Kaikōura’s pāua fishery reopens today after being closed for 5 years following the 2016 earthquakes that caused significant seabed uplift and damage to the marine habitat.
The decision follows public consultation and input from tangata whenua on recommendations from the Kaikōura Marine Guardians to reopen the Kaikōura Marine area to pāua fishing.
The opening for commercial and recreational pāua fishing covers the Kaikōura Marine Area and the northern coastline through to Marfells Beach and Cape Campbell until 28 February 2022 and will be closely monitored.
"We're really excited about being able to open the fishery. The health of the fishery will be closely examined to understand the effect fishing has on pāua," says Allen Frazer, Fisheries New Zealand's manager inshore fisheries south.
The closure of the fishery because of the earthquakes was unprecedented. Since then, research and monitoring has shown that pāua is recovering and can support some limited harvesting.
The cautious reopening introduces new rules and bag limits for gathering pāua along Kaikōura's coastline which include:
- a daily limit of 5 blackfoot pāua per person
- a minimum legal size of 125mm
- an accumulation limit of up to 2 daily limits of pāua per person. This means if you are gathering over 2 or more days you can only have 2 daily limits of pāua in your possession, including at home in the fridge or freezer
- no taking of yellowfoot pāua.
Pāua fishers can expect to regularly see Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) fishery officers throughout the short season.
"MPI fishery officers will be out along the coast and on the water. They’ll be visual and checking peoples’ catch. If you’re unsure about any of the rules or how to harvest pāua, talk to one of our team.
"Everyone who intends to fish for pāua has a part to play. The success of the opening and whether there’ll be future openings is reliant on people following the rules – they’re there to protect the resource," says MPI regional manager fish compliance, Howard Reid.
For further details on fishing rules for this area, download the free NZ Fishing Rules app
Four customary management areas (three mātaitai reserves and the Te Taumanu o Te Waka a Māui taiāpure) along the Kaikōura coastline will remain closed to both commercial and recreational pāua fishing for this time. The Waiopuka (Wakatu Quay) rāhui is still in place, meaning the area remains closed to all fishing.
To report any suspicious fishing activity, phone the MPI 0800 4 POACHER hotline (0800 47 62 24).