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Snapper limits raised from East Cape to Wellington

Catch limits raised for snapper from East Cape to Wellington

Catch limits for the highly valued snapper fishery from the East Cape of the North Island down to Makara near Wellington have been increased for the 2002/03 fishing year, which begins tomorrow.

Fisheries Minister Pete Hodgson said the new assessment for the SNA2 management area indicates that the stock is successfully rebuilding. It is predicted to be at or above the target level, under most catch scenarios, in the next three to five years.

“In situations where a stock is rebuilding and information suggests that larger catches are possible, my general view is that all fishers should benefit,” said Mr Hodgson. “As snapper is a very important recreational species, I have substantially increased the allowance for recreational fishers, along with the total allowable commercial catch.”

No explicit allowance had previously been made for Maori customary fishing, which has now been set at 14 tonnes.

Mr Hodgson said there were signs that commercial catch levels were being effectively constrained by operation of the catch balancing regime, which came into effect this year. The regime provides incentives for commercial fishers to ensure their catch is covered by legal entitlements.

“I am pleased with this initial result, which indicates that the new system is working effectively and gives me more confidence that the commercial catch limit will not be exceeded in future years.”

An overall Total Allowable Catch of 450 tonnes has been set for the SNA2 area. Within this: the recreational allowance has been increased from 40 to 90 tonnes 14 tonnes have been set aside for customary Maori fishing. the commercial catch has been increased from 252 tonnes to 315 tonnes 31 tonnes have been allowed for other sources of mortality attributable to fishing, such as burst nets or illegal catch.

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