Mixed reactions to new fishing rules

PROTECTIVE: The Kaikoura Marine Area was created as a separate area within the South-East Fishery Management Area.
PROTECTIVE: The Kaikoura Marine Area was created as a separate area within the South-East Fishery Management Area.

A Blenheim recreational fisherman says Kaikoura is a long way to go for six paua, but another fisherman says it is plenty to feed one family.

New marine protection measures came into place earlier this month as part of the newly implemented Kaikoura (Te Tai o Marokura) Marine Management Act 2014.

The bill creates management measures for the coast and sea, and includes new fishing regulations from Gore Bay to the Clarence River, out to 56 kilometres, including both the territorial sea and the Exclusive Economic Zone.

The new regulations include limiting the number of paua caught from 10 to six; reducing the number of blue cod from 10 to six; and imposing a maximum limit of crayfish to 18 in three days in order to ease the pressure on the Kaikoura recreational fishery.

Blenheim man Bevan "Beef" Johnson said it wasn't hard to get 10 paua in 10 minutes along the coast from Ward to south Kaikoura, but that didn't mean people did it daily.

"It's a long way to go to get six paua," he said.

Ten would be enough to feed him and his family, then give a few away to friends and neighbours. Anything he and his family didn't eat was never wasted, he said.

Success was also weather-dependent, and many people only had the weekend off to go diving.

"You might only get one good day out of three," Johnson said.

"Six would feed us, but it is a long way to go."

As well as paua restrictions, the size limits for blue cod and sea perch changed, a prohibition on red moki was implemented, and daily limits for the harvest of bladder kelp and karengo were introduced.

Clipping a third off the central part of a crayfish's tail fan - the telson - once it has been measured is also mandatory. This marks them as not for sale and is designed to eliminate poaching. Blenheim commercial and recreational paua diver Geoff Laing said the new rules would make a positive difference.

Ten paua was too many for the average recreational diver, he said.

"Six is more than enough for a family. Ten paua, especially from a place like Kaikoura, where anyone can get 10 every day, is ridiculous."

Reducing the numbers also prevented selling on the black market, he said. "I want to look after the area," he said. "I do it as a hobby, as a sport, so I want there to be a fishery left over. If we get the limits down, that's a good thing."

The Marlborough Express