Several meetings to discuss the state of the crayfish stock in CRA 2 (the area between Pakiri and East Cape on the North Island) are underway in anticipation of a management review in early 2018.
This review cannot come quick enough, as we have been saying for a long time that the CRA 2 stock has collapsed.
Drastic measures need to be taken now to restore the abundance of crayfish, the diversity in the marine ecosystem, and to rebuild a balanced age structure in the crayfish population.
A stakeholders meeting was held in Tauranga in May 2013 and our New Zealand Sport Fishing Council science team attended, alongside customary, commercial and Ministry for Primary Industries representatives.
The clear message from that meeting was that all sectors wanted:
In 2014 the Minister reduced the commercial catch limit by 15%, which made little difference as the crayfish were not actually there to be caught.
Since then another couple of hundred tonnes of crayfish have been extracted and exported and the stock has declined further.
The survey we conducted earlier in the year showed strong public support for some sort of closure.
If we are serious about restoring the fishery and ecosystem, and leaving a legacy of abundance for future generations we need to be brave enough to close the CRA 2 fishery to all extraction NOW.
LegaSea is grateful to the New Zealand Underwater Association for providing a summary of their year’s activities to be included in the LegaSea-New Zealand Sport Fishing Council Fisheries Management Annual Report 2017.