No Question About Sustainability Of North Island East Coast Snapper
19 November 2002
A significant rebuild of the North Island east coast snapper fishery has taken place since the mid-1980s to create a sustainable fishery, the Ministry of Fisheries (MFish) says.
At the start of the new fishing year on 1 October, the Minister of Fisheries announced a Total Allowable Catch of 450 tonnes for snapper in the North Island east coast (SNA 2) incorporating an increase in the commercial catch from 252 to 315 tonnes. The NZ Recreational Fishing Council maintains the decisions pose a sustainability threat.
However MFish says the views of the council are contrary to new stock assessment information suggesting the SNA2 fishery has rebuilt strongly since the mid-1980s when the Quota Management System was introduced.
Over the next three to five years SNA2 is expected to further increase in size, and will probably be at or above a level that produces the maximum sustainable yield from the fishery, estimated to be between 450 and 500 tonnes.
The decision to increase the allowable commercial catch to 315 tonnes has been taken in light of the current state of the fishery. An allocation for recreational fishing of 90 tonnes has also been provided.
While the commercial catch limit has been increased, rebuilding the SNA2 fishery is good news for all fisheries sectors.
For SNA2, the daily bag limit for recreational fishers remains at the level set in 1993, 10 snapper per person each day, to provide a reasonable day's catch. MFish says while the bag limit remains unchanged, catch rates and overall catch of snapper by recreational fishers can be expected to improve.
Further work is being undertaken to confirm the latest estimates of annual recreational catches, and new information will be included in an update of stock assessment information on the SNA2 fishery.
The Council incorrectly stated that the daily bag limit had decreased from 15 to 10 snapper per person in the last couple of years to help the fishery rebuild.
For further information, contact Sarah Morton tel 04 494 2370