No paua fishing on the Kaikoura coast this summer

The blackfoot pawa is a type of taunga that is consumed as part of the classic Kiwi summer by the sea.
Jeremy Wilkinson/Staff

The blackfoot pawa is a type of taunga that is consumed as part of the classic Kiwi summer by the sea.

Kaimoana lovers in Kaikōura and south Marlborough may have to go without a fresh paua on Barbie this summer as the fishery remains closed.

Around this time last year, there was an influx of people heading to the coast for Paua as the fishery opened for a three-month trial season, for the first time since the 2016 earthquakes devastated residents.

However, this year the paua fishery will remain closed during the summer, and the Ministry of Primary Industries wants to remind people that harvesting paua is currently illegal.

Fisheries Regional Compliance Director Howard Reed said last summer’s test season was so popular that MPI decided to wait until after the next summer break to reopen fishing. Consultations are underway to determine the format for the next season.

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Last summer was “extremely busy” for fishing teams patrolling the coast, Reid said, as there was so much excitement around the reopening of the paua fishery.

An estimated 42 tons of baua were taken by recreational divers during the three-month period, according to survey results released in August, which was more than normal and commercial combined, leading to calls for recreational recreation to be reported as the rest of the fishery was.

“It’s wonderful, in that it shows a very healthy recovery, in a way. But the survey and the science suggests that the level is taken too much and needs to be lowered,” Reid said.

Pāua is known for its strong grip and must be obtained from rocks often with a knife.

John Velvin/Staff

Pāua is known for its strong grip and must be obtained from rocks often with a knife.

“we hope that [delaying the season] It will mean that conditions are unfavorable and people will not have their free time which they had during the holidays.”

The survey interviewed 1,700 randomly selected fishermen as they returned with their catch at several locations along the coast. They found an average of about 250 individuals hunting each day for paua.

In the Kaikoura Maritime District, about half of those surveyed were from Christchurch, and around 14% were Kaikoura residents. Further north at Marvel’s Beach and Ward Beach, most of the Bawa fishermen were from Blenheim and south of Marlborough.

The shoreline at Ward Beach, south of Marlborough, was lifted two meters from the sea by the 2016 earthquake.

Trevor Burkhardt / Introduction

The shoreline at Ward Beach, south of Marlborough, was lifted two meters from the sea by the 2016 earthquake.

The five largest paua recorded in the survey were at Ward Beach, one of which was 179 mm long. The minimum size was 125 mm.

Fisheries officials have long struggled to understand how much is being caught by recreational fishers, Reid said, in all fisheries, not just paua.

He said part of Bawa Fisheries’ consultation will look at how to better record game play. This may include a New Zealand Hunting Rules app that has already collected voluntary hunting reports.

MPI suggested either the paua season for two months from March, or three months from May. Sinkers were also encouraged to give their opinions on daily bag limits, minimum size, potential new vehicle and vessel rules, and whether paua hunting will be opened commercially until the end of the fishing year on March 31.

Honorary Volunteer Fisheries Officers will support MPI Fisheries Officers during the busy summer holiday period, and a new 7.5-meter Osprey-style pontoon boat for Kaikōura team, named Kaitiaki by Ngāti Kuri, was blessed last month.

Reid said fisheries officials would not have a “sense of humor” for people who caught paua during the closure.

“Our fisheries officers will be keeping a close eye on the paua fishery,” Reid said. “It is not worth the risk of an expensive infringement ticket as Christmas approaches or even a court trial.”

“If you are unsure of the fishing rules, the best way to find out is to download the free NZ Fishing Rules app. By sticking to the rules, you will help protect our kaimoana for generations to come.”

MPI encouraged people to report suspected illegal activity through the ministry’s 0800 4 hunter number (0800 47 62 24).

View the proposal for reopening the Paua fishery and submit an application by visiting the MPI website. Submissions will close at 5 p.m. on November 30.

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