Rhyse Bartlett savours a paua fritter while other members of Paua to the People and their children celebrate (back, from left) Louis Brown, Dr Tim Ritchie, Hamish Forrester, Kees Meeuws, Matai McGinty (7), Simon Kaan, (front, from left) , Luciana Brown (5), Ariana McGinty (4), Lloyd McGinty, and Dave Hodson. Photo by Linda Robertson.
People have won over money and greed in the decision to
abandon plans to increase commercial access to Otago and
Southland paua, lobby group spokesman Hamish Forrester says.
Formed to fight the proposal, Paua to the People members
gathered last night at Lloyd McGinty's Tomahawk home in
Dunedin to celebrate the decision announced yesterday by
Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy.
Mr Forrester said common sense prevailed, although he was
disappointed by the lengthy period of uncertainly created by
the consultation process.
It was great to see the needs of people placed above profit,
Group member and former All Black Kees Meeuws said the ''long
fight'' had defended the right of people to gather their own
He could not blame the commercial sector for ''having a
crack'', but if it had won, just a handful of quota holders
would have benefited, he said.
Another group member, Dave Hodson, felt relief after the
decision; it was gratifying to see the concerns of local
people had been heard.
Mr Guy confirmed by press release restrictions on commercial
paua harvesting in areas around Otago and Southland would
''I've taken a precautionary approach and made the decision
to retain the closures to commercial fishers,'' he said.
''It's clear these areas are greatly valued by recreational
and customary fishers.''
One of the great things about living in New Zealand was that
it was relatively easy to gather paua, he said.
The industry was excluded from the areas originally because
of local water quality issues, and asked for the restrictions
to be lifted on the basis that water quality had improved.
The restrictions never applied to recreational users.
Paua Management Area Council 5 chairman Storm Stanley said
the fishing industry was disappointed but accepted there
would be no change to the status quo.
''The extended consultation made it apparent that there
seemed to be a much higher level of customary and
recreational take from these areas than at first thought, and
so the minister has made his call accordingly.
''We will continue to work on maintaining and improving the
health of this shared fishery.
''We see that it is important to continue to get along with
recreational and customary paua harvesters, as we have done
for many years.''
Dunedin-based National List MP Michael Woodhouse said in a
statement he was pleased the status quo would be kept.
''This has caused a considerable amount of anxiety and I
acknowledge the very careful considerations being given by
the minister in respect of the decision.
Submissions on the proposal closed in April, with 2718
opposed to commercial quotas, and 22 in favour. The areas
proposed for commercial harvesting included Otago Peninsula,
the Clutha River and Bluff Hill.