Proposal to close harbour to cockle and pipi harvesting
The Ministry of Fisheries (MFish) has released a consultation paper on management options for the cockle fishery in Whangateau Harbour. Five management options span a range of temporary fishery closures, aimed to rebuild cockle numbers.
In early 2009 Whangateau Harbour suffered a die-off of between 56 and 63 per cent of its cockle population, caused by a coccidian parasite and a mycobacterium.
MFish has held some meetings with tangata whenua and the local community to discuss the issue and possible management options. Tangata whenua and many in the community are supportive of a temporary closure to enable the rebuild of the population.
An Initial Position Paper details the management options proposed and calls for submissions by 24 December 2009.
At the conclusion of formal consultation MFish will provide the Minister of Fisheries with a final advice paper, requesting his decision on whether or not to implement management options for the harbour.
To assist a speedy outcome in this case, minimum statutory consultation and notification timeframes are being used so that any changes can be implemented early in the New Year. This has been made possible because of the time taken to seek the input upfront from locals and fishery users.