New Zealand’s three native species of päua are distinctive
because of their amazing multi-coloured shells. Päua are very
important for Mäori and there is a large commercial market
for both their flesh and their decorative shells. Päua exports
rose from $34 million in 1991 to a peak of $80 million in 2001,
before dropping to $51 million in 2003. There is also a large recreational
fishery for päua.
species of päua were introduced into the Quota Management
System (QMS) in 1986. The QMS monitors stocks and catches, allowing
the government to set Total Allowable Catch (TAC) limits for
individual species to ensure the sustainability of New Zealand’s
fisheries. The QMS provides quotas which provide the right to
harvest the species in perpetuity. These rights can be bought,
sold or leased, allowing the creation of asset values for this
resource. As at 2003, the total asset value of New Zealand’s
päua resource managed under the QMS was $330 million, with
the Chatham Islands having the highest regional value of $75
are they like?
New Zealand's päua, (known as abalone in other countries),
are all unique species of abalone
found only in New Zealand, and are distinguished by their brilliantly
coloured shells. Päua have an oval shaped shell, inside which
is a large muscular foot which clings to rocks. They have a pair
of eyes, a mouth and tentacles, and breathe through gills which
are near their mouth under a row of pores in the shell.
are they found?
Päua are found around the coast of New Zealand, in shallow
water clinging to rocks. They are much more abundant, and grow larger,
in the colder waters around Stewart Island and Southland.
is their life cycle?
Male and female päua release thousands of sperm and eggs into
the water through the holes in their shells, an event known as broadcast
spawning. The fertilised eggs hatch into microscopic larvae which
float around for about a week then settle on the bottom of the ocean
and start to develop shells. The survival rate of päua is very
low since many juveniles do not find a suitable habitat in which
to grow, and are subject to predation. Surviving juveniles continue
to be susceptible to predation, especially from starfish which cover
the päua breathing holes, forcing it to detach from the rock
it was clinging to.
are they caught?
Päua are caught when fishers free dive (diving without
the use of breathing apparatus) and use blunt instruments to prise
the shellfish from the rock.
Information sourced from Statistics New Zealand.