Home' Fish and Game : September 2016 Contents Fish&GameNewZealand
Swiftly and publically they pounce, attempting to
execute their target in a haze of colourful dialect.
Easy to do when hiding behind a computer screen.
Perhaps one of the biggest pitfalls of social
media though, is that misguided or ill-informed
information can spread like wildfire, snowballing to
create the veritable storm in a teacup. Contributors
to forums can be, and regularly are, taken at their
word on a subject based purely on their reputation
or number of followers rather than anything
tangible like expertise in the area being discussed.
They have the ability to whip the masses into
frenzy. If not quite dangerous, it can be incredibly
frustrating for those actually on the receiving end
of their false and often misguided dictum, with
plenty of time wasted trying to inject truth and fact
into discourse that is already raging.
Fish & Game is often the unfortunate and
undeserving target. A prime example is when
regulations are made – regional or national – that
find disagreement among online commentators.
Solid data and research may have led to the
decisions which are made, often only after much
debate between elected Fish & Game councillors.
Of course, those who don’t attend the meetings
at which the resolutions are made only get half
the picture. But because it’s easier to broadcast
a viewpoint than scientific rationale, facts and
figures, often the rumour is taken at face value by
an online audience that is equally poorly informed.
On the bright side, this demonstrates that there
are many passionate people in the angling and
ANGLERS ARE NO LONGER INCLINED TO SEEK WHAT’S AROUND
THE NEXT BEND IN THE RIVER... NOW THEY ASK ONLINE
hunting community. And if the organisation is not
engaging them at the council level – clearly evident
by lack of attendees at meetings and (in some
regions) elections – the challenge for Fish & Game
is how to tap into social media to get a much wider
It has to be said, though, that social media has,
undeniably, had unforeseen impacts on our fisheries.
As an acquaintance noted, “For 33 years fishing
looked after itself, and within two years Facebook
has stuffed it.”
Now that’s a fairly bleak viewpoint, and probably
overstating affairs, but it’s interesting to hear these
perspectives. But there are, indeed, countless cases
where the use of social media has precipitated a
rush on certain fisheries. Here, due to a mix of
brazen promotion of these rivers and catchments for
financial gain by outfitters and retailers, as well as
the usual Facebook catch bragging, such locations
are now very busy or even overrun with anglers from
all over New Zealand and the world.
Ironically, this has heralded a flurry of protests
about overpressure coming from – you guessed
it – the very people who have been promoting the
Then there’s the ‘evolution’ of the foreign angler.
Once, those who came to New Zealand from overseas
would employ the services of a guide to get them into
fish for at least part of their stay, certainly for the
backcountry leg. It wasn’t a requirement, it was just
the done thing.
Sure, non-residents have every right to fish here
without a guide at this point in
time, and no one can rebuke them
either for researching where to fish.
But in the age of the internet, and
most certainly social media, things
have changed and, arguably, it is for
the worst. Research now involves
‘hot spotting’ or ‘pirating’ of fishing
spots (using specifically developed
apps), whereby fishing locations
are taken off photos posted on
the internet, and the META data
is analysed to give specific GPS
THE WAY WE FIND FISHING AND HUNTING INFORMATION
CONTINUES TO EVOLVE AT A RAPID PACE
provides, yet as with many others, I like to keep
abreast of the recent happenings in fishing and
hunting circles and the internet caters for this.
There is now a huge amount of information available
at your fingertips, and it’s possible to shape that
to specifically what you’re interested in, be it of a
political nature through to instructional guides,
humour or anecdote, stories or reports, from around
the country or the world.
In New Zealand alone there is a plethora of
groups, forums and pages within Facebook alone
dedicated to hunting and fishing. The people who
run these are all dedicated to their pursuits and
know their stuff, many even have their own clothing
and media brands. Topics of discussion on these
forums are wide-ranging and at times can initiate
some rousing dialogue. Most pages/groups have
their core ‘attendees’ – a more vocal bunch (some
would say, addicted), seamlessly trawling through
every post and commenting at will. Others are just
happy to browse, keen to stay in touch with the news
and reports, occasionally chipping in with their
thoughts, but mostly keeping to themselves.
The point is, anglers and hunters are finding new
ways to use social media for their benefit. And the
ever-growing number of internet-based fishing and
hunting platforms proves this... beyond any doubt.
Many groups and organisations are regular users
of social media too, discovering that it provides an
excellent avenue to relate information to interested
people or stakeholders. And, it acts as a medium for
them to get feedback easily and directly from their
target audience. What’s more, few such tools can
match social media in terms of the huge numbers
of people that can be reached very quickly. Take
Fish & Game, for instance. The organisation has,
in recent years, extensively broadened its social
media channels via Facebook, Twitter and You Tube.
There’s a reason for this. The reality for companies
and organisations is blunt – if they don’t embrace
social media they will be, and are, left behind.
For all the opportunity though, the undesirable
aspects certainly can’t be overlooked. Firstly, a
couple of cautionary examples for the uninitiated.
Some participants get so fixated by their online
world they actually spend more time facing the
screen than fishing or hunting – to those of you
being referred to, there’s no hiding from the fact that
it does become quite obvious. Take note.
Then there are the commonly
labelled ‘keyboard warriors’. These
are the folk who, forgetting that
it is only fishing and hunting
being discussed at the end of the
day, pounce on individuals or
organisations if they dare hold a
counter view or, in the eye of the
antagonist, commit some form of
wrong-doing. They are interesting
creatures, these, often mild
mannered and reticent in everyday
life, but they develop fierce web-
based alter egos.
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