Our plan to save New Zealand’s fish and New Zealand jobs
01 July 2019
Tarakihi is the fish of New Zealand, with more than 90% of our catch being sold within Aotearoa. It is the fish that supports local markets, recreational interests, employment, communities and most importantly – dinner tables of families nationwide.
As kiwis, we love our fish. We’re an island nation with a deep connection to our coastlines. More than 80% of us eat fish at least once a month and around 12% of us are lucky enough to catch it ourselves. With this privilege comes a very important duty – to act as kaitiaki for Tangaroa.
That’s why Te Ohu Kaimoana, Fisheries Inshore New Zealand and Southern Inshore Fisheries have come together to find a pathway forward for the tarakihi fishery. A problem was identified and we are responding by providing a science-based solution through our Eastern Tarakihi Management Strategy and Rebuild Plan. The contents of the rebuild plan are included in Fisheries New Zealand’s (FNZ) Tarakihi (TAR 1, 2, 3 AND 7) consultation document as an official option for consideration.
In 2018, in response to the East Coast tarakihi stock assessment, the industry proposed to voluntarily reduce allowable catches from 1 October of that year by 25% and implemented a number of other measures to improve the stock. The Minister of Fisheries Hon Stuart Nash accepted our proposed reduction in catch but formalised it through a Total Allowable Commercial Catch (TACC) cut while requesting that we continue with our other measures.
In addition, the Minister challenged the fishing industry to present him with an effective and robust management strategy for East Coast tarakihi. We have met that challenge.
The latest science indicates the fishery will rebuild and recover at the current catch limits set 2018, however this year FNZ is proposing a further cut to the TACC of the East Coast tarakihi fishery by up to 50% of the remaining catch to achieve a rapid rebuild. Further significant cuts will unnecessarily impact industry jobs and the wellbeing of our communities. The Eastern Tarakihi Management Strategy and Rebuild Plan sets out how we will demonstrate our commitment to the rebuild and ongoing sustainable management of the East Coast tarakihi fishery. We are living up to the challenge set by Hon Stuart Nash and now we ask that the Minister looks after the wellbeing of the fishery and the New Zealanders who depend upon it.