'Functionally extinct' - Fishing advocacy group want to see crayfish put before profit due to declining numbers

Crayfish numbers are declining in the Hauraki Gulf with an expert describing them as being "functionally extinct".

The area, known as the CRA2 region in the industry, which extends from Pakiri through to the East Cape has virtually been wiped out of the popular delicacy. 

Limitations have been put in place by the Ministry for Primary Industries previously, but fishing advocacy group LegaSea says it's time the fish came before the profit. 

"We've got fisheries down in the South Island that pot lift, which is how their industry measure their take, three to four kilo's of crayfish.

"Up in the CRA2 area, they're only getting 250 grams of grams per pot lift. This has been going down hill for 20 odd years," LegaSea's Richard Barker told TVNZ1's Breakfast this morning. 

In 2014, the Government cut the crayfish quota to 36 tonnes and Mr Barker explained the industry took a "volunterry shelving of a further 50 tonnes."

"The reality is, they cannot catch it. Efforts trebled over this time and the fish just aren't there. We see lots of smaller fish and what we call Weta's, just little crayfish but the actual legal size of takeable fish, it is functionally extinct and this with a supposedly world leading quota management system. 

"We really would invite the new incoming Minster of Fisheries, Stewart Nash, to use this as a case study of where's this quota management system going wrong because we have had 20 years showing decline.

"Action needs to be taken. Fish need to be put first we want to see a rebuild of this fishery over the shortest possible period and I do feel sorry, some commercial fishermen, younger guys, have brought into the industry based on a flawed business model."

Mr Barker stated that he wouldn't mind if the CRA2 region closed as long as the public of New Zealand is allowed access first when it is reopened. However, he did state he understands under the "term of reference, they cannot close the fishery, they have got to have a management system."

MPI is taking submissions on the CRA2 issue up until February 9 and said in a statement it is "committed to protecting and rebuilding this important shared fishery and is very aware that it is under significant pressure."

After their assessment in 2013 and reduction of commercial catch in 2014, MPI added, "A follow up assessment in 2017 suggested that the numbers are still low, triggering a requirement to develop a plan for rebuilding the stock."

Crayfish number are declining in the Hauraki Gulf, known as the CRA2 region, which extends from Pakiri through to the East Cape. Source: Breakfast


Search suspended for crew member missing from Sealord vessel off Wairarapa coast

The search for a missing crew member from a Sealord vessel off the coast of Wairarapa has been suspended due to deteriorating weather conditions today.

Sealord said they realised yesterday morning the crew member did not report for duty, and reported this to authorities immediately.

The crew member was not on active duty at the time of disappearance and the reason for the disappearance is still unknown at this stage, said the company.

Four vessels were sent out and involved in the search last night, however, due to deteriorating weather conditions this morning the search has been stopped until further notice. 

A decision will be made later on whether to resume the search.

Sealord's Otakou
Sealord's Otakou Source: Sealord


Person dies after being hit by vehicle near Otaki

One person has died after being hit by a vehicle south of Otaki on the Kapiti Coast this morning. 

Police were called to the incident at around 5am.

The Serious Crash Unit is investigating and the road will be closed for some time.

Diversions are in place on Addington Road for southbound traffic and Te Waka Road for northbound traffic.

A road closure sign in front of a Police vehicle
A road closure sign in front of a Police vehicle. Source: 1 NEWS

Former prisoners say they're having to lie to employers to secure a job

People who have been in prison say they are having to lie to employers to secure a job.

Just under a third of people who leave prison are back behind bars within their first year of release.

The Department of Corrections said gaining employment can reduce reoffending and it urged employers to give former prisoners a chance.

A woman, who wanted to be known only as Mihi, said she enjoyed her night-shift cleaning job in Auckland.

She said her colleagues were great and her boss was good too, which made it difficult for her to keep lying to him.

She did not want to use her real name because she did not want her boss to find out she had spent time in jail.

"I am quite an honest person and I would rather he knows - because he's really good," she said.

"Since I have been working there in June I have been wanting to tell him but I am scared that he might let me go.

"I need this job or a job."

Mihi served six months in Arohata prison for a string of convictions, including assault, breaching protection orders and benefit fraud.

She was released in January and said she has been turned down by countless employers when she has been honest about her past.

"I ended up mentioning that I just got released from prison - that that was the reason why I did not have any referees - he told me to get out," she said.

Another recruitment agency told her that no one would employ her, so she was wasting their time.

"It is stressful, it is hard, especially if you have been in prison - I did not realise how hard it was. No one wants to help you."

Mihi said employment was keeping her on the straight and narrow and she could turn to drugs and alcohol if she lost her job.

Patricia Walsh had racked up sentences amounting to 20 years imprisonment and had been to jail five times.

She has been out of prison since 2009 and said she lied to get her first job too.

But it put her on a path to get her Bachelor of Social Work and she speaks publicly about how to improve the system.

"Once I got off the P, I felt like maybe I could get a job," she said.

"But I lied - I said I didn't have a criminal conviction - but hey I got myself a cleaning job and I ended up cleaning the wānanga.

"I said to one of the students, 'How do I be one of you?"

Second chance

A reintegration worker who has completed her PhD on life after prison Joy Bullen said it should not be this way.

"For anyone that goes to prison they find that employment means they begin to be imprisoned all over again, they can't get employed because you are a risk," she said.

"So we don't say 'you've served your time, let's move on', we go 'no, you can't be employed because you are risk'."

The Department of Corrections has programmes in place to get prisoners work ready and to help them secure jobs on the outside.

In September, it managed to source jobs for 158 offenders who had been in prison or on community based-sentences.

It's director of employment and reintegration, Stephen Cunningham, said employers were getting on board but not enough of them.

On Tuesday, Corrections Minister Kelvin Davis held two hui in Palmerston North where he discussed reintegrating offenders into society.

He urged employers there to take a chance and give jobs to former offenders.

You can hear more about life after prison on Insight, after the 8am news on Sunday with Wallace Chapmam on RNZ.

By Leigh-Marama McLachlan


Prisoner (file picture)
Source: istock.com