In 1992 the National Rock Lobster Management Group (NRLMG) was established as a statutory body to provide advice to the Minister on managing Rock Lobster (Crayfish) fisheries. It is advertised as a multi-stakeholder group comprising representatives of customary, recreational and commercial fishing interests, and the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI). In reality, membership is limited to four stakeholder organisations, not all of whom are representative of the various interest groups.
A concern for non-commercial interests is that the Ministry for Primary Industries is now engaged in the management of Rock Lobster from the sideline.
The New Zealand Sport Fishing Council recommends the Minister for Primary Industries, Nathan Guy, takes a more active role in the management of Rock Lobster, to restore abundance, to decrease the risks associated with low biomass (stock) levels, and to provide for reasonable public use of the Cray fisheries.
Below is a chronological list of various management proposals and subsequent submissions.
Click on the image to download the document. Most recent activity is at the top of the list.
Nathan Guy, the Minister for Primary Industries, has replied to the NZSFC June letter and is confident that his recent decisions on catch limits and concessions meet the statutory obligations under the Fisheries Act. He directs us to share our concerns with the statutory body charged with managing Crayfish, the National Rock Lobster Management Group. The same group dominated by commercial interests, and where recreational concerns are secondary.
No thanks Minister, just make sure our rock lobster fisheries are managed sustainably, to meet the needs of future generations, and to enable us to provide for our social, economic and cultural wellbeing. As per the purpose and principles of the Fisheries Act.
NZRFC Letter to Minister – Crayfish and Paua 5D decisions. June 2013
The NZ Recreational Fishing Council is very disappointed with the MInister’s decision prohibiting public access to undersized crayfish, fish that commercial fishers can harvest via a concession. The NZRFC also highlight the inconsistencies around management of Marlborough Sounds blue cod and Paua 5D, in Otago and Southland.
The NZ Sport Fishing Council has written to the Minister for Primary Industries, Nathan Guy, strongly objecting to the recent management decisions applying to Crayfish 3, Gisborne. In particular the increase in commercial catch and the continued support for the concession enabling commercial fishers to harvest undersized crayfish.
The Minister for Primary Industries, Nathan Guy, has decided to amend various commercial fishing regulations in CRA 3, 7 and 8. The Minister also considered and decided against allowing amateur fishers to take undersized crayfish at the sub-legal minimum size that commercial fishers can harvest crays. Commercial fishers are allowed under a concession to take 52 and 53mm rock lobster from CRA 3, 7 & 8.
Nathan Guy, the Minister for Primary Industries, has decided to increase the commercial catch limits in Gisborne (CRA3) and Wellington/Hawke Bay (CRA4). The commercial catch limits in the Otago (CRA7) fishery will decrease from 63.9 to 44 tonnes. In the Southern (CRA8) fishery all limits will remain as is, commercial interests in that fishery have taken a more conservative approach to managing the fishery, to gain higher yields. The NZSFC remains hopeful that this approach will eventually be applied in all CRA fisheries.
NZSFC Update 21 – Caught a crayfish lately? March 2013
If you are struggling to find a legal size crayfish for that special family dinner you are not alone. Crayfish is a popular target species for recreational fishers, yet in some areas they are scarce because undersized fish are being taken by commercial fishers and exported.
Opinion piece – Letter to NZ Fishing News editor. March 2013
Dr John McKoy is chairperson of the National Rock Lobster Management Group (NRLMG). In this letter to the editor of the New Zealand Fishing News magazine he strongly objects to and disagrees with assertions made by the NZ Sport Fishing Council in Update 20, ‘Wayward advice skewing decisions’. He notes the Council’s comments about the CRA 3 (Gisborne) fishery are ill-informed and poorly researched.
NZSFC Update 20 – Wayward advice skewing decisions. February 2013
Significant commercial catch limit increases have been proposed for two important fisheries and the New Zealand Sport Fishing Council has strongly objected to both proposals. There is insufficient, or downright dodgy, information to support catch increases in Coromandel scallops and in several rock lobster fisheries.
NZSFC Submission – Rock Lobster sustainability. 1 February 2013
The Minister for Primary Industries, Nathan Guy, needs to take a more active role in Rock Lobster management. The NZSFC also recommends he stops the use of Management Procedures based on commercial Catch Per Unit of Effort controls. A full management review is required.
NZSFC Summary of issues – January 2013
The New Zealand Sport Fishing Council summary of issues related to the most recent, objectionable proposals to increase the commercial catch levels in two management areas, CRA 3 (Gisborne) and CRA 4 (Hawke Bay to Wellington). The NZSFC supports the approach taken by a joint stakeholder meeting in the South, where high abundance was sought for two fisheries, CRA 7 (Otago) and CRA 8 (Southland).
