• John Luxton
Fisheries and Aquaculture

At the conclusion of a consultation meeting with commercial and non-commercial groups this afternoon, the Minister of Fisheries announced his decisions on the management of the snapper fishery in area 1, which extends from Cape Runaway to North Cape on the east coast of the North Island.

The Minister has set a TAC for the fishery overall at 7550 tonnes. Under the fisheries legislation the Minister is required to make an allowance for non-commercial fishers. He has made provision for 2600 tonnes of catch by recreational and customary Maori fishers. Mr Luxton stated "I do not believe it is necessary to implement further restraints on recreational catch at this time after taking into account the measures put in place in recent years and predictions for their catch in the short term".

The Minister will reduce the commercial catch limit by 438 tonnes, or 9 percent, to 4500 tonnes for 1 October, the start of the new fishing year. He noted that "This level of reduction will prevent any increase in the exploitation rate of the fishery. In determining this decrease I have taken into consideration the serious economic and social impacts of reductions in quota". The assessment for the fishery suggests the stock is at about 69% of the target stock level prescribed in the fisheries legislation. Mr Luxton also stated "It is my intention to rebuild this fishery to the optimum level over a period of 20 years. This reduction takes a decisive step in that direction and I will review this decision in 1998 on the basis of the improved stock assessme nt that will be provided to me to ensure the recovery of this important fishery."