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Review of management measures for the CRA5 (Canterbury/Marlborough) rock lobster fishery


A new consultation opened on 22 August and closed on 3 October 2018.

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Your views sought

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) and the National Rock Lobster Management Group sought feedback on new proposals to support the ongoing sustainable utilisation of the CRA5 rock lobster fishery.

What was proposed?

map of CRA 5 Quota Management and Kaikoura Marine Management Areas
CRA5 Quota Management Area (striped) & Kaikoura Marine Management Area (dark blue)

It was proposed that 2 new tools were introduced for rock lobster in the CRA5 Quota Management Area:

  • Telson clipping – a requirement for a recreational fisher to cut one-third of the central/middle telson off the tail fan of a rock lobster on taking. This is a way to mark a rock lobster to make it clear that it has been recreationally caught and therefore cannot be sold.
  • An accumulation limit of 18 rock lobsters (3 daily bag limits)
  • Bag and labelling conditions for a single day's catch.

Download an A4 map of the CRA5 Quota Management Area [PDF, 1.6 MB]



Background to the proposed measures

rock lobster with one-third of the central telson clipped
Rock lobster with one-third of the central telson clipped

There is a continuing trend of illegal fishing in the CRA5 fishery given the easy access to the resource, combined with high levels of stock abundance. If left unchecked, illegal take of rock lobsters can contribute to localised depletion and reduce the benefits that legitimate fishers can realise from the use of the resource.

The 2 proposed measures, telson clipping and an accumulation limit, are expected to discourage illegal black market sales of rock lobsters that are destined for the domestic market. Rock lobsters are valuable barter goods and illegally caught lobsters are often sold at a lower price than through legitimate channels, which can encourage local buyers to look for illegal product.

The particular illegal activity that telson clipping is intended to address is: 

  • the illegal sale of rock lobsters by opportunistic amateur fishers who sell or barter their catch for financial gain
  • covert poachers who conceal their activity under legitimate non-commercial fishing.

An accumulation limit is expected to limit the ability to store and transport large quantities of rock lobster where people deliberately exceed the daily bag limit or where the bag limit is consistently taken for potential sale or barter.

Small trial has proved effective

The 2 measures were introduced for recreational rock lobster fishing in a small portion of the CRA5 fishery, known as the Kaikoura Marine Management Area, in August 2014 and were based on initiatives put forward by the Kaikoura Marine Guardians. Telson clipping has been effective in the Kaikoura area in reducing the flow of recreationally caught rock lobsters illegally entering the commercial supply chain (such as restaurants and fish dealers).

Feedback is public information

Note that feedback you provide is public information. Your feedback may be the subject of requests for information under the Official Information Act 1982 (OIA). The OIA specifies that information is to be made available to requesters unless there are sufficient grounds for withholding it, as set out in the OIA.

You may wish to indicate grounds for withholding specific information contained in your feedback, such as information being commercially sensitive or personal information to be withheld. MPI will take such indications into account when determining whether or not to release the information. Any decision to withhold information requested under the OIA is reviewable by the Ombudsman.

Who to contact

If you have questions about these measures or about giving feedback, email