Ministry Notebook Upcoming fisheries consultations
Each year the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) reviews catch limits and management controls to make sure we are managing fisheries to best provide for use, while ensuring the long-term sustainability of these important resources.
These reviews use scientific and other fishery information to identify the stocks which may need changes ahead of the new fishing year. Once the group of stocks for review has been identified, MPI produces consultation documents outlining what management options could be considered for introduction. These documents are published on the MPI website so interested people can provide feedback.
Some of the fish stocks being considered for review for the October 1, 2016 fishing year include PAU7 (paua in Nelson/marlborough), SNA7 (snapper in Nelson/marlborough and the West Coast) and BNS 1, 2, 3, 7 and 8 (bluenose around the whole country except for the Kermadec area). This list is not definitive, and some stocks may be dropped and others added as they are prioritised.
At the top of the South Island, the latest scientific information for PAU7 indicates the stock is at a low abundance, and measures are required to rebuild the fishery. The commercial fishery has voluntarily not fished a significant portion of the commercial catch limit over the last four years to support this rebuild. However, the rebuild has slowed and stronger action is required to increase abundance in the fishery. Meetings with groups representing various sectors have begun, and will continue over the next few months, discussing information on stock status and options to ensure a healthy fishery for all.
The latest scientific information indicates that snapper within the SNA7 area has increased since 2009. The increase in snapper numbers has led to increasing catches for all sectors, to the point where the TAC is now likely being exceeded by all sectors. SNA7 is a key shared fishery at the top of South Island and recreational fishers take a significant proportion of the overall catch.
In line with our recreational initiative for these important fisheries, we have brought together a multi-sector group of recreational and commercial fishers for SNA7. They will consider if any changes may be required, as we did with blue cod in the Marlborough Sounds. This group has been meeting since the beginning of 2016. They held a series of public drop-in information sessions in April to present the latest information on SNA7 and discuss the fishery prior to considering if any changes will be required.
Bluenose stocks (BNS 1, 2, 3, 7, 8) are currently under a rebuild plan which began in 2011. This involved a three-year phased reduction to catch limits across the 2011-14 fishing years. After the second reduction in 2012, new data indicated a growth in stock abundance. Catch limits have remained at that level while new information has been gathered on the fishery. MPI is considering this new information and will make a decision soon about whether management
changes are necessary for the coming year.
MPI has also been working with commercial and recreational fishers on options for rebuilding the southern scallop fishery (Nelson/marlborough, SCA7), which is currently at a low point. If reviewed this year, consultation will occur on potential measures over the next few months and will follow a similar approach to that for SNA7.
If changes are ultimately recommended for these fisheries, further consultation will occur later this year. These are key shared fisheries, so if changes are recommended, it is important that the general public understands why they are needed and gives its support.
Keep your eye on the consultations section of the MPI website for more information on PAU7, SCA7 SNA7, BNS 1, 2, 3, 7 and 8, along with other proposals for October 2016, or email recfishingteam@ mpi.govt.nz to let us know which areas you would like to be kept updated on.