Time Out for Tarakihi

July 30, 2018

Tarakihi is a mealtime favourite for people who fish and those who buy it retail because it is notoriously good for cooking when fresh. Things are about to change between Otago and Northland.

The main stocks on New Zealand’s east coast are severely depleted so substantial cuts to commercial catches are required to rebuild the fishery within a reasonable time frame.

The Minister of Fisheries, Stuart Nash needs to know we care, and that we support him in making a bold decision to restore abundance. LegaSea is giving you some easy tools to show you care. Take Time Out for Tarakihi.

What’s the issue?

  1. 50 years of trawling, wastage and dumping has taken its toll on our fisheries and environment. Over time our tarakihi population on the east coast has dropped by 83%.
  2. 95% of the tarakihi catch is either taken or dies as a result of industrial fishing methods.
  3. There are concerns about the bycatch of protected species and the environmental impacts in this fishery.
  4. LegaSea knows it will be hard for the Minister to make a bold decision to restore abundance without solid public support.

What’s the solution?

  1. The Minister must put the fish first and ensure the stocks are rebuilt within 10 years. This requires a substantial reduction in commercial catch levels to restore tarakihi abundance.
  2. Ban trawling from inshore nursery areas to protect small fish and the environment.
  3. Better manage all fisheries to provide for the social, economic and cultural wellbeing of all New Zealanders.
  4. People power. Together we can stand up for abundance and show we care. LegaSea has made it easy to take Time Out for Tarakihi.


What about recreational fishing?

The recreational catch of tarakihi represents less than 5% of current harvest so even if we stopped fishing tomorrow there would be no measurable change in abundance of the tarakihi stocks.

New recreational harvest surveys are underway now with results due out early next year. Significant cuts in the annual tonnage allowed for recreational harvest are proposed from October 2018 because recreational catch has declined in most areas as the stocks have been fished down.

The allowance for mortality caused by commercial bulk harvesting methods but not included in landed catch adds up to more than the total recreational allowance proposed, so reducing the wastage attributable to commercial fishing will do more to grow the fishery for everyone.

LegaSea is concerned that all Kiwis are paying the price for this ongoing wastage both on the water and at the shop, when excessive commercial fishing (responsible for more than 90% of fish harvested) and years of knowingly wasteful fishing practices are responsible for the decline.

Minister of Fisheries Stuart Nash is now considering new catch limits for tarakihi. LegaSea wants him to make a decision that has the best outcome for the fish, but he will only make a precautionary decision if he has public support.

LegaSea is calling on all Kiwis to stand up for the environment and health of our fisheries by asking the Minister to take Time Out for Tarakihi.

Take a moment to show you care.