The Chatham Islands rock lobster industry. (1970)
AuthorsClay, A. H.show all
A survey of all the potentialities of the Chathams reveals no individual drawback that cannot be overcome. The problem remains as to the cost of overcoming these drawbacks. As mentioned, government expenditure in the area over the last three years has averaged over $500,000 per year, which, on a per capita basis, would be equal to spending approximately $170 million on the population of Christchurch. Despite this great expense, the Chathams should not be abandoned as has periodically been suggested. The islanders themselves are very strongly attached to their land and have great faith in their islands’ future.
On the other hand, the dead weight of isolation will continue to overlay all efforts of development and progress. However, it must be hoped that some of the momentum generated from the rock lobster industry will be sustained, because the fate of the islands may well be decided, in the future, by the long-term benefits derived from fishing. One would expect that a more diversified fishing industry based on rock lobsters, shellfish and wet fish, will become increasingly a resident-population activity. This will undoubtedly attract some new settlers, and will provide for the islands a continuing source of employment and income at a level that will not be detrimental to non-fishing activities, but, with farming, provide a sound, dual economic base.