MPI proposals – Rock Lobster sustainability review. 14 December 2012
The Ministry for Primary Industries is consulting on proposals to review regulations applying in selected Rock Lobster fisheries – CRA 3 (Gisborne), CRA 4 (Hawke Bay to Wellington), CRA 7 (Otago) and CRA 8 (Southland). Notably the use of Management Procedures is underpinning proposed increases in commercial catch levels. Submissions due on 1 February 2013.
MPI proposals – Advisory letter. 14 December 2012
An letter from the Ministry for Primary Industries advising of the consultation process to review the use of Management Procedures to guide Total Allowable Catch (TAC) levels in selected Rock Lobster fisheries – CRA 3 (Gisborne), CRA 4 (Hawke Bay to Wellington), CRA 7 (Otago) and CRA 8 (Southland). Simulations of the Management Procedures indicate there will be benefits for all sectors – industry, customary and recreational.
NZSFC Submission – Regulation review. 16 December 2012
All Concessions applying in the Rock Lobster fisheries ought to be revoked by the Minister for Primary Industries, David Carter. The New Zealand Sport Fishing Council supports the status quo for Concession Area Regulations A to H. Also, that all Concession-landed male fish be recorded separately so that the amount of Concession fish being taken can be monitored.
NZSFC Summary of issues – December 2012
The New Zealand Sport Fishing Council summary of issues related to the review of area regulations, associated with the taking, landing, transport, processing and sale of Concession Crayfish. Concessions enable commercial fishers to take Rock Lobster smaller than the minimum legal size (MLS), that applies to recreational fishers. The NZSFC advocate that Concessions must be abandoned immediately and a full management review initiated.
MPI proposals – Rock Lobster regulation review. 8 November 2012
A review of Fiordland Rock Lobster amateur regulations is underway. The Ministry for Primary Industries is consulting on several proposals for Fiordland, and others relating to the application of Concessions in Gisborne, Otago and Southland. Submissions are due on 13 December 2012.
MPI proposals – Advisory letter. 8 November 2012
A letter from the Ministry for Primary Industries advising of the review of Rock Lobster regulatory controls applying in Fiordland, Gisborne, Otago and Southland. The National Rock Lobster Management Group also requests views on other management measures, including allowing recreational fishers access to the commercial minimum legal size, Concession fish, in Gisborne, Otago and Southland.
David Carter, the Minister for Primary Industries, has decided to retain all of the existing rock lobster Concession Area minimum legal size limit regulations applying to commercial fishers. Commercial fishers are allowed under a concession to take 52 and 53mm rock lobster from CRA 3, 7 & 8. In August 2011 MPI issued a discussion paper advising a review of these concessions. The NZSFC submitted that the concessions needed to be revoked, on 9 September 2011. The Minister’s decision to retain the status quo was advised on 31 May 2012.
MPI FAP. Concession Area regulation review Final Advice Paper to Minister. May 2012
Advice Paper from the Ministry for Primary Industries to the Minister, David Carter, advising of the details and submissions received in response to the review of the commercial Concession Area regulations. Recommendations included in this FAP. FAP released at the time of the Minister’s announced decision (above).
NZSFC Media release – Public robbed of crayfish. 28 March 2012
Public robbed of crayfish through unfair practices. Recent Ministerial decisions allocating more of Gisborne’s crayfish to commercial interests have outraged the local community and the New Zealand Sport Fishing Council. The decisions apply from 1 April 2012.
Minister’s decision – Rock Lobster sustainability review. 26 March 2012
David Carter’s decision to increase the commercial catch level by 29 tonnes in Gisborne was surprising given the evidence presented and the non-commercial submissions advocating for a more precautionary approach, to rebuild depleted stocks. Commercial fishers in CRA 3 fishery, around Gisborne, can also take fish smaller than the minimum legal size under a Concession. This decision is considered by locals as a “slap in the face”.
NZSFC Submission – Sustainability review. 3 February 2012
In this submission the New Zealand Sport Fishing Council advocate that the Rock Lobster fisheries are highly prized for their ecological, social, economic and cultural value. The NZSFC is committed to ensuring the Cray fisheries are managed conservatively, in the national interest and are sufficiently abundant to provide for our current and future generations needs.
NIWA Summer series – Rock lobster with your summer salad. 10 January 2012
An interesting article describing the lifecycle and habits of crayfish. This piece was written by Dr John Booth of the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA). This article was one of eight produced by NIWA as part of their Summer Series 2012 programme. NIWA is a research contractor to the Ministry for Primary Industries in both shellfish and finfish fisheries.
A review of sustainability measures applying in CRA 3 (Gisborne), CRA 4 (Hawke Bay-Wellington), CRA 5 (Canterbury-Marlborough) and CRA 7 (Otago) is underway. The Ministry of Fisheries advise this review includes consultation on commercial catch levels and Management Procedures that are used to guide proposed catch levels. A decision will apply from 1 April 2012. Submissions are due by 3 February 2012.
