Paua fishery in Jackson Bay could be closed
The Ministry of Primary Industries is launching a call for submissions by October 26 on a proposal to close the Paua fishery.
The offer comes after long lines of SUV towing boats crossed the Haast Pass last summer.
Te Runanga o Makaawhio chairman Paul Madgwick said paua stocks at Smoothwater Bay, near Jackson Bay, were now at dangerously low levels.
“If nothing is done, they might never get over it.”
The fishery had not been damaged by the West Coasters diving for food, he said, but the influx from the east coast that started when the borders closed and people started vacationing in New Zealand.
If the ministry implements rahui, anyone caught taking paua will be prosecuted until the rahui is lifted.
Iwi initially requested a two-year closure, from Homminy Point to Neils Beach in Jackson Bay.
MPI is already consulting on a proposal for a mataitai fishing reserve in the same area. The mataitai, to be managed locally, is intended to curb recreational fishing in the area due to overfishing.
Submissions can be made to [email protected]
Two public meetings will be held next month regarding mataitai reserve applications on the west coast.
Five mataitai were released on the west coast about seven years ago in Okarito, Tauperikaka (Ships Creek, Haast), Okuru-Mussel Point, Mahitahi-Bruce Bay, and Manakaiaua-Hunts Beach.
Ngati Mahaki has now requested additional mataitai from Paringa, Popotai Taumaka (Open Bay Islands), Okahu (Jackson Bay) and Tauneke (Barn Bay), with a joint proposal with Ngati Waewae for a mataitai in Mikonui around the Ross Mussel Basin .
A meeting will be held at Haast Hall on October 12 and Ross Hall on October 14. More information on https://www.mpi.govt.nz/consultations