On this page:
- About the National Rock Lobster Management Group
- The role of the group: its advice on sustainability measures and regulations
- Latest group annual report
- Open consultations
- National Rock Lobster Management Group members
- Minutes of group meetings
About the National Rock Lobster Management Group
The National Rock Lobster Management Group (NRLMG) is the longest standing collaborative multi-stakeholder fisheries group in New Zealand.
It provides advice to the Minister for Oceans and Fisheries on rock lobster fisheries issues.
Fisheries New Zealand is a member of the NRLMG. It has statutory obligations to advise the minister in accordance with the Fisheries Act.
While the minister maintains the right to seek independent advice from officials, Fisheries New Zealand endeavours to provide advice alongside the NRLMG.
The group's goal
Rock lobster fisheries will be managed and be maintained at or above the assessed and agreed biological reference points, using a comprehensive approach that recognises a range of commercial, customary, non-commercial, recreational, and environmental concerns and values.
The role of the group in rock lobster fisheries management
The NRLMG provides advice on:
- sustainability measures, including catch settings
- regulatory changes
- other management matters.
Sustainability measures for rock lobster, including catch settings
Each year, the NRLMG reviews the best available information from stock assessments and monitoring information to determine if changes are required to catch settings and regulatory controls for rock lobster fish stocks, to provide for their utilisation while ensuring their sustainability.
The primary focus of the sustainability round is to ensure catch settings (catch limits and allowances) are set appropriately for rock lobster stocks for the start of the coming fishing year.
The NRLMG selects rock lobster stocks for review based on best available information on stock status, sustainability risk, and utilisation opportunities. Stocks are scheduled for a full stock assessment every 5 years, and can be reviewed sooner if there is a sustainability issue that needs to be addressed.
The NRLMG provides advice to the minister on catch settings following statutory public consultation. The minister then sets catch settings for the upcoming fishing year.
The Fisheries New Zealand sustainability round process [PDF, 84 KB]
Recent sustainability catch setting reviews for rock lobster
Sustainability review for 1 April 2021
Sustainability review for 1 April 2020
Sustainability review for 1 April 2019
Regulatory changes for rock lobster fisheries
A suite of customary, amateur and commercial regulations are used to manage rock lobster fisheries, including:
- the authorisation and management of customary activities by Tangata Kaitiaki/Tiaki
- the use of customary management areas such as mātaitai, taiāpure, and temporary closures under sections 186A or 186B of the Fisheries Act
- the provision of minimum legal sizes, recreational daily bag limits, recreational accumulation limits, and telson clipping
- a prohibition against taking berried females (female carrying eggs) and soft-shelled rock lobsters
- method restrictions
- the requirement that all pots be fitted with escape gaps
- closed seasons in some areas.
Recent regulatory reviews for rock lobster
The NRLMG reviews regulations to ensure ongoing sustainability of rock lobster fisheries.
Introduction of recreational regulations for the CRA 2 rock lobster fishery
Introduction of recreational regulations for the CRA 5 rock lobster fishery
Find out more about fishing rules for rock lobster
Commercial fishing requirements
Biology and life cycle of rock lobster
Rock lobster biology [PDF, 674 KB]
Rock lobster life cycle [PDF, 422 KB]
Annual report on the group's activities
The NRLMG produces an annual report which covers all of its operations for the year, including work on sustainability measures and regulations.
The latest NRLMG annual report [PDF, 1.3 MB]
Active rock lobster consultation
Review of sustainability measures for selected fish stocks – April 2022 round
National Rock Lobster Management Group members
The NRLMG is a national-level, multi-sector group composed of an independent chairperson, representatives of the customary, recreational, and commercial fishing sectors, environmental interests, Ministry for Primary Industries fisheries compliance, and Fisheries New Zealand.
- Independent chair: Jonathan Dick
- Graeme Hastilow: Representing North Island and Chatham Island tangata whenua / Te Ohu Kaimoana
- Nigel Scott: Representing South Island tangata whenua / Te Waka a Māui me Ōna Toka Fisheries Forum
- John Holdsworth: Representing the recreational sector / New Zealand Sport Fishing Council
- Andy Stewart: Representing the recreational sector / New Zealand Underwater Association
- Barry Weeber: Representing the environmental sector / Environmental Conservation Organisations of New Zealand
- Mark Edwards and Malcolm Lawson: Representing the commercial sector / New Zealand Rock Lobster Industry Council
- Niamh Murphy (manager of fisheries compliance): Representing Government / MPI fisheries compliance
- Clifford Baird (senior fisheries analyst): Representing Government / Fisheries New Zealand
- Leyla Knittweis (principal scientist): Representing Government / Fisheries New Zealand
- Adam Slater (secretariat) Representing Government / Fisheries New Zealand
NRLMG Terms of Reference [PDF, 264 KB]
Meetings of the National Rock Lobster Management Group
The NRLMG holds about 6 meetings a year.
The full minutes from past meetings are available to download. If you would like minutes of meetings held before 2018, email NRLMG@mpi.govt.nz