The CRA3 fishery extends from East Cape south to the Wairoa River.

CRA3 Fishery management and statistical areas

The current 351.9 tonnes total allowable catch (TAC) is comprised of a 20 tonnes allowance for amateur catch, a 20 tonnes allowance for customary harvest, an 89 tonnes allowance for illegal removals; and a total allowable commercial catch (TACC) of 222.9 tonnes.

The TACC is distributed as 100 million quota shares amongst 52 quota share owners. Quota shares trade infrequently and are currently valued more than $1,000,000 per tonne equivalent. CRA3 annual catch entitlement (ACE) trades in the range $45 to $55 per kg. There are 32 CRA3 ACE owners and 25 commercial vessels operating in the CRA3 fishery.

There is significant Iwi involvement in quota share ownership and fishing. The commercial harvest has an approximate landed value of $19.5 million (based on average port price paid to fishermen). There are two processing plants in Gisborne, and product is also shipped to Tauranga and Auckland for processing and export.

Potting and hand gathering are the preferred amateur fishing methods.

Rock lobsters have great cultural significance to local Maori and there is a very high level of customary harvest activity. Customary removals are uncertain although an allowance of 20 tonnes was made in the 2020/21 TAC decision.

Ocean Bounty

The Keogh brothers demonstrate how the rock lobster industry collects data on the fishery, measuring lobsters from select pots on every fishing trip.