Fisheries New Zealand is reminding people that the Kaipara Harbour closed for recreational scallop fishing on Tuesday.
Director of fisheries management, Stuart Anderson, says the closure has been put in place to help rebuild the scallop fishery for future generations.
"We make fisheries management decisions based on the best available scientific information.
"The latest scientific information is showing scallop abundance in the harbour is at its lowest on record, so we’ve taken action to protect it," Mr Anderson says.
"Scallop abundance varies from year to year. However, there appears to have been an overall decline in scallop abundance and distribution in the Kaipara Harbour over the last 60 years.
"Commercial scallop fishing in the harbour has been closed since 1986, and this new closure is a further step to help the scallop fishery to rebuild.
"We understand the importance of this area to the community and know that scallops have been traditionally important to recreational fishers.
"The closure decision was made after extensive consultation with stakeholders, public and tangata whenua as part of Fisheries New Zealand’s twice-yearly review of catch limits.
"When our fish stocks are declining, we decrease catch limits, and in some cases, if it’s necessary we will close the fishery, like the Kaipara Harbour. As the fish stocks recover we can increase the amount people catch.
"While the closure is currently open-ended, we will continue to review the closure as results from further research becomes available. A broader focus to address issues related to the habitat in the Kaipara Harbour will also be required to restore the fishery" says Mr Anderson.
The Kaipara Harbour is closed under section 11 of the Fisheries Act, and the closure has been effective since 23 October 2018.