Trawl fishing ban for Eastern Bay of Plenty
3 November 2000
Commercial trawling and Danish seine fishing vessels will be prohibited from operating within two nautical miles of shore in the Eastern Bay of Plenty, Fisheries Minister Pete Hodgson said today.
The ban will extend from Haurere Point to Cape Runaway. Regulations enforcing it will be in place by early next year.
Mr Hodgson said the Government was introducing the ban to resolve a long-standing dispute between commercial fishers, and local Maori, residents and recreational fishers.
The dispute is about the effects of commercial trawl, Danish seine, longline and set net fishing in inshore waters in the region. In recent years local people have complained frequently that use of these fishing methods close to the shore makes it difficult for non-commercial fishers to catch a reasonable quantity of fish.
"These vessels can catch large quantities of species such as snapper and tarakihi that are also sought after by non-commercial fishers," Mr Hodgson said. "This ban will ensure that non-commercial fishers fishing off rocks or from small boats will not have to compete with such vessels close to the shore."
Some commercial trawl operators had offered to observe a voluntary closure out to 1 nautical mile. In most of the rest of the Bay of Plenty, trawling and Danish seining is prohibited within two nautical miles. The new ban is therefore consistent with those conditions.
There is very little commercial set net and longline fishing in the Eastern Bay, so the closure does not include these types of fishing.
"This has been a lengthy dispute", said Mr Hodgson. "I hope this decision will create the same stable situation that exists in the rest of the Bay of Plenty, where the two-mile zone has applied for many years. The vast majority of the fishing grounds used by commercial operators in the Bay of Plenty remain unaffected by this change."