The spiny rock lobster (Jasus edwardsii; koura) has always been important to Maori and for
much of this century has supported increasingly important commercial and amateur
fisheries. Rock lobsters support one of the country’s oldest commercial fisheries, and are
one of the seafood industry’s top export earners.
The commercial fishery has developed through a number of phases as catches have increased with the development of export markets. Management of the resource has changed in response to the changing status of the stocks and the expectations of stakeholder groups.
Since 1990 the rock lobster fishery has been managed
within the Quota Management System (QMS) and governed by a mix of output controls and fishery regulations, including the
provision of a minimum legal size, a prohibition against taking berried females and soft-shelled animals, method restrictions, the requirement that all pots be fitted with escape gaps, and closed seasons in some areas.
The current management of the rock lobster fishery is focused on moving stocks to agreed biological reference points and maintaining them at this level or above, primarily through the
adjustment of Total Allowable Catches (TACs).
© NZ Rock Lobster Industry Council Ltd