Fishers planning to be in the Bay of Islands over the summer holidays are being reminded about the rahui at Maunganui Bay/Deep Water Cove.

The rahui does not stop visitors who wish to dive, swim or anchor in the bay, but the taking of fish and shellfish other than kina (sea eggs/urchins) is prohibited.

The area near Rawhiti in the eastern Bay of Islands is closed to all fishing, except for gathering kina, until October 13, 2018, under section 186A of the Fisheries Act.

Local hapu Ngati Kuta and Patukeha of Te Rawhiti initiated the rahui (temporary closure) in 2010, to enable fish stocks to replenish.

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The hapu and recreational visitors say the rahui is working, and report abundant marine life in the bay and around the wreck of the HMS Canterbury, sunk in 2007, to create an artificial reef.

Ngati Kuta and Patukeha purchased the wreck as part of their commitment to help restore the fishery.

The bay was a traditional fishing area for Maori who have reported the depletion of fish stock and diversity since the early 1960s.

Ngati Kuta and Patukeha imposed a traditional rahui in 2009, which was granted more formal protection and a two-year extension by then Ministry of Fisheries in December, 2010.

The rahui has since been extended by the Ministry of Primary Industries every two years.

Marine biologists have been doing ongoing research to measure and monitor the health of the fishery.

Fines up to $100,000 apply to anybody caught breaching the rahui/fishing ban. For full details visit: http://www.rahui.org.nz