Pāua will be back on people’s menu in Kaikōura as the coastal town’s fishery reopened on 1 December.
The fishery was closed for five years following the devastating 2016 earthquakes that caused significant seabed uplift and damage to the marine habitat.
The decision follows public consultation and input from tangata whenua on recommendations from the Kaikōura Marine Guardians to reopen the Kaikōura Marine area to pāua fishing, Ministry of Primary Industries (MPI) said.
The opening for commercial and recreational pāua fishing covers the Kaikōura Marine Area and the northern coastline through to Marfells Beach and Cape Campbell until 28 February 2022 and will be closely monitored.
“We’re really excited about being able to open the fishery. The health of the fishery will be closely examined to understand the effect fishing has on pāua,” says Allen Frazer, Fisheries New Zealand’s manager inshore fisheries south.
The closure of the fishery because of the earthquakes was unprecedented. Since then, research and monitoring has shown that pāua is recovering and can support some limited harvesting, MPI said.
This is the first time a fishery was closed as a result of an earthquake.
“The pāua fishery in Kaikoura is a shared resource, valued by customary, recreational and commercial fishers. The community came together after the earthquake and has been an invaluable source of advice and support as we work back towards sustainability,” oceans and fisheries minister David Parker said.
The reopening introduces new rules and bag limits for gathering pāua along Kaikōura’s coastline, which include:
- a daily limit of five blackfoot pāua per person
- a minimum legal size of 125mm
- an accumulation limit of up to two daily limits of pāua per person. This means if you are gathering over two or more days, you can only have two daily limits of pāua in your possession, including at home in the fridge or freezer.
- no taking of yellowfoot pāua.
Pāua fishers can expect to regularly see MPI fishery officers throughout the short season.
“MPI fishery officers will be out along the coast and on the water. They’ll be visual and checking peoples’ catch. If you’re unsure about any of the rules or how to harvest pāua, talk to one of our team.
“Everyone who intends to fish for pāua has a part to play. The success of the opening and whether there’ll be future openings is reliant on people following the rules – they’re there to protect the resource,” said MPI regional manager fish compliance, Howard Reid.