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Recreational pāua limits halved

A new daily limit for recreational pāua fishers in the central and lower North Island comes into effect today, halving the previous limit of 10 to five.

This decision was announced by the Ministry of Primary Industries [MPI] on Thursday.

It backs a need to support the sustainability of pāua stocks following reports of depletion from customary and recreational fishers.

Concerns were raised this year by fishers, communities and tāngata whenua, including the Mai Paritu tae atu ki Turakirae Fisheries Forum which represents iwi and hapū from Gisborne to South Wairarapa.

Fisheries New Zealand’s director of fisheries management Emma Taylor said localised depletion had been especially reported in easily accessible areas, expected to have higher recreational fishing activity in the warmer months.

“The new measures take a precautionary approach to managing the fishery so that pāua can be enjoyed by future generations.”

Public consultation on the changes was undertaken in April this year, with Fisheries New Zealand receiving more than 60 submissions.

Taylor said this feedback – which included strong support from tangata whenua, recreational fishers, and local communities to reduce daily limits – led to the new limits.

“Community feedback, along with the best available scientific information, contributes to determining sustainable catch settings,” said Taylor.

“It highlights the importance of working together for the sustainability of these important shared fisheries.”

Recreational fisher based in South Wairarapa, Jannine Rickards said she believed the new limits would prove to be a good thing.

“I think it was unnecessary to have ten. For most people, that’s a lot,” Rickards said.

“It’s a taonga you know? It should be harvested accordingly when you need some but not all the time.”

Rickards said a smaller limit would hopefully encourage fishers to only take what was needed.

“Kaimoana should be enjoyed fresh; it shouldn’t be frozen,” Rickards said.

“For me, but the ultimate flavour and enjoyment is in the fresh freshly caught produce.”

Having moved to the region 17 years ago, Rickards said she had noticed a recent increase in the recreational fishing activity around Ngāwī.

“It’s got quite busy at Ngāwī in the last few years with tourism and people venturing out that way to have a look,” Rickards said.

“There’s a cafe in Pirinoa and a campground at Ngāwī, which is great, but it means more people go out there because there’s something to do or see.”

Rickards said monitoring stock health could ensure future generations will have “this beautiful kai for their whānau”.

“It is a step towards living by Te Ao Māori [Māori worldview] and Kaitiakitanga, the Guardianship of natural resources,” Rickards said.

“In this way of living, you’re really connected to your whenua and your moana and you know this does need to be managed.”

While adjusting catch limits was one way to manage pāua stocks, co-owner and operator of South Wairarapa’s Tora Collective Claire Edwards said stock management also needed to include seasonal closures for spawning periods.

“Adjusting catch limits is one way to manage pāua stocks, but considering seasonal closures for spawning periods is equally crucial,” Edwards said.

“Accurate data on recreational harvesting is needed to understand its impact on our shores and make informed decisions about catch limits.”

Edwards said apps have been developed in other areas of New Zealand for recreational fishers to record their catch and would be beneficial in decision-making and protecting the resource.

“Making cuts without knowing how much recreational harvests is like pouring from a cup without knowing how much water it holds,” Edwards said.

“Having comprehensive data on recreational harvesting is essential for the benefit of all Kiwis, enabling us to fine-tune catch limits for both commercial and recreational fishing and ensuring there’s plenty of pāua for future generations.”


  1. Sad to see New Zealand being r**** or poisoned or sold off to Foreign countries. I’ve witnessed fishing companies over fishing our coasts ,1080 being dumped by the truck loads and land now gone and in Foreign Ownership. The lies we are being told and the truths we are not , Unless We unite as One people, This beautiful Country Will have Nothing Left. Divide and Conquer. And by the way, You can buy fresh NZ snapper in OZ for $15 a kilo.

