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"Kaitiakitanga, guardianship, is at the heart of our industry."



"To add value to pāua quota through active management of the pāua fishery to ensure its sustainability and productivity and to protect and enhance industry interests generally."

We need to ensure that we look after pāua for present and future generations. We are committed to ensuring that pāua populations are at or above international standards for fish stock management.


Pāua are hand-selected by free diving using methods that do not impact the benthic environment. There is no bycatch. Pāua harvesting has no impact on protected species such as seabirds or marine mammals.


Pāua are managed through New Zealand’s Quota Management System under the Fisheries Act 1996. This means that by law catch limits for pāua must be set at levels which ensure their long-term sustainability. The Fisheries Act also provides a framework for other ecosystem considerations such as impacts on associated species and habitats. The Quota Management System is a rights-based framework, where secure rights provide an incentive and responsibility to look after the long-term viability of the fishery.


The majority of pāua harvesters are small family-based operators living in New Zealand’s coastal communities.

Pāua harvesting can be a main source of income for these communities, particularly in remote places like the Chatham Islands. Approximately 60 percent of pāua quota is owned or controlled by Iwi Māori, who represent indigenous tribal members in New Zealand.


Pāua is both culturally and economically important to Iwi Māori, who have been managing fisheries sustainably for centuries by exercising kaitiakitanga (guardianship). A proportion of the total allowable catch is allocated to Māori customary needs and aspirations to reflect this.



New Zealand’s pāua industry applies fine-scale and adaptive management to ensure harvest is sustainable.

This goes beyond the management framework of the Fisheries Act and focuses on managing the fishery at scales appropriate to the biology of pāua and its habitat. Ongoing research to understand pāua ecology is contracted by the Pāua Industry Council to inform management decisions.


When there are signs of local depletion or overharvesting, the pāua industry takes appropriates steps to reduce harvesting pressure. This can be done by setting aside catch entitlement (known as ACE shelving), spreading catch over different areas, or temporarily closing areas to harvest. Where necessary, the government will also reduce cath levels by reducing the TACC. In some regions, industry has introduced harvest sizes which are more conservative (larger) than what the government’s regulations require, to ensure there is a healthy breeding population left in the water. In areas where pāua populations have been historically depleted, industry has initiated re-seeding and enhancement projects to restore populations.


Recently, the pāua industry has developed fisheries plans, which formalise local management initiatives and allow community input into management. Fisheries plans go through public consultation to ensure communities are supportive of the plans. 

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