MFish seeks public’s views on kahawai fishery
29 June 2010
The Ministry of Fisheries is seeking submissions from the public on the management of the kahawai fishery. Kahawai are a traditional food source for customary Mäori fishers, a very popular fish for recreational fishers, and a target species for commercial fishers.
The largest kahawai fishery in the country stretches from North Cape to near East Cape (known as KAH1) and covers the important fishing grounds of the Bay of Plenty, Coromandel, Hauraki Gulf and Bay of Islands.
“The Ministry of Fisheries is committed to making sure the kahawai fishery will be sustainable for the long term,” said Ministry Inshore Fisheries Manager Leigh Mitchell.
“The Ministry has released a consultation paper with a range of options and we want the public’s views on which they prefer. The over-riding aim is making sure future generations will continue to be able to catch kahawai,” she said.
The best available information for KAH1 concludes that this fishery is healthy and fish numbers are above the legal target levels.
Fish numbers in other kahawai fisheries are uncertain. Scientific research is planned over the next two years that will give better and up-to-date information for fishery managers.
“Fishery managers take a cautious approach to managing fisheries where there is uncertainty,” said Ms Mitchell. “The less we know about a fishery; the more conservatively we manage it.”
The Ministry of Fisheries is proposing to make a technical adjustment to the recreational and customary Maori allowances in KAH1. This adjustment will not reduce the actual catch by non-commercial fishers, but recognises scientific advice on current non-commercial catch levels in KAH1.
“Because this is a technical adjustment, the proposed cuts to the non-commercial allowances would not be allocated to any other sector,” said Ms Mitchell.
“These proposals would mean no changes to the rules around recreational or customary Mäori catches. We are not proposing reductions in recreational daily bag limits for example,” she said.
The Ministry of Fisheries’ proposals for commercial fishers include a full range of options to increase, retain or decrease commercial catch limits.
The Minister of Fisheries will carefully consider all submissions received from the public as well as the best available science and management advice from the Ministry of Fisheries before making a decision on kahawai catch limits and management measures.
The consultation paper is available here. Submissions close on Friday 13 August 2010.