New fishing rules come into effect on 1 October
30 September 2009
Two sets of national fishing regulations come into effect on 1 October, the Ministry of Fisheries has announced. The new rules relate to paua and rock lobster (crayfish).
In relation to paua, the “accumulation defence” – claiming that large numbers of the shellfish in your freezer are the result of many previous days fishing – no longer applies.
The Fisheries (Amateur Fishing) Regulations 1986 have been changed for every area (except Fiordland) to restrict the amount of paua a person can have in their possession on any day.
This is done by setting an accumulation limit of 20 paua, which is twice the daily bag limit, or the equivalent meat weight of paua (2.5 kilograms). Maori customary rights are not affected by this change – however, customary fishers should always remember to carry their authorisations.
“The accumulation limit will help further with compliance activity at the points of storage, transport and export,” said Andrew Coleman, Ministry of Fisheries Deputy Chief Executive Field Operations.
“We will work with Customs New Zealand to restrict the personal export of paua to the 20 paua or 2.5-kilogram meat weight accumulation limit in order to stop the export of illegally caught paua.”
Paua fishers are advised to carefully label their catch to make sure they meet the new rule, noting particularly the date of catch on bags and other containers.
Turning to rock lobster, recreational fishers can now use hand-operated lassoes to gather crayfish in all New Zealand waters.
Also known as cray loops, this method is likely to be less damaging than some currently permitted methods (including hand gathering) and will also improve recreational divers’ ability to catch rock lobster safely.
Spring loaded lassoes are banned, however. “This type of lasso can damage lobsters and reduce their chances of surviving on release,” said Andrew Coleman.
“This change helps divers catch lobsters while minimising the risk of damage in the process. It also makes the rules about lassoes much clearer and easier to enforce.”
Hand-operated lassoes are a species-specific target method that is unlikely to affect other marine life or the environment.
Daily bag limits of six lobsters per fisher per day are in place to control overall catch in the amateur sector.
“These new rules will help the Ministry implement one of the actions in the recently released Fisheries 2030 goal and plan of action,” Andrew Coleman concluded. “We are aiming to optimise the level of voluntary compliance with fisheries laws and standards, and to maintain an effective deterrence against illegal activity.”
If members of the public see any activity they think is suspicious, including large accumulations of paua or crayfish being caught in unusual ways, they should call 0800 4 POACHER (0800 476224).