Fisheries New Zealand has reviewed catch limits for 14 fish stocks and introduced a full year-round closure to harvesting shellfish at Cockle Bay/Tuwakamana on Auckland’s east coast.
Director of fisheries management, Emma Taylor, said the changes were part of a regular review to ensure the ongoing sustainability of New Zealand’s fish resources.
“We review stocks in April and October every year to determine if changes are required to management settings to ensure our fisheries remain sustainable,” said Ms Taylor. “If the science tells us more fish can be sustainably caught, then we increase the catch limits. However, if this information shows the opposite, we look to reduce the catch limits to help rebuild stocks.”
Of the 14 stocks reviewed, catch limits will increase for five stocks, four will decrease and five remain unchanged. The Cockle Bay shellfish closure will come into effect on 1 May 2021, which is when the beach would have previously opened under the current seasonal closure that is in place.
Species under review include packhorse rock lobster, stocks of which have increased in recent years and flatfish and yellow-eyed mullet which are becoming less populous because of habit degradation and pollution.
“Our oceans and fisheries are important to all New Zealanders – they provide food for our whānau and jobs in our communities,” said Ms Taylor. “By reviewing catch limits and other management measures, we help ensure their long-term sustainability for all New Zealanders to enjoy.”