  2. Discusting..so if out tane want to go out diving to get some Kai to feed his whanau, he can only get 5.. who’s suppose to go diving for the kids to get thier Kai or our kaumatuas? We need to get rid of these clowns in parliament, who bulk up thier rich mates pockets while the rest of us a starving in our substandard housing, trying to survive in this s*** economy

  3. Can u show map of all area that this applies ,
    In taranaki we not allowed to gather anything other than surfcasting

  4. Yes this has serious consequences for fishers…hope our govt monitors the sea water every week for the next 10years..it will be a slow change tho

  5. Our family witnessed 26 fish bins full of paua taken out of robin hood bay South island for the export market disgusting. And now we kiwis get penalized trying to feed our whanau while poachers and commercial fisheries rape our ocean all for money. This is bullshit

  6. Can MPI tell the people of this country if they have cut the commercial quota by 50 percent ? The same as for recreational divers ; who often give most of their catch away to elders and those unable to dive. If this is not the case then we are effectively subsidising the commercial fisheries with our Taonga and that’s just bull shit.

  7. It’s a positive step in the direction towards safeguarding the species to remain at a sustainable level for both recreational and commercial harvest. Five legal sized Paua is a generously proportionate daily limit for recreational divers and will help to allow the species to maintain healthy numbers for everyone in the future. MAF should be given far harsher penalties to dish out to poachers illegally pillaging our coastal species, instead of the weak ‘Smack on the hand’ infringement warning notices they issue to blatant repeat offenders. It’s time to take a tougher stance towards people overfishing for the illegal black market profit.

    • Hi Matt, I agree but if our commercial fisheries are not doing the same (50 percent reduction) then all the recreational divers are subsidising them to put more Paua on the plates in China and Japan. Is this a level playing field ?

    • Agree but our lopsided racial inequality and nanny state won’t help I am moari and have seen how we as a race have disregard for sustainability and am ashamed if you want to protect and have a sustainable fishery them make the playing feild level a law that is for one and all

  8. This is crap let the iwi in each area decide not the govt. Govt is motivated by the bottom dollar, r***** the moana for export! while rec divers provide for whanau, not like we’re all gonna take 10 all the time?
    And why just the bottom of the north? sounds like B.S to me.

  9. It’s not the recreational fishers it’s the commercial andscumwho sell on the black market no more Kina Paula toheroa sweet breads tripe snapper all being pillaged by scum and commercial fishing to foreign rich parasites in China Japan France Germany US and other distant lands and to hell with local owing Rob Belz

  10. So commercial fishers can still gather tons can they ? Would love an answer thats truthful . Like how many commercial licenses are given out , even though they pay and there quota limits .

  11. Take it off the recreational divers who only go out to get there family a feed so that the commercial divers can go in there an r*** the sea the problem is they can take tons an tons of our own kai an sell it too over sea buyers its them that they need too f*** watch all our f***** seafood is been sold over seas an we are the ones paying for it crayfish kina paua even our fish an they blame us some c*** are making money

  12. soon use are going to charge us to gather kai are use going to charge us to eat to soon your not god U don’t own us

  13. I think it should of been drop to 6 because if you gather for your elders you can give them a couple of paua so you normally give about 4 away and leave 2 for yourself which is still a good Kai and perhaps looking at reducing the take size down in other areas where paua don’t grow past 75 to 100 mm and would reduce pressure from the central and lower areas of the North Island because from from central North Island up its bloody hard to find a legal size paua and plus we have different species of paua which don’t grow to that size and water temperature is warmer where as paua prefer cooler temperatures this is why they grow to a bigger size going down around the bottom of the North Island to the South Island.

  14. Bro I just saw on line commercial fishermen with ther 12 big fisheries buckets full of Paua at least a couple of hundred and big boxes of kina hundreds showing them of on u tube wtf u people protecting the foreign investment cannot save anything when your dishonest this means u kiwi your the one r***** the sea and maori collective who sold there rites to fssb don’t represent the individual maori who never sold there rites

  15. If we don’t stop Japan from dumpling radiated water into the ocean, sooner it later we will not be able to eat any seafood let alone how many you imposed on the limit, everything will die from radiation

Comments are closed.

Bella Cleary
Bella Cleary
Bella Cleary is a reporter at the Wairarapa Times-Age, originally hailing from Wellington. She is interested in social issues and writes about the local arts and culture scene.

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