|koura, papatia, pawharu (Maori), packhorse crayfish, crayfish, green rock lobster, Eastern rock lobster (Australia / US)|
Packhorse lobster is an ok seafood choice, but there are some concerns. A better alternative would be rock lobster (crayfish) that comes from the East Coast, from Gisborne south to Kaikoura.
Found in the north and east of the North Island, packhorse rock lobster live around rocky reefs at depths of 5 to 275m. They are larger and have a slightly greener colour than rock lobster (crayfish) and are mainly caught in the far north waters of New Zealand.
Packhorse lobster is caught using pots. There are concerns over the lack of basic biological data about the species, the absence of any stock assessment or directed research on this species. Also of concern is the higher catch since 2007, the apparent decline of numbers within diving depths, and the absence of a management plan. Potting is good fishing method, but if placed on sensitive marine habitats it could have benthic impacts.
Not certified under any scheme.
The market for packhorse lobster includes Japan and China.
No regional or fishing method difference.
|Annual catch limit:||Limit set at 40.3 tonnes since 2002-03|
|Recorded catch:||Reported landings have been over 37.5 tonnes in 2014-15.|
|Stock trends:||Unknown, but abundance has declined at diving depths.|
|The Ministry of Primary Industries assessment plenary report includes:||“No estimates of current or reference biomass are available.” “The status of this stock is unknown.” (MPI 2015, p394).|
|Distribution:||Found mainly in the north of the North Island.|
|Maximum age (years):||Thought to be long-lived – over 30 years|
|Age at sexual maturity:||About 8 years|
|Growth rate:||Low to moderate|
|Age exploited:||About 4+ years|
|Ability to recover:||Low to moderate?|
|Fishing method(s):||Cray pots (often large, heavy and baited), which are dropped down to the seafloor to depths of 200m.|
|Habitat damage:||Minimal, but when carried out over sensitive habitats, may damage seafloor species such as soft corals.|
|Habitat of particular significance:||Hasn’t been defined in New Zealand.|
|Bycatch:||Minimal, but some octopus may be caught.|
|Ecological effects:||Packhorse lobster are important generalist predators, often referred to as a keystone species. They eat of a range of species including kina, so their depletion from an area may cause wider ecological impacts.|
|Bycatch:||Minimal but there are reports of entanglements of marine mammals with pot lines around New Zealand.|
|Management component:||Single species, with likely national stock genetically different from East Coast Australia stock, but there are no management boundaries to spread catch effort and stop potential for local overfishing. Loss of fish at diving depths indicates at least the potential for serial depletion.|
|Quota Management Species:||Yes, since 1990|
|Management plan:||No shellfish or inshore management plan approved.|
|Stock assessment:||No quantitative assessment undertaken or proposed.|
|Research:||No proposed or recently undertaken research.|