Scallop fisheries to close in Northland, Coromandel

Photography by: Getty Images


Depleted scallop fisheries in Northland and most of the Coromandel are to be closed in a bid to help them recover

The move is part of a twice-yearly review of a selection of fish stocks to support their sustainability.

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Oceans and Fisheries Minister David Parker says he shared concerns from iwi and the local community that scallop beds in across Northland, the Hauraki Gulf, and Coromandel regions are in bad shape.

The fishery in the Nelson-Marlborough region has been closed for years, and reseeding efforts have been unsuccessful.

Parker says removing fishing pressure is an important and immediate measure that can contribute to the fisheries’ ongoing sustainability.

"It is the responsible action to take," he says.

There were several factors contributing to the continued serious decline in scallop numbers, including sedimentation, dredging and the use of GPS technology to locate and exploit scallop beds.

The minister says strong measures are needed to restore these important shared fisheries.

"The measures, which will come into effect on 1 April, will fully close recreational and commercial scallop fishing in the Northland fishery, and the Hauraki Gulf and Coromandel fishery, apart from two defined areas around Hauturu/Little Barrier Island and near the Colville Channel that will provide for a small level of utilisation."

The minister says these fisheries have been a great source of food, recreation and economic opportunity, and for that to continue the scallop beds need time to recover.

"I’ve instructed my officials to continue to track the progress of these fisheries with a view to future decision-making," he says.

The closures follow a 50% to the total allowable commercial catch (TACC) in the Coromandel scallop fishery in 2016. The TACC for the Northland scallop fishery was reduced by 75% in 2020.

In the six-monthly reviews, stocks are prioritised for review focusing on the species that are important to iwi, commercial and recreational fishers, and local communities.

Seven other fish stocks in this review will have catch limits and settings updated. They include rock lobster, redbait, and southern blue whiting.

Hāpuku and bass stocks off the west coast and top of the South Island and Taranaki will have catch limits and allowances set for the first time, and there will be changes to recreational controls for these stocks.

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