Shortages of Fish
Shortages of Fish
Naval minesweeping requirements had seriously reduced the number of trawling vessels available for fishing. Supplies of fish became inadequate to meet local needs. A local daily,1 in October 1943, hit out at this particular shortage:
‘Of all food commodities, one which should be in abundance in this country is fish. It is true that in the last two years of war commandeering of large trawlers for defence purposes, together with restrictions placed on fishing in special areas, has hampered the harvesting of food from the sea. It is true also that the fishing industry, like other industries, has been depleted of skilled manpower. Taking these facts into consideration, however, it has to be said that the fish industry—reduced as it has been by lack of encouragement from State departments, control of manpower, and other essential priorities to the status of an industrial Cinderella and hedged about with a multitude of regulations—has made probably the poorest showing against wartime adversity of any important productive enterprise.
‘As the position stands the public are the sufferers in a needless famine. During the past year or so a system of discrimination in the allocation of fish supplies during frequent periods of particularly acute scarcity seems to have been introduced. In Wellington this week, for example, it was reported that certain supplies of fish could be sold at auctions only to restaurants and hotel keepers. Other supplies—apart from those very properly reserved for hospitals and similar institutions—may have found their way to favoured consumers, but the rank and file of retail buyers were again denied fresh fish….’
Despite this shortage of fish on the New Zealand market, about a fifth of all the fish marketed continued to be exported to Australia.