Fisheries New Zealand reminds people – you cannot gather extra pāua for other people not fishing

A month into the recreational Kaikōura and south Marlborough pāua season, most people are following the rules, however people gathering extra pāua for people not actively fishing has kept fishery officers busy.

“The bag limit is really important to continuing recovery of this fishery affected by the 2016 earthquakes. If people are in the water actively finding and taking pāua, they are entitled to a daily limit only – they can’t take extra for anyone else in their group who is not fishing for pāua. Fishery Officers are keeping a close eye on this and will do throughout the season,” says Fisheries New Zealand regional manager Fisheries Compliance, Howard Reid.

This season the area from Marfells Beach to Conway River is open for people to gather up to a daily limit of 3 ordinary blackfoot pāua and 3 yellow foot pāua per gatherer per day. The minimum size for black foot pāua is 125mm and for yellowfoot pāua it is 80mm.

And within the OaroHaumuri Taiāpure on the coast south of Kaikōura the daily limit is reduced to 2 blackfoot pāua with a larger minimum size of 135mm, people can also take only 2 yellowfoot pāua from this area with a minimum size of 80mm.

Fisheries New Zealand has Fishery Officers and Honorary Fishery Officers regularly patrolling the coast with extra officers brought in when needed, such as during holiday weekends like ANZAC Day which brought plenty of people to the region.

“Flat sea, blue sky, sunshine and ANZAC Day meant we had quite a lot of visitors to the Kaikōura coast gathering pāua over the weekend.

We found several people gathering extra pāua for other people in their group. You can’t do that, and we’re strictly enforcing this rule. Our job is to protect the fishing resources from overfishing and ensure people take the legal daily limit and minimum pāua size. We treat every situation on a case-by-case basis and issue warnings and infringements where needed.”

Mr Reid says most people were aware of the new rules and stuck to them. A few infringement notices were issued for undersize pāua – mostly to people who guessed their pāua measurements or used a tool, such as a paint scraper or stick, to remove them off the rocks and try to measure their catch which proved inaccurate in minimum size almost every time.

“Our advice – ask a Fishery Officer for a Fisheries New Zealand free official pāua tool and you’ll get it right every time and protect pāua from being damaged during gathering.

Our fishery officers were along the coast talking to people about the rules before they gathered and during catch inspections once people came out of the water. People who have clearly made no effort to follow the rules can expect a fine,” says Howard Reid.

The 2-month recreational season ends on 15 June.

“How we treat this season will likely affect future seasons. If you’re unsure of any rules, ask a fishery officer or download the fishing rules app which works even if you’re outside a coverage area. If we all fish responsibly, the resource will hopefully be sustainable into the future,” Mr Reid says.

The new Kaikōura recreational pāua fishing rules are here.

Further information

including rules for other fish species is available on MPI’s website or by downloading the free NZ Fishing Rules app.

Fisheries New Zealand encourages people to report suspected illegal activity through the Ministry’s 0800 4 POACHER number (0800 47 62 24).

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