Lobster Industry Support for Emergency Fishing Closures Along Kaikoura Coastline

The NZ Rock Lobster Industry Council (NZ RLIC) and the Canterbury Marlborough Rock Lobster Industry Association (CRAMAC 5) have added support to the declaration of an emergency temporary closure to lobster fishing along the South Island coast from Cape Campbell to the Conway River.

‘Fine scale data collection over the next few weeks should provide an assurance that the lobster fishery will be resilient to the after effects of the earthquake’, said NZ RLIC Chief Executive Officer, Daryl Sykes.

‘There is an extensive inventory and long time series of rock lobster fisheries data collected by industry participants and independent observers, and it should not take too long to reference current lobster abundance and distribution against the historical record. The CRA 5 Industry will assist in every way possible’.

The area closure falls within the boundaries of the Canterbury Marlborough (CRA 5) rock lobster fisheries management area. The CRA 5 industry has completed an inventory of lobster vessels directly affected by the closure and is confident that if the fishery can be re-opened as intended at the end of the current closure the economic impacts on fishing families, processors and exporters are manageable.

‘The lobster industry mission statement stresses the fisheries first, from them all benefits flow’, said Mr Sykes, ‘and the Minister is right to be seeking an assurance that the impact of the earthquakes and coastal uplift are not immediately damaging to the CRA 5 fishery generally’.

Facts and Figures:

  • 20 commercial rock lobster fishing vessels are directly affected by the emergency closure. Six of those vessels work from Kaikoura but others operate from Port Underwood, Ward, Waipapa, and Rakautara.
  • It is not feasible for all vessels to relocate to areas not affected by the temporary closure.
  • The fleet of vessels still has approximately 70 tonnes of catch to land in the current season which ends in March 2017. The total allowable commercial catch (TACC) for CRA 5 is 350 tonnes.
  • The three months November, December and January are peak catching times for the CRA 5 fleet.