Tuesday, April 23, 2024

April Fools date for new catch limits

Commercial catch limits for some fisheries have been increased following a review showing stocks are healthy and abundant, Ocean and Fisheries Minister, Shane Jones said today.

The changes, along with some other catch limit changes and management settings, will start to come into effect from 1 April.

“Regular biannual reviews of fish stocks ensure there are plenty of fish to go around, for commercial, customary and recreational fishers alike. They also protect some species to ensure there are healthy and abundant stocks in future,” Mr Jones says.

Spiny rock lobster is one species that will, for a range of factors, have an increased catch limit in the southern fishery areas but will be reduced around Gisborne.

The spiny rock lobster is valued by customary, recreational and commercial fishers, supports local employment and is an important export, the Minister said.

“After reviewing its status, I have determined that the fishery on the south coast of the South Island, Stewart Island and the Auckland Islands can support higher catch limits while remaining healthy and sustainable,” said Mr Jones.

“However, I am concerned about the impact the 2023 cyclones may have had on spiny rock lobster stock near Gisborne. While it’s too soon to fully understand the impacts on this fishery, I have decided to reduce the commercial catch limit and the daily limit for recreational fishers as a precaution.”

The Minister said decisions about catch limits were based on the best available scientific information about the stock, as well as public feedback.

Every six months, catch limits are reviewed for selected stocks to ensure the settings are sustainable long-term and appropriate for customary, recreational and commercial fishers.

Fisheries New Zealand also looks at other measures to support healthy fisheries such as fishing gear and method restrictions, area closures and seasonal restrictions.

Mr Jones also announced that the Kaikōura recreational pāua fishery will be open for a limited season of two months from 22 April to 21 June 2024.

“I’m pleased to see that the pāua fishery at Kaikōura continues to recover following the 2016 earthquake. My decision to allow the temporary opening of the recreational fishery acknowledges that the fishery is doing well and can support some recreational take while it continues to recover.”

He said the amount of pāua taken will be monitored by an independent survey over the season, while Fisheries New Zealand will work with iwi and local stakeholders to consider adjustments if the catch threatens the continued recovery of pāua along the Kaikōura coastline.

Public consultation on the proposed changes took place between December 2023 and February 2024.

“I’d like to thank everyone who contributed. Feedback from tangata whenua, recreational and commercial fishers, environmental groups, and the public plays a significant part in the advice I receive and the decisions I make,” Mr Jones said.

More information can be found on Fisheries New Zealand’s website at: https://www.mpi.govt.nz/consultations/review-of-sustainability-measures.

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