Waiheke Paua, Scallops and Crayfish Off the Menu

The Waiheke Island scallop, mussel, rock lobster and paua fisheries will close for a period of two years from 1 December.

The decision by the Minister for Oceans and Fisheries, David Parker follows a request from Ngati Paoa.

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The temporary closure includes inshore waters around Waiheke Island out to a distance of 1 nautical mile offshore, and applies to customary, commercial, and recreational fishing.

Fisheries New Zealand director of fisheries management, Emma Taylor says Ngati Paoa, other Hauraki iwi, commercial fishing interests, recreational fishers, environmental interests and the public were all consulted on the proposal.

"We received 244 submissions with the majority supporting a closure. Closing these fisheries will help these important fisheries recover and support the health of the wider ecosystem," she says.

The closure follows a decision on 31 January by Ngati Paoa to place a traditional rahui on these fisheries, after concern from iwi about declining stock levels.

"The feedback from tangata whenua and the public highlights concerns around the long term sustainability of these four important fish species. Closing these fisheries is just one part of the solution," says Emma Taylor.

Ngati Paoa have begun discussions with Maori marine scientists to develop an action plan to restore shellfish levels.

"It’s great to be able to support iwi by ensuring the closure is respected through regular patrols by MPI Fishery Officers," Emma Taylor says.

The closure under section 186A of the Fisheries Act 1996 will be legally enforceable from 1 December. Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) fishery officers will continue to patrol the coast supporting public awareness and enforcing the rules.

Anyone with information about suspected illegal fishing should contact MPI on 0800 4 POACHER to report it.

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