Crayfish and snapper update

March 10, 2014
In last months column, we talked about changes to crayfish coming our way. In early December 2013 the Ministry for Primary Industries advised us of potential management changes in CRA 2 (Bay of Plenty and Hauraki Gulf) and CRA 9 (West Coast). Consultation documents were due out before Christmas. Quota increases were likely to be proposed in some other areas, such as CRA 3 (East Cape to Hawke Bay). This would be another kick in the teeth for recreational fishers in that area, who struggle to find a legal-sized cray and are opposed to the minimum legal size difference between recreational and commercial. Last year the commercial quota was increased by 30 tonnes based on a reported increase in commercial catch rates and a decision agreed to by the Minister (currently stock “abundance” is assessed by how easy it is to catch crays commercially – much like the fox in charge of the chicken coup!). Since early December the Ministry have been silent. We can only speculate why this is the case, but it’s certainly interesting given this would be another contentious fisheries issue, the bull has not yet been released from the gate. On the snapper front the Ministry is already behind schedule introducing their “comprehensive package” to address the rebuild of Snapper 1. As an outcome of the review last year, the Minister, Nathan Guy announced they would be “Establishing a Management Strategy Group by the end of 2013 to develop long-term plans for this fishery, involving both recreational and commercial representatives.” We’ve been in communication with the Ministry and plan to have representatives at the table but do not have confirmed terms of reference, timing or agendas yet. With the Bay of Plenty snapper in an overfished state, we expect greater urgency from the Ministry. So far there have been no targeted measures to address the rebuild of this fishery. Not a great start to the year with a long list of promises Mr Guy has made to rebuild the Snapper 1 fishery, with ducking and diving clearly on the cards, but we’ll continue to call them out and keep you informed. Help us protect the future of fishing in New Zealand by getting on board with LegaSea. Please consider making a modest, regular contribution to LegaSea. It will go a long way to fund the resources required to lobby for a better, more secure fishing future. LegaSea is pleased to announce the latest addition to our fundraising apparel –the LegaSea lifejacket, produced by our new Gold Partner Hutchwilco. Visit our website to get yours now!