Sustainability measures set new fishing limits

Photo: MPI.

Fisheries New Zealand has today announced changes to catch limits for 14 fish stocks and the introduction of a full year-round closure to harvesting shellfish at Cockle Bay/Tuwakamana on Auckland's east coast.

Director of fisheries management, Emma Taylor, says the changes are part of a regular review to ensure the ongoing sustainability of New Zealand's fish resources.

"Our oceans and fisheries are important to all New Zealanders – they provide food for our whānau and jobs in our communities. By reviewing catch limits and other management measures, we help ensure their long-term sustainability for all New Zealanders to enjoy.

"Of the 14 stocks reviewed, catch limits will increase for 5 stocks, 4 will decrease, and 5 remain unchanged. A full year-round closure to the take of shellfish in Cockle Bay/Tuwakamana in the Hauraki Gulf will also be introduced.

The Cockle Bay closure will come into effect on 1 May 2021, which is when the beach would have previously opened under the current seasonal closure that is in place.

The following will change from 1 April 2021:

  •   •  Giant spider crab in the Chatham Rise, South East Coast, and Southland/Southern offshore islands (GSC 3, 5, & 6A) – increases to catch limits reflecting the increased abundance of stock.

  •   •  Red rock lobster in Gisborne (CRA 3) and Wellington/Hawke's Bay (CRA 4) – catch limits will decrease to ensure the stocks remain sustainable.

  •   •  Red rock lobster in Northland (CRA 1) and Canterbury/Marlborough (CRA 5) – no change to limits as stocks are currently at sustainable levels. These will continue to be closely monitored.

  •   •  Packhorse rock lobster nation-wide (PHC 1) – a moderate catch increase. Information shows this stock is doing well and more can be sustainability harvested.

Catch limits to the following will come into effect on 1 October 2021:

  •   •  Blue cod in the Chatham Islands (BCO 4) – a Total Allowable Catch (TAC) has been set for the first time. The commercial catch limit will remain unchanged.

  •   •  Elephantfish in the West Coast and top of the South Island (ELE 7) – no change to catch limits.

  •   •  Flatfish in the East Cape, Hawke's Bay, Wellington, and Taranaki (FLA 2) – catch limits will be decreased due to sustainability concerns if fully fished.

  •   •  Dark ghost shark in the East Coast of Northland, Auckland, and the Bay of Plenty (GSH 1) – a TAC has been set for the first time. Available information suggests there is an opportunity for increased utilisation. As such, a small increase to the Total Allowable Commercial Catch (TACC) has also been made.

  •   •  Giant stargazer (STA 1) in Waikato, Auckland, Northland, and Bay of Plenty – a TAC has been set for the first time. The commercial catch limit will remain unchanged.

  •   •  Yellow-eyed mullet in Waikato, the West Coast of Auckland and Northland (YEM 9) – a decrease to the catch limits to ensure sustainable management and respond to environmental impacts on the fishery.

"New science suggests packhorse rock lobster populations have increased in recent years, which means more can be sustainably harvested. A total allowable catch limit will be set for the first time and a moderate increase made to the commercial catch limit.

"The changes to catch limits for flatfish and yellow-eyed mullet take into consideration factors on the marine ecosystem that may affect productivity, such as habitat degradation or pollution.

"We review stocks in April and October every year, using the best scientific information available, to determine if changes are required to management settings to ensure our fisheries remain sustainable. If the science tells us more fish can be sustainably caught, then we increase the catch limits. However, if this information shows the opposite, we look to reduce the catch limits to help rebuild stocks.

"This information, along with feedback received from tangata whenua and public consultation, allows Fisheries New Zealand to provide the Minister for Oceans and Fisheries with advice on changing catch limits," says Emma Taylor. 

Click here for more information.

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Posted on 27-03-2021 22:32 | By Kancho

Overseas workers still are paid under NZ law so not necessarily cheaper. However a good work ethic which makes them more productive. They are here to work to send and take more money home. we pay people to stay home. NZ productivity is not good and we have more overheads in regard to labour costs.

If Kiwis won't do it...

Posted on 27-03-2021 13:03 | By morepork

...then there is little option but to import workers who will, whether it is harvesting the land or the sea. Most people who live here and have never been overseas don’t seem to realize that what we consider "poor" is "affluent " for some. It’s all relative. Companies import labour because it is cheaper than training locals and then having to pay them more. Whether that’s right or wrong, it is the reality. To limit "harvesting" only to locals is simply non-viable. In a way, we are helping people who are worse off than us and that is no bad thing, as long as we don’t simply exploit them.


Posted on 26-03-2021 14:39 | By Kancho

Mm a nice idea to employ only NZ nationals but is this is probably the same as harvesting on shore. Seems the to arduous on land for NZ people. Productivity has as far as I know quite poor in NZ. Fishing on trawlers away at sea worse than harvesting fruit a d veg it seems. That’s why we bring so many people to NZ. Has been so as long as I remember. Worse for growers with covid with fruit and veg rotting in the fields. I remember before covid kumara prices were high but no reliable workers picking them up. Winz sent people but they were unreliable and it was too hard for them


Posted on 26-03-2021 12:38 | By Let's get real

Interesting that they should use the phrase "jobs in our communities" when we have our largest fishing companies, year after year, outsourcing work to overseas workers just so that they can maintain and increase their consented catch. I believe we should strongly protect our economic zones but we should only allow NZ nationals to be employed in the harvesting of our resources. The fish don’t have to be harvested the way fruit and vegetables do, so there should be a stop to importing migrant workers to increase company profits. Train the unemployed.


Posted on 26-03-2021 12:13 | By dumbkof2

as long as these changes apply to every one, it will be good

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