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Source: New Zealand Government

Kaikōura’s pāua fishery, which has been closed since the November 2016 earthquakes disrupted local seabeds, is to reopen following a community-led rebuild.

The fishery will initially reopen for three months from 1 December and be closely monitored, Oceans and Fisheries Minister David Parker said.

“The pāua fishery in Kaikoura is a shared resource, valued by customary, recreational and commercial fishers. The community came together after the earthquake and has been an invaluable source of advice and support as we work back towards sustainability

“I would like to thank the Kaikōura Marine Guardians and our iwi partners, as well as the wider community for all of their work that got us to this stage.” 

This is the first time a fishery has been closed as the result of an earthquake. Since the earthquake, research and monitoring has shown that pāua is recovering and can support some limited harvesting.

“I am taking a careful approach by opening the fishery for a three-month period while also ensuring it can be monitored closely to understand how the pāua responds to fishing,” David Parker said.

“The health of the fishery will be measured before and after the initial reopening period to assess the effect on pāua populations. This will be supported by independent research of recreational fishing along the coastline. That work will give us the information we need to make a decision on next steps.

“An area-wide recreational limit of five pāua per person will apply and an accumulation limit of 10 pāua per person for a multi-day trip. The minimum legal size of 125mm will remain.

“New cautious commercial catch limits have been set to reflect the recently subdivided quota management areas, Kaikōura and Canterbury. Commercial fishers will also operate under a new fisheries plan which takes an adaptive approach and includes the collection of comprehensive fine-scale information and monitoring.

“I have also decided to reopen the wider Kaikōura area to kina fishing from 1 December 2021.

“There is evidence that kina populations can sustain harvesting again and reopening this fishery is supported by both iwi and recreational fishers.”

These decisions were both publically consulted, with the pāua reopening receiving more than 200 submissions.