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Low Kahawai Catches Impacts on Niwa

27 April 2004


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 Gulf ramps. 

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.


Make a Difference

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.



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