Following a request from Ngāti Pāoa, the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) has announced the Waiheke Island scallop, mussel, rock lobster and pāua fisheries will close for a period of two years from 1 December.
“The temporary closure includes inshore waters around Waiheke Island out to a distance of one nautical mile offshore, and applies to customary, commercial, and recreational fishing” MPI said.
Ngāti Pāoa made the decision to place a traditional rāhui on these fisheries from 31 January this year after concern about declining stock levels. This led to wider consultation about a possible closure.
Fisheries New Zealand director of fisheries management Emma Taylor told RNZ 244 submissions were made with the majority supporting a closure.
“The closure will help these important fisheries recover and support the health of the wider ecosystem.
“Feedback from tangata whenua and the public highlights concerns about the long term sustainability of these four important fish species. Closing these fisheries is just one part of the solution.”
Ngāti Pāoa have begun discussions with Māori marine scientists regarding an action plan to restore shellfish levels.