For many Māori families, seafood takes center place on the Christmas menu and are preparing to gather the delicacy for the celebration meal. However, the Ministry of Primary Industries is urging everyone to only fish and gather shellfish within the legal limits.
For avid recreational fisherman and diver Steve Ranapia (Ngāti Awa, Tainui waka) and many other Māori whānau, the Christmas meal isn't complete without seafood.
“It's very important for us to collect seafood for our meal, yes indeed,” he said.
“If visitors come it's important to us that they see the seafood on offer.”
Under the MPI fishing rules gatherers are limited to the amount and size of shellfish or fish they gather. In the Auckland area, the limit is 50 kina and 20 scallops per person.
But at this time of the year, the most common offenses are gathering over the quota of undersized fish kaimoana. Offenders can be fined hundreds of dollars.
“If you have a big gathering like a funeral you, you've only got short notice to collect mussels or sea eggs or whatever else,” said Ranapia.
“If you don't know anyone who is able to write a permit to gather an amount over the quota will be an issue.”
In a statement to Te Kāea, the Ministry of Primary Industries said at this time of the sustainability of our fisheries is a collective responsibility. They are urging everyone to only fish and gather shellfish within the legal limits.
To avoid getting fined Rapapia has some good advice.
“Look for an elder from your marae or area and get them to sign you a permit. If you know of an event in advance go diving beforehand.”