Crayfish mismanagement needs to be urgently addressed

February 14, 2017

LegaSea and the New Zealand Sport Fishing Council have responded strongly to proposals from the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) relating to the future management of three rock lobster fisheries around the coast from East Cape to Wellington and up to Foxton, and Otago in the south.

Unfortunately, MPI wants to allow increased commercial fishing in Otago using the same flawed science that has driven CRA2 (Auckland region)  into a disgraceful collapse.

Recreational fishers want Nathan Guy to rein in his Ministry. MPI has failed to acknowledge that it currently allows commercial fishers to take crayfish smaller than the minimum legal size in an effort to prop up the industry at the expense of both recreational and customary fishers but also at huge cost to the future of our fisheries for all types of fishing.

LegaSea spokesman Scott Macindoe says this is a grave mistake which could have massive repercussions further down the track.

“The omission of this information from the discussion document is a serious concern since these concessions have caused huge conflict since they were introduced decades ago. It is commercial overfishing that denies reasonable public access to crayfish – to simply carry on without addressing this depletion is unacceptable to recreational fishers and, I believe, to the people of New Zealand.”

LegaSea is calling for new commercial catch limits that will help to rebuild crayfish numbers, if indeed that is possible.

“Our so-called world class fisheries management system has once again let the people of New Zealand down, but we hope the Minister will see through MPI’s promises on this score.”

LegaSea calls for the Minister to remember Moyle’s Promise – the 1989 policy that promised, “recreational fishers would have access to a reasonable share of fishery resources”.

Colin Moyle made a commitment on behalf of the Government that if any fishery was depleted it would be commercial fishers who would give way to recreational and customary.

“Sadly it seems the rush to export as much of our fish as possible has led to a Ministry captured by industry and, worse still, turning a blind eye to the demise of one inshore fishery after another – gurnard, trevally, snapper, hapuka, porae, John Dory. The public has had enough of this insulting indifference” says Macindoe.

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