Kaikoura’s paua fishery reopens for three months

Photo: NZ Ministry for Primary Industries

Kaikoura’s paua fishery reopened on December 1 after being closed for five years following the 2016 earthquakes that caused significant seabed uplift and damage to the marine habitat.

The decision follows public consultation and input from tangata whenua on recommendations from the Kaikoura Marine Guardians to reopen the Kaikoura Marine area to paua fishing.

The opening for commercial and recreational paua fishing covers the Kaikoura Marine Area and the northern coastline through to Marfells Beach and Cape Campbell until February 28, 2022, and will be closely monitored.

“We’re really excited about being able to open the fishery,” said Allen Frazer, Fisheries New Zealand’s manager inshore fisheries south. “The health of the fishery will be closely examined to understand the effect fishing has on paua.”

The closure of the fishery because of the earthquakes was unprecedented. Since then, research and monitoring has shown that paua is recovering and can support some limited harvesting.

The cautious reopening introduces new rules and bag limits for gathering paua along Kaikoura’s coastline:

  • A daily limit of five blackfoot paua per person
  • A minimum legal size of 125 millimetres
  • An accumulation limit of up to two daily limits of paua per person. This means if you are gathering over two or more days, you can only have two daily limits of paua in your possession, including at home in the fridge or freezer.
  • No taking of yellowfoot paua

Paua fishers can expect to regularly see Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) fishery officers throughout the short season.

“MPI fishery officers will be out along the coast and on the water,” added Frazer. “They’ll be visual and checking peoples’ catch. If you’re unsure about any of the rules or how to harvest paua, talk to one of our team.”

For further details on fishing rules for this area, download the free NZ Fishing Rules app.

Four customary management areas (three mataitai reserves and the Te Taumanu o Te Waka a Maui taiapure) along the Kaikoura coastline will remain closed to both commercial and recreational paua fishing for this time. The Waiopuka (Wakatu Quay) rāhui is still in place, meaning the area remains closed to all fishing.


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