Tuesday, 3 March 2009


This announcement from new Fisheries Minister Phil Heatley clearly shows that inshore fisheries management works.

Minister announces new limits for lobsters

Fisheries Minister Phil Heatley has announced changes to the catch limits of four rock lobster stocks today.Catch limits in Otago and Southland fisheries will increase, while catch limits in Gisborne and Wellington/Hawke Bay fisheries will decrease. The limit changes will take effect on 1 April 2009.

Mr Heatley said his decisions were based on the best information available and careful consideration of submissions received from customary, recreational and commercial fishers, and the wider public.

“My overriding goal when adjusting catch limits is to make sure there will be fish for future generations of fishers.”

“When the science says extra fish can be safely taken then I will increase catch limits. However, if the science suggests catch limits need to be cut to protect the sustainability of the fishery, I will not hesitate to cut catches,” Mr Heatley said.

Southern Rock Lobster Fisheries

From 1 April, total catch in Otago (CRA 7) will increase 45% from 144 tonnes to 209 tonnes, and in Southland (CRA 8) total catch will increase 5% from 1053 tonnes to 1110 tonnes.

Both fisheries are closely managed with ongoing monitoring of stock health and abundance. This enables rapid responses to changes in lobster numbers to maintain strong and healthy stocks.

Mr Heatley said those operating in the Southern Rock Lobster fisheries deserved to be congratulated.

“The hard decisions in the late 1990s are bearing fruit and allowing me to increase catch limits now that the stocks are healthy, well above sustainable limits, and being carefully managed,” Mr Heatley said.

Most of the increase will go to commercial fishers with commercial quotas up 65 tonnes in CRA 7 and 53 tonnes in CRA 8. Mr Heatley said the increases would be welcomed by local communities in these difficult economic times.

Non-commercial catch limits will stay the same in CRA 7 but in CRA 8, the recreational allowance will increase.

“The information we have suggests the non-commercial catches in CRA 7 are still less than the existing allowances. In CRA 8, stakeholders have agreed catches may be exceeding allowances and a 4 tonne increase to the recreational allowance is appropriate,” Mr Heatley said.

Northern Rock Lobster Fisheries

Catch limits in Gisborne (CRA 3) and in Wellington/Hawke Bay (CRA 4) will decrease.

“There are problems in these fisheries and our focus needs to be on increasing the numbers of lobsters in the water,” Mr Heatley said.

Total catch in Gisborne (CRA 3) will decrease 9% from 319 tonnes to 293 tonnes, with the commercial operators wearing all of the pain this time around.

Mr Heatley has asked the sector groups in CRA 3 to work constructively together in 2009 to develop a management tool to guide the setting of catch limits in the future.

Its simple. When there is lots of fish , fishermen are allowed to catch more when there isn't they get a quota cut.

FYI -Top boats in Cra8 last year caught about 40 tonne at about $50 a kilo.. You can do the math.

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