Temporary closure of fishery at Pukerua Bay
25 October 2002
The Ministry of Fisheries has announced a temporary closure of most forms of fishing at Pukerua Bay aimed at allowing the fishery in the area to recover. The closure prohibits all methods of fishing with the exception of line fishing for finfish.
A Ministry spokesperson said the closure, recently approved by the Minister of Fisheries under the temporary closure provisions of the Fisheries Act, prohibits the taking and disturbing of shellfish, crustaceans such as barnacles, crabs and shrimps; echinoderms including starfish, urchins and sea cucumbers; other marine life and seaweeds. All categories of fishers including customary, recreational and commercial fishers, are affected by the restrictions.
Hand line fishing, which is still allowed under the new restrictions, has a minimal impact on reef floor communities and is a popular activity with local recreational fishers.
In making his decision, the Minister concluded that:
- continued harvesting could further deplete an already vulnerable resource;
- the initiative is unlikely to have a significant impact on the rights of stakeholders, particularly since these groups generally support the closure or currently do not fish the area;
- the use of the temporary closure provisions of the Fisheries Act is consistent with the Crown's fisheries settlement obligations.
The closure follows an approach by Te Runanga o Toa Rangatira Inc. (Ngäti Toa), who were concerned to protect the Pukerua Bay marine environment that has been under significant and increasing harvesting pressure. Ngäti Toa, with support of the Pukerua Bay Resident's Association, requested the closure. The closure will be in place for two years.
Written submissions on the proposal were invited from tangata whenua, environmental, commercial, recreational and local community interests. Nineteen submissions were received, and all but two support the initiative.
Local residents and Honorary Fishery Officers will assist in making the public aware of the new restrictions, and the Ministry would be seeking permission from the local authority to erect a sign at the beach to inform fishers and the general public.
For further information please contact: Raymond Necklen on 03 548 1069.