On February 6, Ngāti Manuhiri placed a two-year rāhui on collecting scallops in the Hauraki Gulf. They’re now asking the government to legally enforce the rāhui, by requesting an official temporary closure.
A rāhui is the tikanga or customary practice that restricts people from gathering kai or accessing an area. It can be used for water and land.
The government does not legally enforce a rāhui, unless it’s escalated to something called a temporary closure.
This is when someone asks the Fisheries Minister to temporarily close an area under the Fisheries Act law. The closure prohibits all fishing, and only kaitiaki of that rohe moana can lift it. It lasts for up to two years.
Temporary closures are also legally enforced by Fisheries Officers, with fines up to $100,000.
On Friday February 11, Ngāti Manuhiri and conservation group LegaSea submitted an application for a temporary closure.
It is now awaiting approval by Fisheries Minister David Parker.
For the past 20 years, there has been a universal decline in tipa (scallop) populations around the Hauraki Gulf.
“We have the last remaining shellfish beds in the Hauraki Gulf, and it's as bad as it can get. It is desperate,” says Nicola MacDonald, Ngāti Manuhiri chief executive.