Further closure of Ohiwa green-lipped mussel beds
24 October, 2008
Minister of Fisheries approves further closure of Ohiwa Harbour green-lipped mussel beds
Fisheries Minister Jim Anderton has agreed to the request for a further two-year closure of green-lipped mussel beds in Ohiwa Harbour, Bay of Plenty. This provides statutory support for a traditional rähui (closure) over the area.
Jim Anderton said the green-lipped mussel beds were an important resource for the tangata whenua of Ohiwa Harbour. These beds had become depleted in recent years, and this affected the ability of tangata whenua to take these shellfish for customary purposes.
The request for a further closure was made by Te Runanga o Ngati Awa, with the support of Upokorehe Hapu, Whakatohea and Tuhoe, under section 186A of the Fisheries Act 1996.
Before requesting this closure, Ngati Awa commissioned surveys of the mussel beds in June 2007 and again in April 2008. Based on the survey results, they considered that the average size of the green-lipped mussels in the Harbour was too small to sustain harvesting.
This will be the third two-year closure of the Ohiwa Harbour mussel beds since 2003. Mr Anderton said public consultation showed there was support from the local community for the closure.
From 7 November 2008 until 22 October 2010, the taking of green-lipped mussels is prohibited throughout Ohiwa Harbour.