Review of the CRA2 rock lobster fishery

New Zealanders are getting involved to help rebuild the CRA2 fishery's rock lobster population. This includes us, customary and recreational fishers, and the fishing industry. Learn what's happening, and how you can help ensure our shared fisheries remain sustainable.


18 December 2019

Any changes to the CRA2 (Hauraki Gulf/Bay of Plenty) rock lobster fishing regulations will likely come into effect in May 2020. A full announcement of any regulation changes for rock lobster is expected soon.


Consultation starts

Fisheries New Zealand is consulting on 2 measures proposed by the National Rock Lobster Management Group for recreational fishers in the CRA2 (Hauraki Gulf/Bay of Plenty) rock lobster fishery.

  1. A reduction to the recreational daily bag limit from 6 to 3 spiny rock lobsters to help ensure recreational catch does not exceed the new 34-tonne recreational allowance.
  2. The introduction of recreational telson (tail fan) clipping for spiny rock lobster to assist with minimising illegal take.
Find out more about the consultation and how to have your say

About the CRA2 fishery

The CRA2 rock lobster fishery covers a large stretch of New Zealand's coastline.

It's close to Auckland – New Zealand's biggest population centre – and supports a lot of recreational lobster harvesting. It's also an important fishery for tangata whenua and commercial fishers.

A map of the CRA2 fishery [PDF, 1.3 MB]

Changes to the fishery

A multi-staged rebuild plan is in place to improve the abundance of spiny lobsters in the CRA2 fishery. Changes were made to catch settings earlier in 2018, and we're now reviewing the recreational rules. This is while ongoing research and monitoring of the fishery are carried out to see if any other changes are needed to ensure the fishery rebuilds.

New catch limits set from 1 April 2018

The Minister of Fisheries decided to significantly reduce the total allowable catch for the CRA2 fishery for the 2018/19 fishing year beginning 1 April 2018. This included:

  • a new total allowable catch (TAC) of 173 tonnes
  • new non-commercial allowances, of 34 tonnes for recreational and 42.5 tonnes for other sources of fishing-related mortality
  • a new total allowable commercial catch (TACC) of 80 tonnes.

This action is expected to double current rock lobster abundance in CRA2 in about 4 to 8 years. This rebuild timeframe depends on the rate of new lobsters entering the fishery (recruitment), and also how recreational catch is managed.

2017 scientific assessment

The CRA2 fishery is experiencing low levels of abundance. A new scientific assessment of the CRA2 fishery was completed late in 2017. The assessment results suggested the number of rock lobsters in the CRA2 fishery had probably dropped below its soft limit. When a stock drops below its soft limit level, management action is required to ensure it rebuilds.

The assessment results have helped to guide a review of the management of the CRA2 fishery, along with considerable feedback we have received from tangata whenua and stakeholders through various engagements.

Find out more

We've prepared a summary document for the CRA2 stock assessment that includes information on:

  • reference levels
  • the soft and hard limits for the CRA2 rock lobsters
  • how the CRA2 rock lobster stocks have changed in size since 1980.

Download the stock assessment summary [PDF, 539 KB]

Who to contact

If you have questions about the CRA2 review, email

Last reviewed: