Government Helps Coromandel Scallop Fishers
Fisheries Minister, Hon John Luxton today announced that the Government is taking steps to assist Coromandel scallop fishers. One option under consideration is the shelving of next year's annual survey, saving those affected $70,000 in levies.
Scallop fishermen that operate in the outer Hauraki Gulf and the western Bay of Plenty have had to stop fishing because of the presence of an unknown disease.
"Firstly, the Government is spending approximately $30,000 on research to identify the nature of the disease. The results of the research being undertaken by NIWA, are due in December. The implications for the sustainability of the fishery are also being assessed as part of the research programme."
"Secondly, the Ministry of Fisheries is considering the implications of shelving the annual survey of scallop beds. The survey provides the basis for setting catch limit for commercial scallop fishery. Ministry of Fisheries' officials will meet stakeholder groups in the fishery, including the commercial fishers, later this week to discuss other options for setting the commercial catch limit in the absence of the annual survey.
"I have kept in close contact with the fishers in Coromandel over this issue. This is causing financial hardship for many of the fishermen and processors that rely on scallop fishing for their income. It is important to do as much as possible to ensure the long-term sustainability of this fishery so that Coromandel community can continue to benefit from this precious resource."
Once an agreement is reached on the rules for determining next year's commercial catch limit, measures to relieve commercial scallop fishers from levies will be put in place.