Shameful crayfish management

May 15, 2014
Time has once again been used as a weapon against us, this time to limit our response to outrageous proposals that will keep Bay of Plenty crayfish stocks at all-time low levels. By now the new regime will be in place and our northeastern cray fishery could be another casualty in the race to the bottom. Alongside our snapper, trevally, scallops and gurnard…..
“LegaSea says this shameful management must stop.”
In late January the Ministry for Primary Industries issued proposals to alter commercial catch limits and controls in five out of nine cray fisheries around the country. Our response time was only 18 working days. Not enough time to alert you to the issue or gather your feedback. Our northeastern fishery (CRA2) stretches from Pakiri in the north to East Cape. Recreational crayfish catch has been declining for decades while commercial fishers continue unabated. Increasing numbers of people are complaining about the proliferation of commercial cray pots in places they have never been before. The Ministry advise commercial fishers are only getting 0.41kg of crayfish every time they pull up their pots. Clearly there are less crayfish around because even the professionals are struggling to make a buck! Given the prime habitat in the outer Hauraki Gulf, the Barriers, Mercury Islands and BOP, it’s an indictment on our quota management system that there are only remnants of crayfish populations left. Nathan Guy, as Minister for Primary Industries, is responsible for the ongoing management of our fisheries. He is also obliged to protect the marine environment and sustain our fisheries for future generations of Kiwi kids. Our submission reinforced these Ministerial duties. It was lodged by the due date of February 21st, along with an objection to the process. Last year we asked a raft of questions about how many undersized fish were being landed by commercial fishers, due to a loophole in the system. No answers were received. How can the Minister make sustainability decisions if MPI don’t have information on the number, catch area, and value of crays landed under this concession? Nathan Guy must take notice of our concerns and set conservative commercial catch limits, because conservation of our crayfish serves the long-term interests of our nation. Clearly the Ministry and quota holders have shorter, profit-driven gain in mind. Get onboard and support the effort being made to protect your future fishing.