Review of sustainability measures – 2021 April round

Closing Date:
Contact: Sustainability review 2021

Update – 15 December 2020

Proposed rock lobster sustainability measures released

The National Rock Lobster Management Group and Fisheries New Zealand now welcome feedback on proposed sustainability measures for rock lobster stocks.

Review of rock lobster sustainability measures for 2021-2022 [PDF, 2.8 MB]

A summary table of all sustainability proposals, including rock lobster

Have your say

Fisheries New Zealand seeks feedback from tangata whenua and stakeholders on:

  • proposed changes to the sustainability measures for several selected fish stocks or stock groupings
  • a proposed s11 closure of Cockle Bay/Tuwakamana to intertidal shellfish harvesting.     

About the proposals

We review catch limits for selected stocks twice a year. This is consistent with the requirement that Fisheries New Zealand ensures the sustainable use of fisheries resources.

The proposals for each stock in this round were assessed:

  • in the context of the relevant statutory requirements
  • using the best available information, including the latest scientific information on the status of the stocks and tangata whenua and stakeholder input.

Full details are in the consultation documents.

On this web page is also:

Consultation documents

Making your submission

We encourage you to use the submission form template [DOCX, 75 KB]

Once you have completed the template, email it to

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

2021 Sustainability Review
Fisheries Management
Fisheries New Zealand
PO Box 2526
Wellington 6140, New Zealand.

The closing time for submissions is 5pm Friday, 5 February 2021.

If you have any questions or need hard copies of documents, email  

Summary of the proposals

Table 1: Stocks proposed to have the total allowable catch (TAC) reviewed as part of the 1 April 2021 sustainability round.



Fishing year



Red rock lobster CRA 1, 3, 4 & 5 (Northland, Gisborne, Wellington / Hawke’s Bay, Canterbury / Marlborough April

To ensure the rock lobster stocks remain above sustainable levels, it is proposed that moderate decreases are applied to the TACs of these stocks. Recent stock assessment updates indicate that, if current catch levels are maintained, the CRA 3, 4 & 5 stocks will see small declines in abundance over the next four years, while the CRA 1 stock will increase slightly.
Packhorse rock lobster PHC 1 (All of New Zealand) April

PHC 1 is a developing fishery. New science suggests that abundance has been increasing in recent years and there is a utilisation opportunity. We are proposing to set a TAC and allowances for the first time, while also proposing a small increase to the TACC.
Giant spider crab GSC 3, 5 and 6A (Chatham Rise, South East Coast, Southland and Southern Offshore Islands) April

Giant spider crab in GSC 3, 5 and 6A are entirely taken as bycatch, mostly by large trawl vessels targeting squid. Observer data from the squid trawl fishery are strongly suggestive of an increase in giant spider abundance since the stocks were introduced to the QMS in 2004. This suggests an opportunity for the TACs and TACCs of these stocks to be sustainably increased.
Blue cod  BCO 4(Chatham Islands) October 


It is a priority action of the National Blue Cod Strategy to set a TAC and allowances for this stock. No change is proposed to the current TACC set for this stock. 
Elephant fish  ELE 7(West Coast and Top of the South Island) October 

Based on current stock status and recent catch information Fisheries New Zealand is proposing modest increases to the TAC, allowance for other mortality to the stock caused by fishing, and the TACC for ELE 7. 
Flatfish  FLA 2(East Cape, Hawke’s Bay, Wellington and Taranaki) October 

The FLA 2 TACC has never been fully caught with catch historically well below the TACC. Information suggests that current catches are unlikely to be a risk to sustainability, but the sustainability of the TACC is unknown if catch were to increase to that level. This coupled with the fact that flatfish are typically found in harbours, estuaries and coastal waters where habitat degradation and pollution risks are of concern has prompted review of this stock. 
Giant stargazer  STA 1(Waikato, East and West Coasts of Auckland and Northland, Bay of Plenty) October 

STA 1 is a low knowledge stock. The increasing trend in commercial catch indicates that there may be an opportunity to provide for increased utilisation which is not inconsistent with the objective of maintaining the stock at or above a level that can sustain Maximum sustainable Yield (MSY). Accordingly, a small increase is proposed. 
Dark ghost shark  GSH 1(East Coast of Northland and Auckland, Bay of Plenty) October 

GSH 1 is a low knowledge stock, but best information available suggests there is room for increased utilisation. The TACC for GSH 1 was last reviewed in 2006, however no TAC, customary and recreational allowances, or other sources of fishing mortality have been set. 
Yellow-eyed mullet  YEM 9(Waikato, West Coast of Auckland and Northland) October 

Fisheries New Zealand is conducting a review of YEM 9, a low information stock, due to a potential sustainability concern with the current management settings. This concern arises from several factors: a consistent low level of catch in comparison to the TACC, known environmental degradation of some yellow-eyed mullet habitats, the potential for localised depletion in the Manukau Harbour, and recognition that yellow-eyed mullet play and important ecosystem role as a food source for seabirds, marine mammals, and other fishes. 


Table 2: Summary of proposed s11 closure of Cockle Bay/Tuwakamana to intertidal shellfish harvesting.   



Closure to the take of intertidal shellfish (Cockle Bay (Tuwakamana), Hauraki Gulf Coast of Eastern Auckland)

Recent results of the Northern North Island Intertidal Shellfish Survey suggest there is a potential sustainability risk to the cockle population at Cockle Bay (Tuwakamana) as the number of large cockles (≥30mm) has declined over recent surveys. The local community has also expressed concern about the current state of the beds. Closing the beach to intertidal shellfish harvesting would remove 1 anthropogenic pressure currently affecting the cockle population at Cockle Bay, alleviating the harvest pressure that could be affecting the ability of cockles to reach larger sizes.

If implemented, Fisheries New Zealand is proposing to review the closure after 3 years to determine whether the beach can be reopened for utilisation. The cockle beds would also continue to be surveyed periodically during the closure.

Legal overview

Our legal overview of sustainability measures provides the main legal requirements as they relate to decision-making on sustainability measures. It also references the relevant provisions in the Fisheries Act 1996.

Legal overview of sustainability measures [PDF, 288 KB]

Fisheries Act 1996 – NZ Legislation

Related information

Submissions are public information

Submissions made become public information. People can ask for copies of submissions under the Official Information Act 1982 (OIA). The OIA says we must make submissions available unless we have a good reason for withholding it. That is explained in sections 6 and 9 of the OIA.

Tell us if you think there are grounds to withhold specific information in any submissions you have made. 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. 

The National Rock Lobster Management Group

The National Rock Lobster Management Group is a national-level, multi-stakeholder group comprising representatives of tangata whenua, recreational and commercial fishing sectors, environmental organisations, and Fisheries New Zealand. Since its formation in 1992, the National Rock Lobster Management Group has acted as the primary adviser to previous ministers on catch limit, regulatory, and other management actions that apply specifically to rock lobster fisheries.

Current members of the National Rock Lobster Management Group are representatives of Te Waka a Māui Fisheries Forum, Te Ohu Kaimoana, NZ Sport Fishing Council, NZ Underwater Association, Forest and Bird NZ, Environmental and Conservation Organisations of NZ, NZ Rock Lobster Industry Council, and Fisheries New Zealand.


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