Spat Collectors Forced to Harvest By Hand

Sept. 11, 2019, 3:49 p.m.

Mussel spat collectors arrived at the Ahipara foreshore with heavy mechanical vehicles this morning to harvest spat, but instead, were forced to collect by hand.

Negotiations continue in the seafood industry regarding mechanical harvesting and Patau Tepania said that method needs to change.

“We don’t mind the collection of spat - they have their consents and that’s not an issue. But we’re not gonna allow that machinery to come down into the beach at Ahipara anymore,” said Tepania.

A compromise between the takiwā collective, the spat harvesters and chairman of Aquaculture NZ Peter Vitasovich saw the heavy mechanical vehicles out of the water and instead collected by hand. 

These actions come after footage emerged online just over a month ago of multiple harvesting machines in the water that cause outrage but Mr Tepania said todays outcome was successful for all parties involved and everyone was understanding.

“Obviously this does create more work for collectors, but there was an overall understanding that this was the right thing to do for the preservation of our taonga and moana,” said Tepania.

Ninety Mile Beach provides at least 60% of the mussel stock nationally, the other 40% coming from Tasman and Nelson Bays.

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