Low Kahawai Catches Impacts on Niwa
Recent news from Niwa indicates
they are struggling to get enough non-commercially kahawai landed
at boat ramps this season and this is impacting on their research
to measure and age fish.
The MFish funded project
'Stock monitoring of kahawai' (KAH2003/01) is in its 4th year. Niwa
aim to measure 1500 fish and collect 500 kahawai heads each year
from fishers at boat ramps in three regions - Northland, Hauraki
Gulf and the Bay of Plenty. The balance bones (otoliths) taken from
the heads are used to age the fish.
With collection due to finish,
the Hauraki Gulf sample is only around 300 kahawai heads despite
extra coverage in this area. In 2002-03 they collected 400
heads but only measured 880 kahawai in 1300 hours surveying on Hauraki
East Northland will end up
with about 500 heads but less than 1000 kahawai measured
from 1000 hrs of survey time on boat ramps. Landings in the
Bay of Plenty are also down from 2002-03.
Surely this shows that non-commercial
catch rates are getting worse.
The project continues next year. Niwa will analyse the data to check
if the recreational catch can be used to monitor the kahawai stock.
The length and age of the commercial purse seine catch is not representative
of the population as a whole because kahawai school by size and the
purse seine method catches entire schools. However, this did not stop
the Ministry of Fisheries using commercial data as the basis for the
dodgy 1996 stock assessment.
If you haven't already
made a submission to the Ministry of Fisheries on the state of the
kahawai fishery and future management of this important species
PLEASE do so now.