Successful Management of Spat Catching Sites in Golden Bay and Tasman Bay
30 October 2003
The Ministry of Fisheries today announced that two large mussel spat catching sites will operate again this summer, one each in Golden Bay and Tasman Bay.
The Ministry of Fisheries has issued permits for the two 200-hectare sites to run between November and April. The sites are located 5 kilometres offshore of Tarakohe Harbour, in Golden Bay and 5 kilometres offshore of Motueka in Tasman Bay.
This will be the third year the two sites have been used. The sites will supply mussel spat, or small seed mussels, for on-growing on marine farms throughout the top of the South Island and elsewhere in New Zealand.
"The spat catching sites are managed to high environmental standards", said Senior Fisheries Management Advisor Scott Williamson. "In the past there were some problems with spat falling from structures and collecting on the seafloor. However, spat catchers have worked hard with the Cawthron Institute, a local research provider, to improve management."
The sites are now operated in accordance with an adaptive management plan aimed at maximising spat catch while minimising environmental effects. The adaptive management plan changes each year as we learn more from monitoring about the best ways to manage the sites.
"The monitoring that occurs at the sites is some of the most progressive in the country," said Grant Hopkins, a scientist with the Cawthron Institute. "Throughout summer, surveys of the seafloor will be carried out to ensure environmental effects remain within safe levels. If problems occur, spat catching stops and steps are taken to remedy effects."
"The Ministry of Fisheries sees this as something of a success story which shows how activities in our coastal waters can be sustainably managed if we turn our minds to the task," said Mr Williamson. "Spat catchers have taken a responsible approach to managing their sites."
"We have invested a lot of time and money to make sure our activities are sustainable," said Graeme Coates, Executive Officer of the NZ Marine Farming Association.
"A good supply of mussel spat is vital to New Zealand's growing mussel aquaculture industry, a major export earner. The Tasman and Golden Bay sites will be particularly important this year because a naturally occurring algal bloom in Northland is preventing mussel spat being taken from traditional collecting areas along Ninety Mile Beach."
For further information please contact
Scott Williamson Graeme Coates
Senior Fisheries Management Advisor Executive Officer
Ministry of Fisheries NZ Marine Farming Association
Tel. 027 268 7058 Tel. 03 578 5044