Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy has announced a renewal of the emergency closure prohibiting the take of shellfish and seaweed (excluding scampi and rock lobster) along the earthquake-affected area of the east coast of the South Island for a further nine months.
“This decision follows advice received from the Ministry for Primary Industries based on the latest scientific assessments of the area, and consultation with the public, local iwi and the paua industry,” says Mr Guy.
“Unfortunately the latest science information tells us that shellfish in the Kaikōura area have been badly impacted.
“Over 20% of adult paua habitat covering 94 hectares in the closed portion of the Paua 3 fishery has been lost due to uplift. The area where juvenile paua live has been impacted to an even greater degree.
“While some may be disappointed, I believe people understand the need to rebuild this fishery for the long term. We need to give the remaining adult paua and shellfish beds time to spawn, and the juveniles a chance to settle.
“MPI is working to develop a robust science package to estimate the impacts and provide sound advice for future management decisions. The science will examine not just the direct impacts on fisheries and other iconic marine species, but also on the habitats that support them.
“I will be using this latest scientific information and consulting with the local community before the end of closure to decide a way forward.
“As part of this, MPI will be assessing the feasibility of a paua reseeding programme.”
The renewed emergency closure is implemented under section 16(3) of the Fisheries Act 1996 and will take effect from 5pm 20 February and expire at 5pm 20 November 2017.
Details of the closure can be found at www.mpi.govt.nz