December 22, 2013
Guy backs down to People Paua
Grass roots campaigners have won a battle to stop restricted areas in Otago and Southland being opened up to commercial paua harvesting.
Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy says restrictions will remain in place, as it is clear the areas are greatly valued by recreational and customary fishers.
He says while no consensus was reached at three cross-sector meetings, they were a valuable exercise.
The industry had argued that the areas had originally been closed to them for food safety reasons, which no longer applied.
But a broad movement including high profile figures like former All Black Kees Meeuws argued the areas near Bluff, Waipapa Point, Clutha River mouth and parts of the Otago Peninsula were easily accessible and a valuable resource for non-commercial fishers which could be quickly fished out if the industry was allowed back in.
Mr Meeuws says it’s an important decision for any New Zealander who enjoys diving, fishing and hunting to put food on the table for their families.
Storm Stanley, the chair of Paua Management Area Council 5, says the industry was disappointed but the consultation made it apparent there seemed to be a much higher level of customary and recreational take from these areas than at first thought.
He says the decision won’t affect the industry’s ability to harvest its quota.
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