Pāua fishing to return to Kaikōura

Catch settings for recreational pāua fishing in Kaikōura will be announced ahead of the season in April. Photo: Supplied / Environment Canterbury

Pāua fishing is set to return to Kaikōura in the New Year.

Following consultation, Minister of Oceans and Fisheries David Parker has decided the recreational pāua fishing season will take place from 15 April to 15 June, with commercial fishing starting on 5 January.

The delayed start to the new season followed a review after pāua were over-fished last summer.

Last season was the first one where the fishery was open after the 2016 earthquakes.

''The decision is based on the best available information and science, as well as feedback from tangata whenua and throughout the community, including the Kaikōura Marine Guardians, commercial and recreational fishers,'' Ministry of Primary Industries fisheries management director Emma Taylor said .

''We received nearly 300 submissions on the proposals, which is a testament to the importance of the fishery.''

A majority of those giving feedback supported having recreational fishing take place during a quieter part of the year, Taylor said.

There was widespread support for a year-round reopening of the commercial fishery, which targeted pāua in deeper water and in areas away from popular recreational spots.

The fishery suffered extensive damage in the 2016 earthquakes and, while it has been allowed time to recover, caution was needed to ensure it would be there for future generations to enjoy, Taylor said.

''We'll continue to closely monitor recreational take during the season to ensure catch settings remain appropriate, and work with all interested parties on longer-term strategies for maintaining and protecting the fishery.''

Catch settings for recreational pāua fishing would be announced ahead of the season in April.

''In the meantime, we'd like to remind people that recreational pāua fishing is prohibited,'' Taylor said.

''The majority of customary management areas also remain closed to commercial and recreational pāua fishing.''

Anyone who sees suspicious fishing behaviour can report it to 0800 476 224.

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