Kaikōura pāua reopening

June 17, 2021

Limited time to submit on Kaikōura pāua reopening

Kaikōura locals have lost access to their favourite fisheries due to natural disasters including earthquakes and unnatural disasters, through preference being given to commercial interests. Now it’s time for us to submit in support of recovering access to the pāua fishery. 

Image: Sam Wild

We have until 5 July to submit in support of local fishing and iwi interests, who are proposing a daily bag limit of five pāua per person, per day, for nine months of the year, and giving the fishery a rest for three months of winter spawning. 

Locals report the pāua stocks are as good as they were 20 years ago, a likely consequence of  no commercial harvesting since the 2016 earthquakes.  You can make a submission here.

Make a submission on the re-opening of the Kaikoura paua fishery

Fisheries New Zealand is seeking public feedback on the Kaikōura Marine Guardians’ recommendations to reopen the Kaikōura pāua fishery.

The Kaikōura Boating and Recreational Fishing Club is working to ensure fair public access to the available, abundant pāua fishery. They need your help. 

You can send a simple email of support for the club’s position to [email protected] by 5 pm on 5 July 2021.

When sending your submission we suggest you use “Submission on reopening the Kaikōura pāua fishery” as the subject line. 

As part of the consultation process Fisheries New Zealand has asked several questions, as below. Those questions and the main points of the Kaikōura Club Committee’s response are covered here. These are provided to help you form your submission on the proposals. 

1 Do you support reopening the Kaikōura Marine Area (Clarence River to the Conway River) to pāua fishing? Yes.
The latest scientific information available shows pāua are now at very high levels of abundance and the complete life cycle has been observed, “i.e., there is widespread emergence of post-earthquake recruits and a sustained increase in biomass observed across the fishery” (New Zealand Fisheries Assessment Report 2021/26, page 17).

2 Should this reopening extend further north from Cape Campbell/Marfells Beach to the Conway River? Yes.
The “overall increase in pāua abundance is at a Quota Management Area-wide level in both QMAs,” and the “increased abundance was generally more pronounced in PAU 7” (New Zealand Fisheries Assessment Report 2021/26, page 1).

3 If the fishery is reopened, do you support the following proposed management measures for the recreational fishery:

a) an annual 1 December to 1 March fishing season? No.
Restricting public access for nine months of the year is an extreme measure that cannot be justified. A justifiable and recommended alternative is a three-month closure, from June to August, over the spawning season

b) a lower daily limit of three pāua? No.
Pāua stocks are currently at high levels of abundance and permanently slashing the recreational daily bag limit from six to three pāua per person is not justified by any scientific information or reasonable concerns about sustainability. A sustainable daily bag limit of five per person, per day, will provide for the social and cultural wellbeing of Kaikōura locals.

The Ministry’s proposed lower limit must be considered alongside the reality that there is also no equivalent proposal to permanently reduce the extensive commercial pāua fishery, which is already considering how to reintroduce commercial pāua fishing. (New Zealand Fisheries Assessment Report 2021/26, page 15).

c) an accumulation limit of six pāua per person? No.
There is no evidence to suggest a sustainability risk if people take pāua legally and eat it on a different day.

d) vehicle and vessel limits? Yes.
A vehicle limit would discourage overexploitation of pāua close to the shore where the Kaikōura Marine Guardians are especially concerned about a possible “goldrush”. 

e) a larger minimum legal-size limit of 130mm in shell length for black-foot pāua? No.
The minimum legal size ought to remain at 125mm. Pāua have no blood clotting agent (i.e., are haemophiliacs) and highly prone to release mortality if cut when removed from rocks. A higher size limit will likely increase release mortality in the recreational fishery, which could affect future abundance. 

4. Are there any other measures you would like us to consider on the proposal to reopen the Kaikōura Marine Area/extended area to fishing? This could include reopening the kina fishery. Yes.
The Kaikōura Boating and Recreational Fishing Club Committee support 1). reopening the kina fishery, 2). the recommendations made in the Management Implications of the New Zealand Fisheries Assessment Report 2021/26, and 3). an independent recreational fishing survey in Kaikōura to estimate the recreational pāua catch if the fishery reopens.