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Paua battle almost over


Paua battle almost over

Last Wednesday, the Ministry for Primary Industries convened a meeting of over 15 key stakeholder representatives at Otakou Marae, Dunedin in an attempt to resolve the long-running battle over a proposal to open up closed populations of paua to commercial fishing.

Nine months after passionate New Zealanders first mobilised in their fight to protect one of the treasures of New Zealand's south, the battle is finally drawing to a close.

This was the last of 3 meetings convened by MPI to uncover and report on further evidence and seek agreement from all parties about paua and paua diving in these four closed areas.

Kees Meeuws, former All Black and Paua to the People spokesman, says, “The commercial guys have acknowledged they didn’t do their homework, and that they underestimated the use and value of these areas.”

All stakeholders, including Paua Industry representatives, have unanimously accepted that in the four closed areas there is a greater relative abundance of paua than in open areas, that non-commercial harvest is easier in these areas, that significant non-commercial use takes place in all four areas, and that these paua populations are of immense significance and value to non-commercial users.

“Given the huge weight of over 2,700 submissions, and the mountain of evidence regarding the value and significance of these areas to non-commercial paua fishers, anything other than keeping these areas closed would make a mockery of the consultation process. We would be very surprised if the Ministry was to do anything other than recommend that these areas remain closed to commercial paua fishing,” says Hamish Forrester, ex-commercial Paua diver and Paua to the People spokesman.

Mr. Forrester goes on to say that “MPI have promised a ‘no surprises’ process, and MPI have indicated that their final report should reach the Minister before Christmas.”

Paua to the People are confident Minister Guy will draw the obvious conclusion that these areas should remain closed to commercial fishing, yet the campaign will continue until the status quo is guaranteed.
ends

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