Review of the CRA2 rock lobster fishery
Find out about changes to rules and catch allowances in the CRA2 rock lobster fishery, and the research and consultation that supported them.
About the CRA2 fishery
The CRA2 rock lobster fishery covers a large stretch of New Zealand's coastline. It includes the Hauraki Gulf and Bay of Plenty.
It's close to Auckland – New Zealand's biggest population centre – and supports a lot of recreational lobster harvesting. It's also an important fishery for tangata whenua and commercial fishers.
A map of the CRA2 fishery [PDF, 1.3 MB]
Changes to the CRA2 fishery and rules
A multi-stage rebuild plan is in place to help increase spiny rock lobster numbers in the CRA2 fishery.
- In 2018 we made changes to the commercial fishing rules.
- In 2020 we made changes to recreational fishing rules.
We're also doing research and monitoring in the CRA2 fishing area. This is helping to inform whether we need to make other changes to help rebuild the fishery.
Commercial fishing catch limit changes
The Minister for Oceans and Fisheries decided to significantly reduce the total allowable catch (TAC) for the CRA2 fishery for the 2018/19 fishing year to 173 tonnes. This included:
- new non-commercial catch allowances, of:
- 34 tonnes for recreational fishing
- 16.5 tonnes for customary Māori fishing
- 42.5 tonnes for other sources of fishing-related deaths
- a new total allowable commercial catch (TACC) of 80 tonnes.
The changes to came into effect on 1 April 2018.
Visit this web page to find out more about the minister's decision:
These changes were expected to double the number of rock lobsters in the CRA2 fishery in about 4 to 8 years. This rebuild timeframe depends on:
- the rate of new lobsters entering the fishery ("recruitment")
- how recreational catch is managed.
Recreational fishing rule changes
Following consultation, the Minister for Oceans and Fisheries made decisions on 2 measures proposed for recreational fishers in the CRA2 fishery. The measures were proposed by the National Rock Lobster Management Group.
- The recreational daily catch/bag limit was reduced from 6 to 3 spiny rock lobsters. This is to to help ensure recreational catch does not exceed the 34-tonne recreational allowance that was set from April 2018.
- Recreational fishers now need to clip the tails (telsons) of spiny rock lobsters. This is to help minimise the number that are taken illegally.
These measures came into effect on 1 July 2020. They followed the significant reductions to the commercial and recreational allowances from 1 April 2018.
Find out more about the decisions on the consultation web page.
2017 scientific assessment
A scientific assessment of the CRA2 rock lobster fishery was completed late in 2017. We also got feedback from tangata whenua and stakeholders. The assessment suggested that the number of rock lobsters in the area had probably dropped below its "soft limit". When a stock drops below its soft limit level, we need to take action to ensure that numbers rebuild.
The CRA2 scientific assessment summary document has information on:
- reference levels
- the soft and hard limits for the CRA2 rock lobsters
- how the CRA2 rock lobster stocks have changed in size since 1980.
Summary of 2017 CRA2 stock assessment results [PDF, 539 KB]
Who to contact
If you have questions about the review of the CRA2 rock lobster fishery, email firstname.lastname@example.org