The recreational fishing lobby group LegaSea is urging the Minister of Fisheries to drastically cut catches of tarakihi to help rebuild the population.
LegaSea spokesperson Richard Baker says the east coast population has fallen by more than 80 per cent in the past 50 years and the stock is now overfished.
“Tarakihi is one of New Zealand’s most loved fish and has been a mainstay of many a fishing trip for as long as people have been fishing in New Zealand waters,” Mr Baker says.
“Yet the Quota Management System (QMS) has allowed destructive techniques like trawling and netting in fish nursery areas to decimate the population. There is now solid scientific advice that the minister must implement a rebuild plan that will restore abundance in a reasonable time.
“We’ve seen the destruction of too many fisheries and the so-called world-class management system that’s led to over fishing of too many species. Just this year we’ve fought to protect the last of the crayfish in the Bay of Plenty region and now we’re calling on the minister again.
“The tarakihi stocks between Northland and Otago are at such low levels that drastic action is required. Forty years of the Quota Management System has resulted in the steady decline of tarakihi along the whole east coast of New Zealand.”
LegaSea is calling on the Minister to exercise his powers under the Fisheries Act to reduce the environmental impacts of trawling and to rebuild the tarakihi stock over the next 10 years.
“Anything less will see yet another iconic New Zealand fishery dwindle away to the point where they are just not available any longer to people fishing for their family’s dinner.”
The group has launched an online petition to support the fishery (www.legasea.co.nz/tarakihi)