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Crayfish (Rock lobster) management 2013


Crayfish is one of the most valuable fisheries in the country, for commercial and non-commercial interests.

Management of crayfish (rock lobster) is contentious, with chronic conflict evident in some areas, Gisborne (CRA 3) in particular.

Much of this conflict can be attributed to the concession that enables commercial fishermen to take crays smaller than the minimum legal size applying to public catch.

This concession applies in three areas Gisborne (CRA 3), Otago (CRA 7) and Southland (CRA 8).

There is an annual review of selected crayfish stocks. The most recent review concerned the stocks around Gisborne, Hawke Bay-Wellington (CRA 4), Otago and Southland.


Management review

In December 2012 the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) released a discussion paper and asked for submissions by February.

crayfish management areas

MPI proposed a decrease in commercial catch around Otago, and increasing the commercial catch limits applying around Gisborne and Hawke Bay to Wellington.

The Ministry and rock lobster industry supported the catch increases.

We did not support the catch increases, but we did support the proposed decrease in Otago catch.


Advocacy in action

We advocate that the public needs reasonable access to these important fisheries. Currently the fisheries around Wellington, Hawke Bay, Gisborne, Bay of Plenty, Auckland and Northland are not healthy enough to enable reasonable public use.

The concentration of commercial potting on the remnants of remaining crayfish has the public questioning the process that permits increasing fishing effort in a stock that, in many places, is seemingly fished out.

nice crayfish catch

Crayfish submission

Non-commercial catch has plummeted in response to stock depletion in many areas.

We have attached a copy of the Crayfish submission made to MPI by the NZ Sport Fishing Council, our team of experienced fisheries management advocates.


Want more?

To find out even more, visit the NZ Sport Fishing Council website and read all about the Crayfish fishery.

Your valued support

If you appreciate the value of this work we would welcome your contribution. It's an easy process that we hope you will follow in the interests of achieving the LegaSea Vision of 'more fish in the water for future generations'.

You can contribute here » » »


Your input welcome

With LegaSea the New Zealand Sport Fishing Council is committed to developing similar quality submissions for other important stocks. As funds increase there will be more opportunities to focus on different fisheries. LegaSea contributors are welcome to suggest fisheries that need attention. You can email us with your suggestions.

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two crayfish
Photo credit: Trish Rea
Photo credit: Grant Dixon
nzsfc crayfish submission
Click on the image to go to the NZ Sport Fishing Council website.
cray diving
Photo credit: Dan Godoy