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Proposal to reopen the Kaikōura coastline to pāua, shellfish, and seaweed fishing for the 2022-23 fishing year

Have your say

We welcome your feedback on new proposals to reopen the Kaikōura coastline to pāua fishing for the 2022-23 fishing year. 

The Kaikōura coastline (Marfells Beach, around Cape Campbell, and south to the Conway River, and including the Kaikōura Marine Area) is currently closed to all commercial and recreational pāua fishing, as well as for most other shellfish and seaweed species (except rock lobster, scampi, octopus, and kina).

This area was opened to pāua fishing for a limited 3-month season last year (1 December 2021 to 28 February 2022) after being closed for 5 years following the November 2016 earthquakes.

Fisheries New Zealand invites your comments on the proposals to reopen the commercial and recreational pāua (blackfoot and yellowfoot) fishery.

On this web page find:

What's being proposed for recreational fishing?

This table summarises the options under consideration.

Management tool or method



Open the fishery from:

Option 1: 1 March to 30 April 2023 (2 months)

Option 2: 1 May to 31 July 2023 (3 months)

Daily limit

The existing accumulation limit of 2 daily limits will continue to apply.

Option 1: 5 pāua per person

Option 2: 3 pāua per person

Option 3: 2 pāua per person

The daily limit would now include both blackfoot and yellowfoot pāua combined.

Minimum legal‑size limit (MLS)

Blackfoot only.

Option 1: greater than 125mm (status quo)

Option 2: greater than 130mm

Option 3: greater than 135mm

The 80mm minimum legal-size for yellowfoot pāua will continue to apply.

Maximum vehicle and vessel daily limit

New measure.

Option 1: maximum of up to 2 daily limits

Option 2: maximum of up to 4 daily limits

Note: Fisheries New Zealand will commission a further independent recreational fishing survey to monitor the effectiveness of measures implemented during the next season. Consideration can be given to adjusting recreational measures during the season should catch exceed expectations.

What's being proposed for commercial fishing?

  • Open the fishery year-round.
  • Retain current TACC of 23 tonnes.
  • Voluntary measures under 2 fisheries plans will implement catch spreading arrangements (including fishing away from popular recreational fishing areas) and a 135mm+ minimum harvest size.

Other proposals

We also seek your feedback on these proposals:

  • Whether to open the Kaikōura coastline to all other shellfish and seaweed species fishing (except bull kelp, Durvillaea) at the same time as the recreational pāua fishery is opened. The closed area currently applies to most other shellfish and seaweed species (except rock lobster, scampi, octopus, and kina).
  • A temporary closure under section 186B of the Fisheries Act 1996 is in place at Waiopuka (Wakatu Quay), Kaikōura Peninsula, which applies to all fish, shellfish, and seaweed species. This area is included within Te Taumanu o Te Waka a Māui Taiāpure. There is initial support for this temporary closure to be either extended or included in an ongoing closure of the taiāpure.
  • Whether longer-term approaches for managing recreational pāua catch at Kaikōura should be explored further, such as voluntary fisher self-reporting and/or catch tagging systems used overseas for abalone fisheries.

Consultation documents

Kaikoura Recreational Fishing Reopening - October 2022 [PDF, 2.5 MB]

Background information

Our 2021 consultation web page has detailed background information on the history of the Kaikōura fishery closure and the limited 3-month opening of the commercial and recreational pāua fishery. You'll also find links to:

  • research reports on the recovery of fisheries resources along the Kaikōura coastline
  • the PAU 3 and PAU 7 fisheries plans.

Making your submission

Email your feedback on the proposals by 5pm on 30 November 2022 to

While we prefer email, you can post us your feedback to:

Inshore Fisheries Management
Fisheries New Zealand
PO Box 2526
Wellington 6140
New Zealand.

Submissions are public information

Note that all, part, or a summary of your submission may be published on this website. Most often this happens when we issue a document that reviews the submissions received.

People can also ask for copies of submissions under the Official Information Act 1982 (OIA). The OIA says we must make the content of submissions available unless we have good reason for withholding it. Those reasons are detailed in sections 6 and 9 of the OIA.

If you think there are grounds to withhold specific information from publication, make this clear in your submission or contact us. Reasons may include that it discloses commercially sensitive or personal information. However, any decision MPI makes to withhold details can be reviewed by the Ombudsman, who may direct us to release it.

Official Information Act 1982 – NZ Legislation