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Commercial Fishing



New shellfish limit set in New Zealand. The recreational limit of pāua (a type of marine gastropod mollusc) is changing in Canterbury, Marlborough, and Nelson areas in New Zealand to ensure the fishery remains sustainable after the impacts of the Kaikōura earthquakes in 2016.

The daily bag limit for pāua is being reduced from 10 to 5, and the accumulation limit from 20 pāua or 2.5kg of minced meat, to 10 pāua or 1.25kg of minced meat. This applies to both black-foot and yellow-foot pāua.
These changes take effect on 12 December 2019 in the Kaikōura/Canterbury (PAU3) and Nelson/Marlborough (PAU7) fisheries.

The bag and accumulation limit is the maximum amount of pāua any 1 person can have in their possession at any given time if they have been fishing over more than 1 day, says Fisheries New Zealand‘s director of fisheries management, Stuart Anderson.

“The earthquakes caused an uplift of coastline in both PAU3 and PAU7 which had a significant impact on pāua populations.

“This was a unique event, and we need to be cautious to ensure the long-term sustainability of the resource. The change to harvest levels has been informed by the best available science and consultation with the local community, during which there was strong support for a reduction.”

The total allowable commercial catch (TACC) limits were decreased in 2016/2017 in both PAU3 and PAU7 by 50%. The commercial industry in PAU7 has voluntarily shelved a further 10% of the TACC to minimise the impacts of catch displaced from the closed area affected by the earthquakes.

“The commercial and recreational catch changes help ensure that everyone plays their part in helping to maintain the sustainability of the fisheries,” says Stuart.

The shellfish and seaweed closures are still in place along the Kaikōura and southern Marlborough coast. There is still research underway looking into the impacts of the earthquake uplift and it is important we continue to give this area time to recover.

Brochures, including information about the new bag and accumulation limit, will be made available.