MFish proposals – Advisory letter. 19 December 2011
A letter from the Ministry of Fisheries advising a review of sustainability measures is underway. Specifically they are consulting on proposals to apply in CRA 3 (Gisborne), CRA 4 (Hawke Bay-Wellington), CRA 5 (Canterbury-Marlborough) and CRA 7 (Otago). Any Ministerial decision arising from this review will apply from 1 April 2012. Submissions are due by 3 February 2012.
MFish stock info – Plenary document. November 2011
This 60-page document from the Ministry of Fisheries includes historic Rock Lobster catch information by area and year. It has detailed information on management for each fish stock. If you are looking for specific details in relation to CRA 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 7 & 9 then this is probably where you will find it.
NZSFC Submission – Concession Area regulation review. 11 September 2011
All Concessions enabling commercial fishers to take Crayfish below the minimum legal size must be removed immediately. The New Zealand Sport Fishing Council does not believe all the Rock Lobster stocks are being managed at sufficient abundance levels to enable people to provide for their social, economic and cultural wellbeing, as required by the Fisheries Act 1996. We object to the ongoing mismanagement of our taonga [treasure].
MFish IPP. Proposals to review Concession Area regulations. 5 August 2011
The Ministry of Fisheries’ Initial Position Paper (IPP) outlining the review of the commercial Concession Area regulations that apply in CRA 3, 7 & 8. CRA 3 is Gisborne, CRA 7 Otago, CRA 8 Southern. Submissions are due by 9 September 2011. [A decision to retain the status quo was announced on 31 May 2012.]
MFish letter. Letter advising of Concession review. 5 August 2011
Letter from the Ministry of Fisheries advising of a review of the commercial concession area regulations. A proposal document accompanied the letter.
Phil Heatley’s decisions for the future management of CRA 4, 5, 7 & 8. Increased commercial catch limits in CRA 4, Wellington-Hawkes Bay. Retain current commercial catch limits in CRA 5, Canterbury/Marlborough. Decrease the commercial catch limits in CRA 7, Otago, and CRA 8, Southern. Decision applies from 1 April 2011.
Final Advice Paper to the Minister, Phil Heatley, from the National Rock Lobster Management Group (NRLMG). This FAP summarises the submissions received in response to the Initial Position Paper, recommendations and stock information relevant to the future management of CRA 4, 5, 7 & 8.
Submissions. Responses to sustainability review for 1 April 2011. February 2011
MFish/NRLMG record of public and industry submissions made in response to the sustainability review proposals issued on 13 December 2010. The proposals relate to CRA 4 (Wellington-Hawkes Bay), CRA 5 (Canterbury/Marlborough), CRA 7, Otago and CRA 8 (Southern). Decision (above) applies from 1 April 2011.
NZSFC Submission – Sustainability review. 4 February 2011
A joint submission by the New Zealand Sport Fishing Council and option4 expressing serious concerns about the mismanagement of our Rock Lobster fisheries, and highlighting that we have made previous submissions and recommendations regarding more precautionary management.
Initial Position Paper outlining potential future management options for CRA 4 (Wellington-Hawkes Bay), CRA 5 (Canterbury/Marlborough), CRA 7, Otago and CRA 8 (Southern). Submissions are due by 2 February 2011 and any decision will apply from 1 April 2011. Decision (above) was advised on 30 March 2011.
Joint Submission – Sustainability review. 8 February 2010
A joint submission by the New Zealand Sport Fishing Council Zone 5 clubs and option4. These parties seriously object to the commercial focus of the latest management proposals. Rock Lobster are a vitally important food fishery for social and cultural reasons. Our non-commercial interests are not being ‘allowed for’ as required by the Fisheries Act 1996, because the Rock Lobster stocks are being suppressed and maintained at such low abundance levels.
A submission by the New Zealand Sport Fishing Council on the review of sustainability measures for CRA 3 (Gisborne) and CRA 4 (Hawke Bay-Wellington). Concerns about ongoing mismanagement in CRA 3 are reiterated. There is limited support for the proposed Decision Rule to apply in CRA 3. There ought to be no increase in the CRA 4 Total Allowable Catch. It is implausible that the CRA 4 fishery biomass has increased by 50% in one year.
Between 2010 and 2012 the NZSFC worked with option4 to develop and record management processes for various crayfish stocks. This was a time of great learning and optimism that providing comprehensive feedback would have some positive influence on fisheries management, particularly for our crayfish, our taonga. Despite the lack of any meaningful response, the NZSFC continues to participate in the crayfish management processes in the hope that abundance will be restored and future generations will get to witness a rebuilt and productive marine environment.