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Snapper 8 (SNA8)

West Coast North Island

2005 & 2006

The Ministry of Fisheries (MFish) advised stakeholders in July 2005 that a new stock assessment was available for the SNA8 stock. MFish also advised that under the current TAC biomass is expected to increase slowly but will not reach Bmsy within the next 20 years.

The Ministry proposed three alternative TAC options to achieve a faster rebuild of the SNA8 stock.

An Initial Position Paper (IPP) was issued on 30 June 2005. MFish invited stakeholders to provide comments on the consultation document.

Original deadline for comments was 29th July 2005. MFish then extended the deadline to 10th August.


SNA8 is one of those fisheries where a powerful new fishing method (pair trawling) saw the stock quickly fished down. This affected recreational catch rates then and now, and it has held recreational harvest levels below what they should have been.

Recreational fishers have already had a number of bag limit reductions over the years and agreed to a larger minimum legal size (27 cm) than commercial fishers.

A rebuild is required. This leads to a number of questions:

  1. Should the sector that caused the problem contribute the most to the solution?
  2. Should recreational fishers contribute some fish toward a faster rebuild?

Fisheries managers need to consider the way prevailing westerly winds can restrict access to the west coast fishery. There are long periods were no fishing is possible. When conditions are right (and if the fish are biting) we should be able to keep a few more fish than on the sheltered east coast fisheries.

If the Minister decides to reduce the recreational catch by 26% using bag limits alone then a bag limit of 5 or less is likely.


Once again the Ministry employed a very poor consultation process. They failed to adequately advertise the management initiatives to all those who would be adversely affected by the proposals. They also imposed a very short timeframe for those who have an interest in the fishery to respond.

Draft Submission
option4 was concerned about the limited time for consultation. A draft submission was posted online to allow people to give us their feedback. Alert #8 was sent out on August 2nd to alert people to the opportunity to have a say on the Ministry proposals. The feedback received was incorporated, where possible, into the final option4 submission. Full details below.

Your Opportunity to have Input
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Articles and Letters

Implications of Reallocation: Examples from New Zealand

A fishing industry perspective of allocation decisions and the effect of specific management measures on commercial, customary and amateur fishers. This is a paper presented to the Sharing the Fish Conference, Perth, February 2006.

Feb 2006

(PDF 110Kb)

The MFish Chief Executive defends the science behind fisheries management and assures us our fisheries are "world-class".

17 Jan 06

Steve Radich writes about snapper8, "the commercial sector has single-handedly brought about the near collapse of this fishery". More here...

11 Jan 06

Bag Limit Changes
The west coast snapper bag limit changes from 15 to 10 per person apply from 1st March 2006. The full announcement from Ministry here...

13 Feb 06

Ministers Decision

A summary of the Minister's decision for the west coast (North Island) snapper 8 stock from the Ministry of Fisheries.

Full text of IPP available in a PDF (70Kb) here...................................» »

Nov 2005

The Minister has decided "to reduce each sector's allowance proportionally, including customary, to fit to the new TAC.".............................PDF (80Kb)

22 Nov 05

"In the interests of fairness" David Benson-Pope has announced cuts to snapper quotas including a reduction in the recreational bag limit.

30 Sep 05

MFish Final Advice

Bag limits reduced - The Minister has made a cut to the snapper bag limit for most fishers on the west coast. Commercial quota has also been reduced, but is it enough to rebuild this fishery?....................(PDF 380Kb)

Sept 2005

An Executive Summary of the advice given to the Minister.......(PDF 40Kb)

option4 wants the Minister to cut the commercial quota to achieve a fast rebuild of SNA8. We also suggest voluntary conservation measures could be devised by recreational fishers to accelerate this rebuild.

10 Aug 05

Full text of submission available in a PDF (90Kb) here........................» »
Muriwai Sports Fishing Clubs submission to the Ministry of Fisheries on proposals for snapper 8, flounder 1 and grey mullet 1.

10 Aug 05

Letter from Muriwai SFC to Mfish objecting to proportional allocation of fisheries depleted by commercial overfishing and mismanagement.

10 Aug 05

Ministry of Fisheries

MFish advise the deadline for submissions has been extended to the 10th August...............................................................................PDF (20Kb)

25 Jul 05

Initial Position Paper (IPP) from the Ministry of Fisheries on proposals for Snapper - SNA8................................................................PDF (360Kb)

1 July 05

Statutory Obligations section of the IPP - what the Minister has to take into account when considering changes to fisheries management...PDF (200Kb)

1 July 05

Letter from MFish advising of the IPP for snapper 8, elephant fish, flatfish (flounder), grey mullet and rig.

1 July 05

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