The daily limit for recreationally caught paua has been reduced to 5 of each paua species per fisher to support the sustainability of stocks in the central and lower North Island.
The new rules took effect on September 4, 2023.
"Paua are a popular species to catch for many New Zealanders, and are highly valued by Maori customary fishers, recreational fishers, and commercial fishers alike," says Fisheries New Zealand’s director fisheries management, Emma Taylor.
Tangata whenua, including the Mai Paritu tae atu ki Turakirae Fisheries Forum which represents iwi and hap? from Gisborne to South Wairarapa raised concerns about the sustainability of paua stocks. This view was also reflected in submissions from recreational fishers.
"Customary and recreational fishers have reported localised depletion, particularly in easily accessible areas which are expected to have higher levels of recreational fishing during the summer months," said Emma Taylor.
"This echoes concerns from Taranaki hapu which led to a 2-year temporary ban for recreational and commercial paua harvesting along the Taranaki coast in December 2022. This ban remains in place."
Recent extreme weather events also play a part with increased sedimentation caused by Cyclones Hale and Gabrielle having likely impacted local paua populations in some areas of the East Coast.
"The new measures take a precautionary approach to managing the fishery so that paua can be enjoyed by future generations.
"Community feedback, along with the best available scientific information, contributes to determining sustainable catch settings. It highlights the importance of working together for the sustainability of these important shared fisheries," said Emma Taylor.
Public consultation on the changes was undertaken as part of Fisheries New Zealand’s regular reviews in April 2023. Fisheries New Zealand received more than 60 submissions from a wide range of interests including strong support from tangata whenua, recreational fishers, and local communities to reduce daily limits.
Another upcoming change for the central and lower North Island paua fishery is the setting of a total allowable catch (TAC) for the region for the first time. The TAC limits the amount of paua allowed to be harvested to 192.188 tonnes from all sources, commercial, recreational, and customary.
To keep up to date with the recreational fishing rules download the free NZ Fishing Rules app.