Kaikōura fisheries 2 years on from earthquakes

Media contact: MPI media team
Telephone: 029 894 0328

The 2016 Kaikōura earthquakes had a devastating effect on the coastline between Marfell's Beach and the Conway River, raising the seabed by several metres in some areas.

Since the earthquakes, Fisheries New Zealand has been working with the local community and leading New Zealand scientists to understand the impacts of the damage so that the area can be properly managed and recover for the benefit of all.

Director of fisheries management Stuart Anderson says an emergency closure, in consultation with the local Kaikōura community, was imposed after the 2016 quakes that applied to all shellfish and seaweed – excluding rock lobster (crayfish) and scampi.

"The closure is still in place to give the coastal environment time and space to heal," says Mr Anderson.

"To understand the impact and to plan future fisheries management in the Kaikōura area, Fisheries New Zealand commissioned a broad research programme. The $2 million Kaikōura earthquake marine recovery package funded a number of projects on particular species and the ecology of the marine area.

"The research has given us a good baseline to measure how the recovery is progressing and where we need to focus our attention in the future. Continued monitoring of how the recovery is progressing will inform future marine management options for when and how the current closure of shellfish and seaweed fisheries may be lifted.

"We would like to take this opportunity to thank Te Korowai, the Kaikōura Marine Guardians, and the wider local community for all their help and support during this time.

"It’s great that people are respecting the marine environment and not fishing in the closed area.

"Over this busy summer period, a lot of people will be fishing in neighbouring areas outside the closure so we want to remind people to just take enough for a feed, not to fill the freezer.

"Always check the rules before heading out to fish. The easiest way to do this is to download the free NZ Fishing rules app," Mr Anderson said.

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