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Source: Ministry for Primary Industries

Fisheries New Zealand is seeking public feedback on proposed changes to catch limits and other measures across a range of fisheries as part of the 2021 April sustainability round.

Director fisheries management Emma Taylor says the consultation is part of Fisheries New Zealand’s twice-yearly regular reviews to ensure the ongoing sustainability of New Zealand’s fisheries resources.

“Our oceans and fisheries are important to all New Zealanders – they provide food for our whānau and jobs in our communities. It’s part of what makes this place home. By reviewing catch limits and other management measures, we help ensure their long-term sustainability for all New Zealanders to enjoy.

“We use the best available information to determine how fish stocks are faring and what course of action should be taken. If the information tells us that more fish can be sustainably caught, then we increase the catch limits. However, if the information shows the opposite, we look to reduce the catch limits.

“We also consider factors such as changes to the marine ecosystem that may affect sustainability, such as habitat degradation or pollution. An example of this is the proposed reduction to the commercial catch limits for flatfish and yellow-eyed mullet, which we consider would help avoid potentially negative effects to the ecosystem.”

Consultation is on changes to the following stocks:

  • Flatfish (FLA 2 – East Cape, Hawke’s Bay, Wellington and Taranaki)
  • Giant spider crab (GSC 3, 5 & 6A – Chatham Rise, South East Coast, Southland and Southern Offshore Islands)
  • Elephant fish (ELE 7 – West Coast and Top of the South Island)
  • Giant stargazer (STA 1 – Waikato, East and West Coasts of Auckland and Northland, Bay of Plenty)
  • Dark ghost shark (GSH 1 – East Coast of Northland and Auckland, Bay of Plenty)
  • Yellow eyed mullet (YEM 9 – Waikato, West Coast of Auckland and Northland)
  • Blue cod (BCO 4 – Chatham Islands)

Four of these stocks (flatfish, stargazer, dark ghost shark and blue cod) are proposed to have their total catch limits and allowances set for the first time.

In addition to these proposed changes, a closure to the take of intertidal shellfish is proposed for Cockle Bay (Tuwakamana) in the Hauraki Gulf.

“Recent survey results for Cockle Bay suggests there are sustainability risks to the cockle populations, with declining numbers of large cockles. Closing the take of shellfish in the area will allow cockle populations to reach larger sizes and rebuild.

“People will always have strong views from across the spectrum – we need to hear these views so we can improve our proposals. We encourage everyone who has an interest in any of these fisheries being reviewed to put in a submission via our website.”

Any changes that alter the catch limits for giant spider crab will come into effect on 1 April 2021. Any changes to elephant fish, flatfish, giant stargazer, dark ghost shark, or yellow-eyed mullet will come into effect on 1 October 2021. If implemented, the closure to shellfish take at Cockle Bay will commence from 1 May 2021.

Consultation runs for 6 weeks and closes on 5 February 2021. A further consultation is expected to start soon on proposed changes for rock lobster stocks.

The consultation page has more information about the proposals and information on how to have your say. 

Review of sustainability measures – 2021 April round