Crayfish Crisis: Take Action

4000 surveys completed
42% supported crayfish closure
89% rate crayfish as poor or decimated
TACC reduction

Overview

LegaSea initiated the Crayfish Crisis campaign in February 2018 to raise public awareness about the depleted state of crayfish on the northeast coast of the North Island, CRA 2 . There is wide public interest in the management of New Zealand’s crayfish stocks, particularly CRA 2. Elements of the campaign included a video, a detailed webinar, and survey. The campaign video attracted 36,000 views. Over 4000 survey responses were received, from fishers and non-fishers. Survey responses informed a recreational submission made to the Ministry for Primary Industries in February. The Minister of Fisheries reduced the Total Allowable Commercial Catch by 60% in April 2018. Campaign material featured on television, in print and social media, receiving the broadest coverage for a LegaSea campaign since Save Our Snapper in 2013.

Why is there a crisis?

CRA 2 was last reviewed in 2014. Those management changes failed to rebuild the fishery, leaving CRA 2 at an all-time low level. When the Ministry advised in January 2018 they were reviewing crayfish management in four areas around New Zealand LegaSea decided to take action. The Minister needed to know that the public were concerned that crayfish abundance in CRA 2 had collapsed, and people wanted the fishery to be rebuilt to healthy levels.

What was the response?

An alliance of the largest representative recreational fishing organisations in New Zealand responded to the Ministry’s proposals in February. Ministry propose in Option 1 to cut the Total Allowable Commercial Catch (TACC) by 30% to double the current stock size in 9 years. Option 2 was a 40% TACC cut for a 7-year rebuild to double the stock size. Option 3 was a 50% TACC cut for an estimated 5-year rebuild to double the stock size. Option 4 was a 60% reduction to the TACC to double the stock size in an estimated 4-year timeframe. Survey responses informed the recreational submission to the Ministry. Take-outs from the survey included:
Support for potential management action in CRA 2

Campaign summary

The Crayfish Crisis campaign attracted a high level of public engagement. The survey attracted almost five times as many responses when compared to the 2017 LegaSea crayfish survey. The 2018 survey represents the largest ever survey of crayfish and recreational fishing-diving interests in New Zealand. This growth in engagement is a reflection of the strong support for the campaign from the dive fraternity, many individuals, tackle and dive outlets, and organisations. LegaSea and the New Zealand Sport Fishing Council thank all survey respondents and acknowledge the New Zealand Angling & Casting Association and Spearfishing New Zealand for their input and support for the joint recreational submission made to the Ministry in February 2018. LegaSea and the NZSFC also acknowledge the strong support for the CRA 2 submission from the New Zealand Underwater Association, representing recreational divers. This support is most welcome and LegaSea will continue to build relationships with the dive community over time.

Public awareness

LegaSea has produced a raft of articles and material for various publications and outlets. This is a selection of the material from the 2018 Crayfish Crisis campaign.

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History

Calling time on the QMS

September 2, 2018 Crayfish on the northeast coast is just one of a litany of fish stocks well below what ordinary Kiwis would consider abundant and available. This dissatisfaction was evidenced during LegaSea’s recent Crayfish Crisis campaign when so many divers, fishers, and the New Zealand Underwater Association stood up and had their say. LegaSea was grateful for […]

No crayfish closure

May 26, 2018 Stuart Nash, Minister of Fisheries, has decided not to close the crayfish fishery between the Hauraki Gulf and Bay of Plenty, known as the CRA 2 region. Instead, annual catch limits for commercial and recreational fishers were reduced as of April 1st. The new Total Allowable Commercial Catch has been reduced from 200 to 80 […]

Mixed bag of management changes for crayfish

April 23, 2018 In March the Minister of Fisheries Stuart Nash announced a raft of management changes for four crayfish stocks between the Hauraki Gulf and Southland. From April 1st there were commercial catch reductions in two stocks and increases for the Wellington-Hawke’s Bay region and the Southern – Fiordland fish stock. The joint submission from recreational fishers […]

Crayfish – The real test is looming

April 4, 2018 If you were one of the thousands of people who completed the LegaSea Crayfish Crisis survey in the past few months, thanks a lot. LegaSea appreciates your time and the information you shared to help us build a picture of what has changed in the cray fishery between Pakiri in the north and East Cape. […]

