Minister congratulates crayfish industry
14 February 2008
Fisheries Minister Jim Anderton today congratulated the rock lobster (crayfish) industry in the lower North Island after they announced their intention to voluntarily reduce their catch for the coming season.
The CRA4 Rock Lobster Industry has agreed not to fish around 60 percent of their annual catch entitlement for the new fishing season starting 1 April. This follows a voluntary commercial catch reduction of 44 percent in the current fishing year (April 2007 – March 2008).
“I applaud the CRA4 industry for their responsible action,” Jim Anderton said.
“This kind of responsible self-management within sustainable limits is exactly what the Quota Management System is all about. The industry is showing that their commitment to this fishery is for the long term; they are not about making a quick buck and moving on.
“It also shows the forward thinking and business savvy of the CRA 4 industry. Intelligent management like this is exactly what is needed to ensure New Zealand businesses remain competitive in the international marketplace,” Jim Anderton said.
“The information we have tells us that the CRA4 stock level is declining after being very high from the mid-90s through to three to four years ago,” Jim Anderton said. “Nevertheless, numbers are still well above the level where I would have concerns about the sustainability of the stock.”
“Research is undertaken on crayfish fisheries regularly. If a future stock assessment shows the CRA 4 stock has fallen, or is going to fall below acceptable levels I will take action and reduce catches,” Jim Anderton said. “It is my job to ensure the sustainability of our fisheries into the future.”
The CRA4 industry is acting to make sure their fishery is in good shape economically as well as biologically. In voluntarily reducing their catch, they are looking to increase the size and abundance of lobster available at peak catching times when export market prices are at their best, both in the coming season and also for future seasons.