Sunday, May 19, 2024

Kaikōura pāua fishery opens

The recreational pāua fishery along the Kaikōura coast will open today for a limited two-month season, Fisheries New Zealand has announced.

The fishery was closed for almost five years after the 2016 earthquake which caused significant uplift affecting the marine life and the coastal environment around Kaikōura and South Marlborough, said Fisheries New Zealand principal analyst, Howard Reid.

“This is the third recreational season since the earthquake and, while it’s good to see the pāua fishery recovering from the severe impacts it faced, this limited season takes a precautionary approach to support its continued recovery,” said Mr Reid.

Options to reopen the fishery for a 2024 recreational fishing season were publicly consulted as part of Fisheries New Zealand’s regular sustainability review for the April fishing year.

Consultation: Review of sustainability measures for fisheries – April 2024 round

“We received feedback from across a range of interests, mostly in support of opening the fishery for two months,” says Mr Reid.

“We’ll be closely monitoring the fishery during the season and keeping in touch with iwi and the local community on what they’re seeing. This information will help us estimate the level of recreational take, and what adjustments might be needed for future seasons.

“The pāua has improved to a level that can sustain some fishing activity, however it’s important that people follow the rules and take only what they need for a feed so the fishery can continue to provide for future generations.”

The daily bag limit for the area is three pāua per species per person from Marfells Beach to the Conway River with a minimum size of 125mm for blackfoot pāua and 80mm for yellowfoot pāua. When gathering over multiple days, there is a maximum accumulation of two daily limits.

“There are some areas in the region that remain closed or have lower bag limits and different minimum sizes for pāua. These include a marine reserve, two mātaitai, and two taiāpure,” says Mr Reid.

“People should check the rules before they go out to make sure the area is open and that they know the applicable size and daily bag limits. Only those actually gathering can take a daily limit, as you cannot take for other people. Fishery officers will be patrolling the coast and checking people’s catch during the season to make sure the rules are being followed.”

The limited recreational pāua season will close on 21 June 2024.

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