Elders of the Ngunguru marae near Whangarei are asking the Ministry of Primary Industries to close local pipi beds after a mass die-off earlier this year.
Scientists found the bacteria that killed thousands of pipi in May in the Ngunguru estuary was not harmful to humans, and health warning notices have been lifted.
But marae trustee Paulette Wellington said the remaining pipi were tiny and the beds needed a chance to recover.
"They're too small and there aren't as many as there used to be in previous years. As far as I can remember there's always been lots of people collecting pipi through the summer and they've never gotten this small or this thinned out."
Ms Wellington said Ngunguru people would respect a marae-based rahui on pipi but summer visitors might not, and the trustees wanted the statutory back-up of a temporary closure.