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:
73% of respondents supported restoring marine abundance.
Fishers and non-fishers want conservative management of crayfish stocks.
39% supported a 60% reduction in the commercial catch limit Option 4.
42% supported closing CRA 2 to all fishing for a time.
Most respondents fished in the Hauraki Gulf, Coromandel or Mayor Island.
89% of respondents who had caught crayfish in CRA 2 rated the size and availability of crayfish as poor (48%) or decimated (41%).
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.
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.
February 20, 2022
When science and decision-making collide in the world of fisheries management, conservation is most often the loser. Fisheries New Zealand recently proposed a 5 to 15 percent cut to commercial catch limits in the northern crayfish fishery and catch increases in southern areas. LegaSea worked with our New Zealand Sport Fishing Council fisheries team and […]
December 24, 2018
As we lurch our way into the silly season it is only natural that our thoughts turn to fishing and diving for the delicacies we have dreamt about all year. Crayfish is on the top of many people’s wish list, to say thanks to someone special, for sharing with the whanau or as a holiday […]
December 2, 2018
It is not very often we get to celebrate good news in fisheries management but it’s worth popping the corks for this conservation initiative. In September the 34,000 strong New Zealand Sport Fishing Council announced it was promoting a voluntary reduction of the recreational crayfish bag limit in the Hauraki Gulf and Bay of Plenty. […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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. […]
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, […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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. […]
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 […]
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 […]