A bylaw prohibiting the take of four shellfish species from part of the Te Hoe Mataitai Reserve on the Mahia Peninsula has been approved by NZ Minister for Oceans and Fisheries David Parker.
The bylaw on the Mahia Peninsula in Hawke’s Bay comes into effect on Friday, December 17.
Commercial fishing is already excluded from the Te Hoe Mataitai Reserve, which is a customary fisheries area covering about 15 square kilometres. The bylaw, however, covers an area of less than one square kilometre.
Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) director of fisheries management Emma Taylor said the bylaw has been put in place to help the recovery of shellfish species important to tangata whenua.
“Under this bylaw it will be illegal for recreational fishers to take kina, koura (rock lobster), kuku (mussels), and paua from Waikokopu to Opoutama within the Te Hoe Mātaitai Reserve,” said Ms Taylor. “Vulnerable and traditionally important areas, like the Te Hoe Mataitai Reserve, benefit from bylaws like these to support the revitalisation and rebuild of shellfish abundance for future generations.”
Public consultation on the bylaw was held between October and November this year with 59 submissions received. All but two of these were in support of the proposed bylaw.
Mahia Māori Committee Chairman Paul Ratapu said the new bylaw for the Te Hoe Mataitai Reserve is the result of a combined effort by Tangata Kaitiaki/Tiaki, Fisheries New Zealand, and the wider Mahia community.
“There’s been a decline in the number and size of shellfish species in the rohe moana from Waikokopu to Opoutama within the Te Hoe Mātaitai Reserve,” said Mr Ratapu. “We’ve also been concerned about the impact of land-based activities on the near shore reefs, the high accessibility of the reefs by non-commercial fishers, and illegal fishing activities. This bylaw will go a long way in helping to address these problems.”
The Tangata Kaitiaki/Tiaki intend to regularly monitor the health of the shellfish beds to see how they respond to the bylaw to inform future community management of the species.
The Te Hoe Mataitai reserve is one of three Mataitai established on the Mahia Peninsula. Te Hoe Mataitai and the other two Mātaitai on the peninsula (Horokaka and Te Toka Tamure) were all established in 2012.
Since 2016, bylaws have been implemented in the Te Toka Tāmure and Horokaka Mataitai. However, this is the first time a bylaw has been implemented in the Te Hoe Mataitai.
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