December 2, 2016
Fishing ban imposed in NZ's quake-devastated coast
New Zealand's Ministry for Primary Industries has ordered a fishing ban in the earthquake-devastated Kaikoura area on the east coast of South Island for one to three months.
"There will be an initial one month closure of the crayfish fishery and three months for all remaining shellfish and seaweed species," Minister for Primary Industries Nathan Guy announced on Monday, Nov. 21, eight days after a 7.8-magnitude earthquake hit South Island.
The ban, coupled with a $2-million science package, should provide a pathway for business to return to normal.
The Paua and NZ Rock Lobster Industry Councils have both welcomed the emergency closure.
Rock lobsters are likely to have escaped the brunt of the quake, being mobile enough to find their way back below the low tide mark, according to a news post on Seafood New Zealand's website.
The Canterbury Marlborough Rock Lobster Industry Association, meanwhile, expressed confidence that after completing a potting survey, there would be enough information to reopen to fishery.
November through to January is a peak fishing period in Canterbury 5, and if the emergency closure is lifted before Christmas, there should be sufficient time during the remainder of the season to catch the 70 tonnes of ACE they have been holding back for the lucrative Chinese New Year market.
In the case of paua (large abalone), the initial estimates on their death along the 100-kilometre stretch of coastline from the Kaikoura Marine Reserve to Cape Campbell are in the "hundreds of thousands", according Paua Industry chairman Storm Stanley.
"It is still unknown the amount of harm caused to the special habitat where paua larvae and juveniles live", he said.
Remedial work to launching sites along the coastline was reportedly already underway.
Fishing is a major contributor to the Marlborough and Kaikoura economies.