Fisheries New Zealand is consulting on rule changes for recreational fishers to support wider measures to make sure that fishing for crayfish and pāua in the upper South Island is sustainable.
Proposed changes include a reduction in the number of pāua recreational fishers can catch and the number of daily bag limits fishers can store in Canterbury/Kaikōura (PAU3) and the top of the South Island (PAU7), as well as measures such as looking at the introduction of rock lobster telson clipping in Canterbury/Marlborough (CRA5) to help reduce illegal sale of crayfish.
Manager of inshore fisheries Steve Halley says the measures proposed are key to ensuring sustainable use of these important shared fisheries.
"Commercial pāua catch limits in PAU3 and PAU7 were substantially reduced in 2017, and we are now proposing a reduction in recreational fishing catch as well," says Mr Halley.
"Lowering the number of pāua recreational fishers can take each day will help the fisheries remain sustainable, and complements measures to help populations impacted by the 2016 Kaikōura earthquakes, recover.
"It will ease fishing pressure on localised pāua populations outside the earthquake-affected area, which is currently closed for most shellfish, as well as seaweed, gathering.
"In terms of the changes to crayfish rules in CRA5, the National Rock Lobster Management Group is proposing to introduce telson clipping, an accumulation limit, and bag and labelling conditions for crayfish caught in this area by recreational fishers.
"There is a higher than normal risk that poaching and black marketing activity will happen in the CRA5 Fishery so the proposal aims to reduce this risk. This is because the fishery is highly accessible, and has high levels of abundance.
"I want to encourage people to provide feedback on these proposals," Mr Halley says.
Submissions close at 5pm on 3 October 2018.