The Government’s financial assistance package for the Kaikoura commercial paua divers has been welcomed by Seafood New Zealand chief executive Tim Pankhurst.

“The package will help support paua divers in Kaikoura who have been under considerable financial stress since last year’s earthquake,” Pankhurst said.

 “Primary industry businesses are often supported with financial aid in tough times and, with this package, Minister for Primary Industries Nathan Guy has recognised the seafood industry’s importance to the local community and economy.”

 The package is the first of its kind for the paua industry.

  A harvest ban on paua, stretching along 100 kilometres of coastline – from Cape Campbell to the Conway River – is in place where large areas of important juvenile habitat was left exposed by last year’s earthquake.

 “The divers have been supportive of the harvest ban and acted responsibly in voluntarily shelving quota so they don’t put unnecessary pressure on the rest of the fishery.

 “The Government’s package recognises the divers' long-term commitment to sustainability and will help fund initiatives to get the fishery back on its feet.”