Te Arawa calls for protection of freshwater species

6:36 pm on 4 February 2018

The protection of freshwater fish species and Te Arawa fishing practices are the key focus of proposed bylaws covering 13 Rotorua lakes.

Lake Rotorua

The bylaws would cover lakes such as Rotorua (above), Tarawera, Rotoiti and Rotomā. Photo: 123RF

The Ministry for Primary Industries is asking for public feedback on new by-laws developed by Te Arawa Lakes Trust fisheries committee.

A total of five bylaws would class kōaro, kōura, tuna, kākahi, inanga and morihana as ngā taongā ika or treasured fish species.

The bylaws would cover lakes such as Rotorua, Tarawera, Rotoiti and Rotomā - but not the streams and rivers flowing into the lakes.

Te Arawa Lakes Trust chairman Sir Toby Curtis said the proposed bylaws were part of actions in the Mahire Whakahaere Fisheries Management Plan

"The aim of the Mahire is to ensure the sustainability of our customary fisheries and to maintain an abundance of ngā taongā ika for our future generations."

Sir Toby said the proposed bylaws also set careful restrictions on the size, quantity and methods for harvesting taonga species.

Part of the proposed bylaws also limits harvesting of ngā taongā ika to Te Arawa iwi - and for customary and cultural purposes only.

"Some of our freshwater taonga are under genuine threat, and we need to take appropriate steps in order to protect and ultimately replenish them," Sir Curtis said.

"In particular, this will allow time to undertake research on the state of our taonga species across all of our lakes."

The public notification calls for submissions by 16 March 2018.

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