Your Right to Fish for Food
Temporary Closure to the Taking of Scallops in Kaipara Harbour
from option4 on behalf of non-commercial fishers
Ministry of Fisheries (MFish) has advised that Environs Holdings
Limited of Te Uri o Hau, Ngati Whatua and the Kaipara Harbour
Sustainable Fisheries Management Study Group have requested
an extension to the temporary closure on the taking of scallops
from the Kaipara Harbour. The request has been made under section
186A of the Fisheries Act 1996 and is for a further one-year
Before determining whether or not to give
notice under section 186A, the Minister must first consult those
persons the Minister considers are representative of those with
an interest in the species or the area concerned. The Minister
must also provide for the input and participation in the decision-making
process of tängata whenua with a non-commercial interest
in the species or the effects of fishing in the area concerned.
This requirement to consult also applies to requests for extensions
to existing closures, restrictions, or prohibitions.
A letter dated 21st May 2007 was sent to
stakeholders asking for input, providing background information
and outlining the current situation. option4 received a copy
on May 31st.
The deadline for submissions is 20th June
This document comprises the submission from
option4 an NGO that advocates for “more fish in the water/
kia maha atu nga ika i roto te wai” to enable New Zealanders
to provide for their social, economic and cultural wellbeing.
support the collective application to continue the temporary
closure to the taking of scallops from within the Kaipara Harbour
for a further one-year period.
note that anecdotal evidence indicates an increase in juvenile
abundance but there is a lack of mature adult scallops within
the Kaipara Harbour.
note that the original closure request was initiated in October
2004 because the scallop beds were ‘severely depleted'. It is
of considerable concern that the current closure has been in
place since July 2005 and no research has been conducted to
determine the cause(s) of the original depletion. This is unacceptable
for a species of such importance and ready access to a large
population of both customary and recreational (amateur) fishers.
need to acknowledge the social and cultural significance of
scallops and make research a priority in future management of
to conduct research within the closed area since 2005 has meant
the Minister of Fisheries has been denied information that would
allow him to meet his obligations under section 186A of the
Fisheries Act 1996 (the Act) and also comply with the purpose
and principles of the Act.
Those statutory obligations include:
- Improving availability of and/or size of fish
- Providing for the sustainable utilisation of the Kaipara
scallop fishery to -
o Maintain fisheries to meet future generation’s needs
o Enable people to provide for their social, economic and
acknowledge MFish advice that they will be undertaking a survey
of the Kaipara scallop beds in the “near future”. We encourage
MFish to make that data available as soon as possible to the
applicant groups so they can determine an appropriate course
of scallop management action in the future.
- Possible changes to the length of the scallop harvesting season
has been mentioned. Any proposal to reduce the season will need
to be widely consulted within a separate process.
form into shellfish beds that are easily targeted by both commercial
and non-commercial fishers. Scallops are also an important link
in the coastal ecology providing food for a range of invertebrates,
fishes and wading birds.
We are concerned that land runoff and siltation
maybe having an adverse effect on the Kaipara shellfish beds
by smothering them or reducing their ability to regenerate.
The need to continue the temporary closure suggests factors,
other than fishing, are influencing the change in scallop population.
While we acknowledge MFish has to operate
within the Fisheries Act, a more comprehensive solution maybe
found if MFish liaise with tangata whenua and others to improve
the quality of the marine environment.
Long-term solutions may become obvious during
the development of a management regime to control all factors
likely to influence the decline of the beds. This could include
mechanisms to limit the level of runoff into the Harbour. Section
186A closures are obviously not the only solution to addressing
abundance and recruitment issues, particularly considering their
The application of a customary management
tool for a one or two year period does not in itself represent
a ‘fix-all’ for environmental degradation.
undertake research into the cause(s) of scallop variability.
MFish work with tangata whenua, locals, interest
groups, councils (local and regional) and other agencies to
improve the quality of the marine environment.
MFish develop long term solutions within
a management regime to control all factors likely to influence
the decline of scallop beds, including mechanisms to limit land
support the reinstatement of the section 186A temporary closure
for the taking of scallops within the Kaipara Harbour for another
Insufficient resources have been applied
to the management of the Kaipara scallop fishery over the past
two years. This is unsatisfactory for a fishery of such social
and cultural importance. MFish need to conduct adequate research
of the scallop beds within the next twelve months and make that
information available to those who have an interest in this
On behalf of the option4 team
PO Box 37-951