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Proposal to reopen the Kaikōura Marine Area to pāua fishing

Have your say

The Kaikōura Marine Guardians (the Guardians) has made recommendations to reopen Te Whata Kai o Rakihouia i Te Tai o Marokura (Kaikōura Marine Area) to pāua fishing later this year. 

The Kaikōura Marine Area extends between the Clarence River in the north and the Conway River in the south, and includes the Kaikōura Peninsula. 

We’d like your feedback on:

  • reopening the Kaikōura Marine Area to pāua fishing
  • extending this reopening further north to Cape Campbell/Marfells Beach.

Summary of proposal

The Guardians recommend the following management measures for the recreational pāua fishery within the Kaikōura Marine Area. If approved, these same management measures would apply to the extended area.

  • Reopen the pāua fishery annually from 1 December to 1 March (beginning 1 December 2021).
  • A lower daily bag limit of 3 pāua per person, with an accumulation limit of 6 pāua per person. Prior to closure, a daily limit of 5 pāua per person and an accumulation limit of 10 pāua per person applied.
  • A new vehicle and vessel limit of 4 daily limits (which means 12 pāua per vehicle or vessel) or 1 pāua per person, whichever is greatest.
  • A larger minimum legal-size limit of 130mm in shell length for black-foot pāua. Prior to closure, minimum legal-size limit was 125mm in shell length.

The Guardians also recommend:

  • a specific measuring and harvest tool for the Kaikōura recreational pāua fishery
  • reporting of recreational pāua catch using a smartphone app.

Both would be voluntary, pending work to determine their feasibility.

The proposal does not include recommendations for changes within the 5 customary management areas.

Consultation documents

Proposal to reopen the Kaikōura Marine Area to pāua fishing – Discussion document [PDF, 1.7 MB]

Te Whata Kai O Rakihouia I Te Tai O Marokura — Kaikōura Marine Area & Section 11 Closed Area – Map [PDF, 369 KB]


Related information

The Kaikōura Marine Guardians’ proposal and recommendations letter [PDF, 262 KB]

New Zealand Fisheries Assessment Report – Pāua abundance trends and population monitoring in areas affected by the November 2016 Kaikōura earthquakes [PDF, 2 MB]

Pāua population monitoring following the November 2016 Kaikoura earthquakes [PDF, 1.5 MB]

Rocky reef impacts of the 2016 Kaikōura earthquake: extended monitoring of nearshore habitats and communities to 3.5 years [PDF, 5 MB]

Recovery of juvenile pāua along the Kaikōura coastline [PDF, 12 MB]

Subtidal changes and recovery along the Kaikōura coastline [PDF, 4.7 MB]

Find out more about the Kaikōura research programme [PDF, 4.2 MB]

Media release: Kaikōura research presentations

PAU3 fisheries plan [PDF, 352 KB]

PAU7 fisheries plan [PDF, 684 KB]

Summary of PAU3 commercial management measures [PDF, 188 KB]

Summary of PAU7 commercial management measures [PDF, 411 KB] 

Making your submission

We’d like your answers to these questions:

  • Do you support reopening the Kaikōura Marine Area (Clarence River to the Conway River) to pāua fishing?
  • Should this reopening extend further north from Cape Campbell/Marfells Beach to the Conway River?
  • If the fishery is reopened, do you support the following proposed management measures for the recreational fishery:
    • 1 December to 1 March fishing season (beginning 1 December 2021)
    • A lower daily limit of 3 pāua per person with an accumulation limit of 6 pāua per person.
    • A new vehicle and vessel limit of 4 daily limits (which means 12 pāua per vehicle or vessel) or 1 pāua per person, whichever is greatest.
    • A larger minimum legal-size limit of 130mm in shell length for black-foot pāua.
  • Are there any other measures you would like us to consider on the proposal to reopen the Kaikōura Marine Area or extended area to fishing? This could include reopening the kina fishery.

Send us your feedback by 5pm on 5 July 2021.

Email your submission to

Include “Kaikōura Pāua Fishery Consultation” in the subject.

While we prefer email, you can post your submission to:

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

What to include

Make sure you tell us in your submission:

  • the title of the consultation document
  • your name and title
  • your organisation's name (if you are submitting on behalf of an organisation)
  • your contact details (such as phone number, address, and email).

Background to the Kaikōura pāua fishery closure

Since the 2016 Kaikōura earthquakes, the coastline between Cape Campbell/Marfells Beach and the Conway River has been closed to fishing. This includes most shellfish and seaweed species. 

This closure is in place to protect the surviving pāua populations and associated habitat, as well as other shellfish and seaweed resources along the earthquake-affected coastline.

Research shows there are encouraging signs of pāua recovery since the closure, with an increase in biomass in the area. Areas with lower levels of uplift have more pāua than areas with higher uplift.  

Many pāua are in shallow, open habitats and are easily reached from shore. This means we need to be careful to make sure this important fishery can fully recover.

The Guardians provide the Government with advice regarding the Kaikōura Marine Area on any biosecurity, conservation, or fisheries related matters.  This proposal is made within the context of that role.

Submissions are public information

Note that any submission you make becomes public information. People can ask for copies of submissions under the Official Information Act 1982 (OIA). The OIA says we have to make submissions available unless we have good reasons for withholding them. That is explained in sections 6 and 9 of the OIA.

Tell us if you think there are grounds to withhold specific information in your submission. Reasons might include that it's commercially sensitive or it's personal information. However, any decision MPI makes to withhold information can be reviewed by the Ombudsman, who may tell us to release it.

MPI may post all or parts of any written submission on its website. We will consider that you have consented to its publication, unless clearly stated otherwise in your submission.