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Changes to commercial fishing limits

Hon Nathan Guy
Minister for Primary Industries

8 September 2016

Changes to commercial fishing limits

Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy has announced changes to management controls for 25 fish stocks as part of the regular twice yearly fisheries sustainability review.

“All these decisions make the best possible use of the latest scientific information to ensure sustainable stocks whilst maximising the benefits for all users - customary, recreational and commercial,” says Mr Guy.

A key change is a significant increase to the catch limit for Snapper 7 (covering the top and west coast of the South Island) with recreational catch increasing from 90 to 250 tonnes, and commercial from 200 to 250 tonnes.

“This is in response to the latest scientific information showing a major and rapid increase in the numbers of snapper in recent years. While there is no immediate change to bag limits, it creates a 50/50 split between commercial and recreational which better reflects the value that recreational fishers place on this important shared fishery.”

Other changes include a decrease in the total commercial catch limit of bluenose across New Zealand from 1,195 tonnes to 990 tonnes. According to the latest research, the rebuild plan is showing signs of success but all stocks require lower limits in order to achieve the rebuild in a shorter timeframe.

In the Paua 7 fishery (top of the South Island) there will be a decrease for the commercial sector from 220.24 tonnes to 133.62 tonnes. This is supported by industry and follows their voluntarily shelving of up to 28% of the quota over recent years.

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“For South Island eels this is the first year where shortfin and longfin eels have been considered separately, as recommended by the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment in her 2013 report.

“Separate management allows catch limits to ensure longfin eel stocks are managed appropriately while setting the necessary levels of sustainable utilisation for the more abundant short fin species.

“To reflect concern about the status and trend of long fin eel populations in the South Island, commercial harvest is being significantly reduced to encourage an increase in the population.

“All of these changes are informed by science and ensure we have a flexible and responsive system. Regular monitoring and amendments to catch limits are key elements of our fisheries management system.

“Fish stocks trend up and down for a number of reasons, including fishing, environmental conditions and fish stock recruitment. It is important that regular adjustments are made to ensure extraction rates are aligned with these natural trends.”

The new catch limits and deemed value rates all come into effect on 1 October. Detailed information on all stocks reviewed can be found at


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