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Minister supports rahui at Mt Maunganui

Minister supports rahui at Mt Maunganui

A high level of community support for the decision to keep the mussel beds closed for a further two years

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Fisheries Minister Jim Anderton has agreed to give the green-lipped mussel beds at Mount Maunganui a further two years to recover before opening them to fishing again. The closure is effective from 7 December 2007.

"The mussel beds are an important customary resource for the people of Ngaiterangi, Ngati Ranginui and Ngati Pukenga" Jim Anderton said. "These beds became depleted earlier this decade, and this has affected the ability of tangata whenua to take these shellfish for customary purposes. I'm very pleased to support tangata whenua participating in the management and conservation of New Zealand's fisheries."

After concerns from tangata whenua about mussels becoming scarce, the beds between Moturiki and Motuotau Islands were temporarily closed for two years in July 2002. The Fisheries Act closure supports a traditional rahui (closure) placed by local tangata whenua.

Prior to the first closure in 2002, information indicated that the mussel beds were under significant harvesting pressure and that the beds were depleted. This pressure was due to the beds being well known in the region as readily accessible. The region is a popular holiday destination with a large resident population, and there are no alternative mussel beds in the area.

That first closure on taking green-lipped mussels from these beds ran from July 2002 to July 2004. This closure was then renewed through until July 2006, and was further renewed until October 2007.

"However, the mussel beds at Mt Maunganui have still not recovered to a level where harvest would be sustainable," Jim Anderton said." So the Tauranga Moana Customary Fisheries Management Committee (representing the iwi of Ngaiterangi, Ngati Ranginui and Ngati Pukenga) extended their traditional rahui and asked me to renew the temporary closure under section 186A of the Fisheries Act 1996."

The renewal of closure provides statutory support for the rahui and will ensure green-lipped mussel beds between Moturiki and Motuotau Islands remain closed until 6 December 2009.

During its public consultation, the Ministry found a high level of community support for the present renewal request.

"Fishery officers will be routinely patrolling the closed area, and I'm pleased to learn that they enjoy a high level support from the Mount Maunganui community," Jim Anderton said." Anyone who suspects illegal fishing should phone 0800 4 Poacher (0800 4 762242), immediately, to give fishery officers the best chance of investigating."

Further information on recreational fishing regulations is available on www.fish.govt.nz.


ENDS

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