On the 12th of December last year pāua bag and accumulation limits changed for Canterbury, Marlborough and Nelson regions. This is in response to the increased pressure placed on the fishery after the Kaikōura earthquakes in 2016. The uplift from the earthquakes significantly affected pāua populations in both PAU3 and PAU7 and MPI wants to ensure long-term sustainability of this delicacy.
For both black-foot and yellow-foot pāua the recreational daily bag limit was reduced from 10 to 5 and the accumulation limit halved from 20 pāua or 2.5kg of minced meat to 10 pāua or 1.25kg.
The total allowable commercial catch (TACC) was also halved and the commercial industry voluntarily reduced this by a further 10%.
Pāua are large sea snails highly valued both as a food source and a part of our culture. They live in shallow water (typically less than 10m) around the New Zealand coastline. Black-foot pāua make up the majority of the fishery and yellow-foot pāua are only collected in much smaller numbers. They both have very small home ranges but can congregate in large groups in suitable environments. Spawning success is related to the number and size of groups so ensuring enough pāua is left for a fruitful next generation is crucial.
For most of New Zealand the minimum legal size for black-foot pāua is 125mm however in Taranaki it is reduced to 85mm as they don’t grow very large, likely because of environmental conditions. Yellow-foot pāua have a minimum legal size of 80mm.
You cannot collect pāua while using or in possession of Underwater Breathing Apparatus (UBA) including in your vehicle or vessel.