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Fishing guides planning to take clients to fish in Gore district rivers may need a resource consent to do so.

Gore District Council planning manager Dean Balkin said that in the Gore District Plan, a commercial recreational activity was not a permitted activity in the rural zone, which covered most of the rivers in the district.

“Therefore, with anyone wanting to conduct that sort of activity, we invite them to discuss it with us so we can fully understand what they are doing, and then advise if it needs a resource consent.

“This allows us to understand if it is already a long-standing lawful use [before consent was required], or a new one starting up, and any other aspects about the activity.”

No consents had been issued since the district plan came into play in 2006, he said.

Mataura man Phill Joostens submitted a resource consent application to the Gore and Southland district councils earlier this year to start a rafting business on the Mataura River and is awaiting approval. The application has met with opposition from anglers.

Mr Joostens said that in the process of preparing his application, he became aware of which activities were allowed on the river.

” I have since realised that no commercial activity is permitted in the rural zone within the Gore or Southland District Councils.

“That includes commercial fishing guides.”

Advice he received from planning consultants was that those commercial guides would require a resource consent from the council as part of their commercial activity.

“I assume the council will apply the rules equitably in terms of commercial ventures [and] I look forward to being an affected party to their consent applications.”

There are more than 15 professional fishing guides who belong to the New Zealand Professional Fishing Guides Association in Southland-Fiordland listed on the group’s website.

National president Serge Bonnafoux could not be contacted for a comment.