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Hodgson announces fisheries management changes


Fisheries Minister Pete Hodgson has announced fisheries management changes for the new fishing year that begins tomorrow.

"These decisions follow consideration of the most recent scientific assessments and consultation with all stakeholders, including Maori, recreational and commercial fishers and environmental groups," Mr Hodgson said. "The aim is to ensure as far as possible the sustainability of fisheries and the marine environment."

Six of the fish stocks reviewed this year are able to support an increase in catch levels, including the snapper fishery from East Cape down to Wellington (see separate statement). Measures are being taken to rebuild other fish stocks that have been found to be below sustainable level, including some orange roughy stocks. Two decisions to reduce paua catch levels were signalled last year, and this year’s announcement is the second phase of the rebuild programme for these stocks.

Increased catch limits

Snapper in the area along the east coast of the North Island (SNA 2): increase in commercial catch from 252 to 315 tonnes and an increase in the recreational allowance from 40 to 90 tonnes (see separate statement); Elephant fish along the south east coast of the South Island (ELE 3): increase in the commercial catch from 825 to 950 tonnes; Ling in the waters of the upper half of the North Island (LIN 1): increase in the commercial catch from 265 to 400 tonnes; Ruby in waters of the upper east coast of the North Island (RBY 1): increase in the commercial catch from 109 to 300 tonnes; Silver Warehou in the waters off the North Island and west coast of the South Island (SWA 1): increase in the commercial catch from 2132 to 3000 tonnes; Stargazer in Nelson, Marlborough and the west coast of the South Island (STA 7): increase in the commercial catch from 702 to 997 tonnes.

Decreased catch limits

Gurnard 3 The Gurnard 3 fishery around the east and southern coast of the South Island is under the adaptive management programme and a review of the fishery has resulted in a reduction of the commercial catch limit from 900 to 800 tonnes for the 2002-03 fishing year.

Orange Roughy The orange roughy fishery off the east coast of the North Island and Kaikoura coast (management areas ORH 2A South, ORH 2B, ORH 3A) has been found to be below the ideal target level, although the precise level of the fishery at present is difficult to determine. Action was taken last year to reduce catch levels and this year the rebuild programme for the fishery will continue with the combined catch limit for the area being reduced from 1500 tonnes to 800 tonnes.

Note: This decision applies only to a portion of the entire orange roughy fishery (see map below).

Orange Roughy management areas

Oreo 3A Oreo is a multi-species deepwater stock consisting of three species - smooth, black and spiky oreo. The 3A management area extends from the Wellington coastline down much of the east coast of the South Island. The overall catch limit for Oreo 3A has been reduced by 840 tonnes to 3255 tonnes. The smooth oreo catch limit is 1400 tonnes and the black oreo catch limit 1700 tonnes.

South Island paua

Three South Island paua fisheries were reviewed this year – Stewart Island, Otago/Southland, and Nelson/Marlborough.

Stewart Island paua

Over the last two years measures have been taken to rebuild the Stewart Island (PAU5B) stock, including a phased reduction of catch levels and a voluntary “quota shelving” initiative by which quota owners agreed not to fish all their quota. The latest information is that while the measures have been effective, the rebuilding process could take at least five years. The catch limit for commercial fishers has been reduced from 124 to 90 tonnes to enable rebuilding to continue. Allowances for recreational and customary Maori fishers are unchanged.

Otago/Southland paua

The latest stock assessment suggested the stock along the Otago/Southland coast (PAU5D) was likely to decline under the current total allowable commercial catch level. Commercial catch is being reduced in phases, with a reduction from 149 to 114 tonnes for the 2002/03 fishing year and a further cut to 89 tonnes anticipated for 2003/04. Mr Hodgson said the phased reduction was intended to help reduce the economic and social impact of such a significant catch reduction, giving fishers an opportunity to adjust business activities and develop strategies to help the rebuilding process. With no evidence to suggest that recreational fishing, which is largely outside the commercial area, is increasing, the recreational allowance has been set at 22 tonnes. An allowance of three tonnes has been made for customary fishing. There were previously no explicit allowances for recreational and customary catch.

Nelson/Marlborough paua

The second part of a phased reduction in commercial catch is being applied to the Nelson/Marlborough (PAU7) paua fishery, with commercial catch limit reducing by 53.49 tonnes to 187.24 tonnes to halt the decline in stock and allow for rebuilding. Allowances of 15 tonnes for customary fishing and 15 tonnes for recreational fishing are unchanged from last year. Mr Hodgson said both the commercial and recreational fishing sectors had made important contributions to rebuilding the Paua 7 stock using voluntary measures. “I applaud these initiatives and I hope that fishers will continue to see their value. I suggest other paua fisheries look at the Nelson/Marlborough fishery as an example of stakeholders taking collective responsibility in a way that helps them shape the fishery’s future.”

For more information visit http://www.fish.govt.nz/sustainability/research/stock/status.htm

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