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Commercial catch limits ensure sustainability of fisheries

Hon Nathan Guy
Minister for Primary Industries

20 March 2014

New commercial catch limits to ensure sustainability of fisheries

Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy has today announced changes to catch limits for seven commercial fish stocks, aimed at ensuring their sustainability for all New Zealanders.

The new limits come into effect on 1 April 2014 and are based on robust research and management information, and views from all stakeholders in the various fisheries.

In addition to this the National Rock Lobster Management Group provides advice to the Minister on crayfish fisheries. This group is made up of representatives from the recreational, customary and commercial sectors.

The main changes are:
• A 36 tonne decrease in commercial catch limits for crayfish in the Bay of Plenty (CRA 2) and a 33 tonne decrease in Wellington/Hawkes Bay (CRA 4).
• A 35 tonne increase in commercial catch limits for crayfish in Gisborne (CRA 3), 22 tonne increase for Otago (CRA 7) and 14 tonne increase for Westland/Taranaki (CRA 9).
• A significant increase in the southern blue whiting fishery near Campbell Island (SWB 6I) has enabled a rise in the catch limit from 30,000 tonnes to 40,000 tonnes.
• A decrease to the scallop commercial catch limit at the top of the South Island from 747 tonnes to 400 tonnes.

“We need to ensure the fisheries are maintained at healthy levels for all New Zealanders,” says Mr Guy.

“These changes apply to the commercial sector and there is no change to any recreational or customary fishing limits across the country.

“I have also approved a new management approach for CRA 2 that will closely monitor performance. If the numbers of crayfish don’t improve then I will be looking to make further changes.”

The new limit for scallops at the top of the South Island includes a 347 tonne decrease to the commercial catch limit.

“The decrease in the commercial catch limit takes into account the future enhancement potential of the fishery, while balancing any sustainability risk.”

Mr Guy said that in addition to this reduction to the catch limit, further supporting measures are required to stimulate a rebuild of the scallop fishery and improve fishing outcomes for all sectors.

“MPI will work closely with stakeholders to strengthen the existing management arrangements over the next year to better manage this fishery for all stakeholders.

“If there is evidence to suggest the scallop management framework is not ensuring sustainability and providing opportunities for all sectors, then I will consider further action.

“With the southern blue whiting fishery, interactions with sea lions in the area was a key focus. Commercial fishers have agreed to deploy sea lion exclusion devices (SLEDS) and there will be full observer coverage as part of a suite of measures aimed at reducing the risk of further captures. So far these have been effective at minimising the capture of sea lions in the squid fishery in the sub-Antarctic.”

Detailed information on the Minister’s decisions, including copies of his decision letters and Final Advice Papers are available on the Ministry for Primary Industries website at: http://www.fish.govt.nz/en-nz/Consultations/Archive/2014/Review+of+fisheries+sustainability+measures+for+1+April+2014.htm

ENDS

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