New season for the Otago commercial rock lobster fishery
8 September 2009
The commercial fishing season for commercial rock lobster (crayfish) fishing is to be extended by 19 days, Ministry of Fisheries Inshore Manager Leigh Mitchell announced today.
The commercial fishing season will now open on 1 June and close again on 19 November. Previously the season opened on 21 June.
“This change will give commercial fishers a little more flexibility to structure their fishing operations around when rock lobster prices in overseas markets are at their highest” said Ms Mitchell.
Non-commercial fishers say one of their best fishing times is autumn when the weather is settled and the sea calm. The commercial fishery will remain closed over autumn so the slightly longer commercial season should have minimal impact on non-commercial fishing.
The recreational and commercial fishing sectors were divided on whether the commercial season should be extended.
“The small extension will not give either sector exactly what they wanted. Instead, it provides a good balance between meeting what both recreational and commercial fishers want” Ms Mitchell said.
The Otago rock lobster fishery (CRA7) stretches from the Waitaki River south to Long Point. The Total Allowable Commercial Catch is 189 tonnes.
Last year, rock lobster exported from New Zealand was worth over $68 a kilogram which gave the Otago rock lobster fishery an estimated export value of around $8.2 million.