Review of the CRA2 rock lobster fishery

New Zealanders are getting involved to help rebuild the CRA2 fishery's rock lobster population. This includes MPI, customary and recreational fishers, and the fishing industry. Learn what's happening, and how you can help ensure our shared fisheries remain sustainable.


The CRA2 fishery covers a large stretch of New Zealand's coastline. It's close to Auckland — New Zealand's biggest population centre — and supports a lot of recreational lobster harvesting. It's also an important fishery for tangata whenua and commercial fishers.

A scientific assessment of CRA2 in 2013 suggested that the rock lobster stock was below the agreed target level but was not at risk of collapsing.

Catch limits were set to rebuild the fishery

  • The Minister for Primary Industries reduced the commercial catch limit by 36 tonnes (from 236 to 200 tonnes) from April 2014 to help rebuild lobster numbers.
  • The CRA2 industry then volunteered to further cut their commercial catch limit to support a rebuild. For 2016 and 2017, the voluntary commercial catch limit was set at 150 tonnes (down from 200 tonnes).

Why are we reviewing the CRA2 fishery?

Even though catch limits have been reduced, fishers are still telling us there aren't enough lobsters. This is especially a problem in areas of the fishery that are under more intense pressure from harvesting. These areas include popular holiday destinations, like Tauranga and the Coromandel Peninsula. Because of the harvesting pressure the CRA2 fishery is under, we want to find solutions and achieve the best balance between what's right for fishers and what's right for the lobsters.

New scientific assessment

A new scientific assessment of the CRA2 fishery was completed on 30 October 2017. The assessment results suggest that the abundance of legally harvestable rock lobsters in 2016 has declined to around 21% of the agreed reference level.

What this means

This means that the amount of rock lobster in the CRA2 fishery has probably dropped below its soft limit. When a stock drops below its soft limit level, management action is required to ensure it rebuilds.

The assessment results will help guide a review of management of the CRA2 fishery. Given its importance, we all have a role in helping to rebuild the fishery. Decisive action will be needed to ensure that the abundance of rock lobsters increases. This is likely to involve the setting of new catch limits from 1 April 2018. Amendments to regulatory controls may also be needed later in 2018.

Find out more

We've prepared a summary document for the CRA2 stock assessment that includes information on:

  • reference levels
  • the soft and hard limits for the CRA2 rock lobsters
  • how the CRA2 rock lobster stocks have changed in size since 1980.

Download the stock assessment summary [PDF, 539 KB]

Consultation planned

Alt text from CMS.

We are currently seeking feedback from tangata whenua and stakeholders on proposals to change the Total Allowable Catch (TAC), allowances, and Total Allowable Commercial Catch (TACC) for the CRA 2 fishery.  Find out more about the review of sustainability measures for 1 April 2018.

To complement the proposed changes to the TAC, allowances and TACC, we intend to consult on a broader range of management measures for the implementation later in 2018. We will engage widely with the community on the development of these broader options, and we will carry out full consultation prior to any decisions being made.

Stay informed

To keep up-to-date on our progress with the CRA2 fishery review and upcoming consultation, check this page for changes, or:

Flowchart with dates for CRA2 meetings with public and experts, between Nov 2017 and June 2018, to guide CRA2 changes.

Who to contact

If you have questions about the CRA2 review, email

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