CRA 2 survey report

April 3, 2018 Over seven weeks in February and March 2018 LegaSea conducted a survey to measure people’s perceptions of the state of CRA 2, the crayfish stock between Te Arai Point, Northland, and East Cape. Over 4000 responses were received from both fishers and non-fishers, reflecting wide public interest in the management of New Zealand’s crayfish stocks, […]

You count when it comes to crayfish

March 29, 2018 Crayfish play an important role in the marine ecosystem. They are a target species for many people and a taonga, a treasure, that is important to the social, economic and cultural wellbeing of all New Zealanders. An alliance of the largest representative recreational fishing organisations in New Zealand has responded to the Ministry for Primary […]

Recreational fishers welcome Minister’s actions on CRA2

March 27, 2018 LegaSea and the New Zealand Sport Fishing Council welcome the decision by the Minister of Fisheries Stuart Nash to reduce the allowable catch for crayfish in the Hauraki Gulf and Bay of Plenty, known as the CRA 2 region. The Minister has set the new limits for commercial fishing at 80 tonnes per year, set […]

LegaSea on the road

March 22, 2018 It’s competition time and the LegaSea team has been attending a raft of events around the country, presenting the FishCare programme and gathering responses to the Crayfish Crisis campaign. In the first seven weeks after the holiday break LegaSea has been involved in activities enabling us to engage with more than 2000 people. The opportunity […]

Conserving our crayfish

March 10, 2018 It is encouraging that so many recreational fishers have expressed a strong desire to conserve their crayfish catch in the interests of rebuilding the CRA 2 fishery between Te Arai Point in the north and East Cape. The MPI review of four crayfish management areas is now over and we await the Minister’s decisions that […]

What next for crayfish?

February 28, 2018 LegaSea awaits the Minister’s decision for the future management of four crayfish stocks by the end of March. The new catch levels for two North Island and two South Island stocks will apply from April 1st. In February our submission to the Ministry supported a major catch reduction in CRA 2, the status quo in […]

Fisheries review needs to be prioritised

February 5, 2018 Crayfish stocks are in crisis and recreational fishers are calling for an independent review of the fisheries management system. Currently, crayfish in the CRA 2 region (which extends from Pakiri through the Hauraki Gulf to the East Cape) are at an all-time low. The latest official assessment shows that the crayfish population has been in […]

Crayfish Crisis Outcome

January 24, 2018 Minister’s crayfish decision Stuart Nash, Minister of Fisheries, has announced there will be commercial catch reductions in two crayfish stocks including CRA 2, from April 1st 2018. There will also be commercial catch increases for the Wellington-Hawke’s Bay region (CRA 4) and the Southern – Fiordland (CRA 8) fish stock. Recreational fishers did not support […]

Restoring crayfish abundance must be a priority

January 24, 2018 “There are none so blind as those who will not see. The most deluded people are those who choose to ignore what they already know”. This quote from John Heywood (1546) nicely sums up where we are at with crayfish management particularly on the northeast coast of the North Island. The CRA 2 fishery from […]

Making a difference for crayfish

January 20, 2018 LegaSea is pleased that the Minister Stuart Nash has agreed to review the crayfish fishery on the northeast coast after years of lobbying by thousands of individuals, the New Zealand Underwater Association, and the New Zealand Sport Fishing Council. Having the CRA 2 fish stock, between Waipu and East Cape, deplete to the point where […]

Crayfish campaign a success

October 4, 2017 Between July and September LegaSea ran a campaign – the ‘Crayfish Crisis’. It highlighted the collapse of the Crayfish 2 (CRA 2) stock and the need for a Royal Commission of Inquiry into the Quota Management System. This campaign was developed following the March 2017 survey of more than 800 CRA 2 fishers and divers. […]

Crayfish hanging on by a leg

August 26, 2017 There has been a mixed reaction since we launched the Crayfish Crisis campaign in July. Commercial fishers argue there are abundant crayfish between Pakiri and East Cape of the North Island, and we are creating an issue in CRA 2 where none exists. The Ministry for Primary Industries consider the CRA2 stock is well above […]

The Crayfish Crisis

July 11, 2017 Despite overwhelming evidence that the CRA2 fishery off Auckland’s east coast and Bay of Plenty is in critical condition the Minister for Primary Industries Nathan Guy says there’s no problem, and he has no intention of doing anything about the declining number of crayfish until at least April 2018. Recreational fishers wrote to the Minister in […]

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