Sign at Hikurangi Marine Reserve.
Image: Jody Weir | DOC

Archived content: This media release was accurate on the date of publication. 


With the recreational pāua fishing season in Kaikōura opening this month, DOC and Te Rūnanga o Kaikōura are reminding people taking pāua or any other fishing is not allowed inside Hikurangi Marine Reserve.

Date:  13 April 2023

DOC is stepping up shore and boat patrols of Hikurangi Marine Reserve, about 10 km south of Kaikōura township, to stop illegal taking of pāua from the marine reserve during the 15 April to 15 June pāua fishing season. It’s aimed to avoid a repeat of numerous people taking pāua from the marine reserve during the last recreational pāua fishing season that ran as a trial from 1 December 2021 to the end of February 2022.

DOC Kaikōura Marine Reserves Ranger Roger Williams says patrolling DOC rangers will be aiming to prevent people taking pāua, and infringement notices with $600 fines for fishing in the marine reserve could be issued, as needed.

“DOC and Te Rūnanga o Kaikōura are concerned about the harm to Hikurangi Marine Reserve’s pāua population from illegal gathering, as occurred during the last recreational pāua fishing season. It is also damaging to the recovery of its marine ecosystem to a more natural state after more than seven years of protection. 

“We increased our DOC ranger presence at the marine reserve last pāua fishing season and we’re doing it again this time. We’ve also put in more signs along the marine reserve’s shoreline to ensure people know it’s a marine reserve, with no fishing allowed, as many people last year seemed unaware of it.

“Hikurangi and other marine reserves are strictly no-take areas with no fishing or disturbance of marine life allowed. Anyone going fishing must ensure they know the rules and abide by them, including knowing marine reserve locations and rules. People can download the MarineMate app that includes information about marine reserves and information can also be found on this website.

People who see illegal fishing taking place in marine reserves are asked to report it to DOC’s 24-hour number 0800 DOCHOT 0800 36 24 68.

Anyone who breaks the rules in marine reserves faces fines through infringement notices. Serious or repeating offending may result in prosecution with penalties under the Marine Reserves Act of a fine of up to $10,000 and up to three months in prison. Fishing gear used in the offending may be forfeited.

Hikurangi Marine Reserve, created in 2014, is near Goose Bay on the Kaikōura coast. It extends offshore for just over 23 kilometres and covers approximately 10,416 hectares.


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