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Traditional Māori and scientific methods for translocating and reseeding Paua

Traditional Māori and scientific methods for translocating and reseeding Paua (Haliotis iris)

Principal investigator: Professor Henrik Moller

Staff involved:  Henrik Moller, Tom Bird

Brief abstract

The Akaroa Taiapure Management Committee seeks to restore paua (Haliotis iris) abundance and size structure in Akaroa Harbour to secure customary and recreational harvesting, cultural wellbeing and promote ecosystem health.

We interviewed over forty experts on paua and mahinga kai management from amongst kaitiaki (Māori  environmental guardians), local recreational and customary fishers, commercial paua farmers and harvesters to learn about past paua population abundance, distribution, availability, catch success and restoration strategies. Most informants were from the Akaroa and Horomaka (Banks Peninsula) area, but some general Ngai Tahu mahinga kai experts also assisted from their experience in Bluff to Kaikoura.

A specific focus of the research was to record the matauranga associated with paua harvesting and especially enhancement by translocating juveniles or well-grown paua. We compared these traditional techniques and associated rationale for population management with expectations from scientific and commercial fisheries literature from around the world.

Aside from recording the matauranga for future generations, our two main specific goals were to (a) design a field trial to test traditional Māori paua release techniques and (b) to establish general principles and identify potential risks and opportunities for a long-term paua restoration plan for Akaroa Harbour.