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New catch limits for thirty-two fish stocks

The commercial tarakihi catch in the fisheries areas off the east coast of the North and South Islands is to be reduced by 20 percent in an effort to rebuild the depleted stock.

Fisheries Minister Stuart Nash has also signalled further cuts to the tarakihi catch are in store next year unless the commercial fishing industry can develop a plan to rebuild the fishery within ten years.

Mr Nash has reviewed Total Allowable Catch and other management controls for 32 stocks as part of the regular twice yearly sustainability round.  “The decisions follow public consultation and take effect for the fishing year which starts on 1 October,” Mr Nash says.

“These decisions are based on the best available scientific information and show the effectiveness of the Quota Management System. It is flexible and responsive to change. Where a stock is below expected levels then we will act to protect it.

“The tarakihi fishery is of great importance to commercial inshore trawlers and for recreational and customary fishing. I have decided a package of measures is required to get this important fishery back to where it needs to be, which in technical terms is 40 percent of the unfished spawning stock biomass. It is currently at less than half this target.

“I have decided on a phased approach, beginning with a 20 percent reduction in the first year. The industry has eight months to develop a plan to rebuild the stock. If the plan is not sufficiently robust then further cuts of up to 35 percent of current catch will be introduced for the October 2019 fishing year.

“Other changes include increases in catch limits for fish stocks that are doing well, such as southern bluefin tuna, orange roughy and scampi, and a decrease in catch limits for stocks that need help to rebuild, such as longfin eels and Northern flatfish. There will be increases to catch limits for 11 stocks, and decreases to catch limits for 12 stocks. The catch limits for the rest of the stocks will remain the same this fishing year.

Stocks reviewed this year include those of cultural importance to tangata whenua such as longfin and shortfin eels, as well as some shared fish stocks that are important to commercial and recreational sectors, such as tarakihi, flatfish, pāua, and red gurnard.

“I have also decided to close the Kaipara Harbour scallop fishery to recreational scallop fishing under section 11 of the Fisheries Act to allow the stock to recover. This means the Kaipara Harbour scallop fishery will be closed to both commercial and recreational fishing,” Mr Nash says.

These decisions come into effect 1 October 2018, except for the Kaipara Harbour scallop closure, which will come into effect later in October.

For more detailed information on the changes visit www.fisheries.govt.nz/news-and-resources/consultations/review-of-sustainability-measures-for-1-october-2018/