Communities and fishers have welcomed Minister David Parker’s decision to use emergency powers to close the last two commercial scallop beds in New Zealand, in the Hauraki Gulf.
The other scallop beds around Northland, Auckland and the Bay of Plenty, were closed earlier this year after a widespread community outcry at the disappearance of the traditional Kiwi summer delicacy.
The emergency closure by the Minister for Oceans and Fisheries applies from Friday 16 December until a full review is completed in early 2023.
Joe Davis, Ngāti Hei Rangatira, said: “We all want our scallops for Christmas, but what is way more important is having scallops for our mokopuna in years to come.” Matua Davis has played a leading role in raising awareness of the plight of the last scallops around the Coromandel.
LegaSea Lead Sam Woolford said: “We welcome this decision by Minister Parker, but seeing as it is only for three months we must ask the question – what next? Clearly the Quota Management System has failed scallops. We need permanent changes to ensure these fragile species are protected into the future. It’s time to ban all mobile bottom contact fishing methods.”
Coromandel Regional Councillor Warren Maher said: “We warned against leaving these beds open. They are important places for breeding stock, which drift on currents around the gulf and the Coromandel Peninsula to stock places where the community gather scallops. You can’t close the rest of the gulf and leave the source open. We are glad the minister has listened to reason.
To find how we’ve wiped out scallops across New Zealand, please see this article.