December 20, 2016
Koura back on menu but Kaikoura still dredging
The koura fishery at Kaikoura reopens today, but the town’s tourism businesses are still trying to work out how they can get visitors back in the boats and the beds.
Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy says the temporary emergency closure of the rock lobster (crayfish) fishery along the east coast of the South Island will be officially lifted at 5pm, after a scientific survey found the fishery has come through the earthquake in relatively good shape.
Other species of shellfish and seaweed are off limit until February 20.
That doesn’t mean the boats will be heading out of Kaikoura straight away.
Whale Watch Kaikoura manager Kauahi Ngapora says not only does the marina channel have to be dredged out to two metres below the low tide mark, but all marina structures must be replaced.
Operators are looking at stop-gap measures so they don’t have to wait six months for new berths.
"We’ll be looking to use our haul out trailer which we are getting modified to load and unload passengers from the slipway. Once the slipway is repaired and the deepending is completed, our berthing may not be completed in the marina but we will still be able to use our trailer unit and a vessel," Mr Ngapora says.
He hopes to resume trips in late January or early February.
At this time of the year Whale Watch Kaikoura would expect to be taking more than 700 visitors a day onto the water.
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