Fisheries New Zealand is asking for public feedback on several proposed fishery regulation changes for the East Otago taiāpure, including a closure to recreational and commercial pāua fishing.
"These changes have been recommended by the East Otago Taiāpure Committee to help the declining fish stocks in the taiāpure rebuild," says inshore fisheries manager Steve Halley.
"We understand the importance of fishing to the community in this area, so we want everyone to have their say.
"Fisheries New Zealand will be seeking feedback from the public, stakeholders, and tangata whenua on the proposed closures, as well as other changes to harvesting of kelp, the use of set-nets, and filleting of fish at sea in this area.
"Research is showing the number of pāua in this area has declined over time. Some of the measures so far have included cutting the bag limit for pāua within the taiāpure from 10 to 5 and closing 2 areas to pāua harvest. However, these measures have not been enough to stop the decline.
"To assist a rebuild, along with the proposed closure, Kati Huirapa and Otago University plan to reseed depleted areas within the taiāpure with juvenile paua.
"This proposal is an innovative idea to support the stock rebuild and future sustainable use of fisheries within the taiāpure. The proposed regulations will also make better provision of the recognition of rangatiratanga under the Treaty of Waitangi.
What is a taiāpure?
A taiāpure is a special management area for tangata whenua. It is an area that has customarily been of special significance to iwi or hapū either as a source of food or for spiritual or cultural reasons.