What is the Gurnard 2 policy?

August 23, 2018

The Gurnard 2 policy is a document developed by the New Zealand Sport Fishing Council and it applies to the area between East Cape and Wellington. LegaSea is promoting this policy as a way of providing future generations the fishing opportunities and marine resources we so gratefully inherited.

Gurnard used to be a staple recreational catch in the southeastern area of the North Island, particularly popular off the Napier coastline. Catch levels have plummeted and many Hawke’s Bay fishers despair at the declining abundance of other species.

This Gurnard 2 policy – seeks to double the existing stock size, by applying a range of strategies to reduce the mortality of small fish. Policy objective To rebuild the gurnard stock in Fisheries Management Area 2 to the target level of 40% of the original biomass (B40). Strategy
  1. Promote achievable and affordable actions to restore gurnard abundance. This includes setting both a target stock biomass of 40% of the unfished stock size and a rebuild timeframe.
  2. Stop killing juveniles. For the past 25 years it has been common commercial practice, when targeting gurnard, to discard up to four small gurnard for each one kept for sale. This killing ration of 4:1 is unacceptable. These discarded small fish are tomorrow’s catch and wasteful practices must stop.
  3. Reduce the Total Allowable Commercial Catch to 460 tonnes per annum.
  4. Initiate a research monitoring programme that uses a trawl survey to establish a time series of data that can generate an abundance index, supported by catch sampling at sea and wharf-side.
  5. Apply a precautionary approach when setting the Total Allowable Catch (TAC) and Total Allowable Commercial Catch (TACC), to account for the mixed trawl fishery that dominates commercial catches.
  6. Develop a ‘tick of sustainability’ with certification for fishing methods that have a proven reduction in juvenile and non-target species mortality.
  7. Exclude all trawlers within the Hawke Bay, until such time as the stock has recovered to a biomass of 40% of the unfished stock size target level.
  8. Promote regulations that define the escapement characteristics of all trawl nets deployed in Fisheries Management Area 2.