Sat. Jan 29th, 2022

Fishing and Outdoors

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Four Waiheke Island fisheries closed for two years

2 min read

The closure follows a decision on 31 January by Ngāti Pāoa to place a traditional rāhui on the fishery to protect the four species of kaimoana after concern from iwi about declining stock levels. Photo: Lesley0528| Pixabay

The Waiheke Island scallop, mussel, rock lobster, and pāua fisheries were closed on 1 December for a period of two years.

The decision by the minister for oceans and fisheries, David Parker, follows a request from Ngāti Pāoa.

The closure follows a decision on 31 January by Ngāti Pāoa to place a traditional rāhui on the fishery to protect the four species of kaimoana after concern from iwi about declining stock levels.

The temporary closure includes inshore waters around Waiheke Island out to a distance of one nautical mile offshore and applies to customary, commercial, and recreational fishing.

Ngāti Pāoa, other Hauraki iwi, commercial fishing interests, recreational fishers, environmental interests, and the public were consulted on the proposal.

Fisheries New Zealand director of fisheries management, Emma Taylor, said they received 244 submissions, with a majority supporting a closure.

“Closing these fisheries will help these important fisheries recover and support the health of the wider ecosystem,” she said.

“The feedback from tangata whenua and the public highlights concerns around the long-term sustainability of these four important fish species. Closing these fisheries is just one part of the solution,” said Taylor.

Ngāti Pāoa have begun discussions with Māori marine scientists to develop an action plan to restore shellfish levels.

“It’s great to be able to support iwi by ensuring the closure is respected through regular patrols by MPI Fishery Officers,” Taylor added.

Ngāti Pāoa spokesperson Herearoha Skipper said they were happy the rāhui had been recognised before the COVID-19 protection framework or traffic light system began on 3 December.

“We are expecting a lot of activity during that time [over the holiday] so I’m glad that we were able to get the announcement from the minister before the busy season,” Skipper was quoted as saying by RNZ.

The closure under 186A of the Fisheries Act 1996 has been legally enforced from 1 December. Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) fishery officers will continue to patrol the coast supporting public awareness and enforcing the rules.
Anyone with information about suspected illegal fishing should contact MPI on 0800 4 POACHER to report it.
 

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