port of Tauranga.
Since opening in August the Marine Precinct has serviced 28 vessels including a super-yacht, high-performance catermaran and a 298 tonne fishing vessel.
Twelve were 'white boats' and 16 were 'black boats' showing working ships are using the facilities.
Harvey says he hopes the precinct expansions will provide more facilities to fisherman as new travel lifts in Whangarei will create more competition.
"I'm worried all these super yachts they think will come to Tauranga will probably just not when that opens," he said.
"We're the ones that live here and will use these facilities year in and year out."
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