Sustainability Decisions For Southern Rock Lobster
Tuesday, 27 March 2001
Concern at very low stock levels has driven a decision to reduce the commercial catch limit for southern rock lobster, Fisheries Minister Pete Hodgson said today.
The total allowable commercial catch for the CRA7 (Otago) quota area is being reduced from 111 to 89 tonnes, while the CRA8 (Southland) TACC is being reduced from 711 to 568 tonnes. The new limits take effect in the 2001-2002 fishing year, beginning 1 April.
"This will be a difficult adjustment for commercial cray fishers in the south," Mr Hodgson said. "However the stock must be allowed to recover for the sake of the longer term survival of the fishery and the industry."
"Cray stocks in the southern areas are now estimated at just 4 percent of their pre-fishing level, which is 23 percent of the desired level for sustainable fishing. The stocks have not shown the necessary signs of rebuilding that would allow fishing to continue at current levels.
"In this instance I have reduced only the commercial quota rather than the total catch, so the recreational and Maori customary allowances are unaffected," Mr Hodgson said. "Estimates of the non-commercial catch are very uncertain but it is clearly a small percentage of the total. New information on the non-commercial take will become available this year, which will enable this matter to be revisited in the future."
Attached: Letter to fishery stakeholders on quota decisions