Fisheries New Zealand is asking for feedback on proposed changes to catch limits and other settings for four fisheries as part of its twice-yearly sustainability review.
Proposals include pāua, scallops, kina, and spiny rock lobster fisheries.
"Every 6 months we review a range of fish stocks to ensure their long-term sustainability so there are plenty of fish in the water for future generations," says Emma Taylor, Fisheries New Zealand's director of fisheries management.
"With over 600 stocks in the quota management system (QMS), it’s important that we prioritise which stocks we review. To do this we consider factors including strength of science, information we receive from iwi, fishers, and communities about their local fisheries, and environmental factors.
On Tuesday, the Minister for Oceans and Fisheries announced an emergency closure of the Coromandel scallop fishery, known as SCA CS, which will fully close the fishery.
Emergency closure of the Coromandel scallop fishery – Government media release
"New information about this fishery shows a serious decline in scallops, likely to be from a number of factors, including fishing. We have prioritised this fishery for review with proposals that include a longer-term sustainability closure and a decrease to catch limits and allowances."
Also being reviewed are catch limits, allowances, and recreational daily bag limits for pāua off the East Cape, Hawke’s Bay, Wellington, and Taranaki (PAU 2), and proposed restrictions to commercial kina dredging in Tory Channel, Marlborough Sounds.
A separate consultation will start around 10 January on proposals for rock lobster in the Northland area (CRA 1). This review will cover Total allowable catch (TAC) changes to give effect to the recent High Court Judgement for the fishery.
"Our proposals for these fisheries are based on the best available information, which tells us what's happening in our fisheries and helps identify what course of action to take. This includes feedback we receive from tangata whenua, fishers, and communities about what they are seeing in their local fisheries.
"Where information suggests more fish can be harvested sustainably, we look to increase catch limits. On the other hand, if stocks aren't as healthy, catch limits can be reduced to help the fishery recover, or in some cases like SCA CS, closures are considered.
Following public consultation, Fisheries New Zealand will analyse the submissions and provide advice to the Minister for Oceans and Fisheries for his consideration. Any changes to catch limits will be announced by 1 April 2023.
"Consultation begins today, and we encourage everyone who has an interest in these fisheries to have their say. Submissions can be made online by 5pm on 8 February 2023."