Paua population monitoring
Monitoring of intertidal paua populations along the Kaikōura coastline has yielded some interesting findings. It looks like overall the hot summer hasn’t adversely affected the vulnerable juveniles, who seem to be growing more quickly than we expected. Recaptured seed paua, identified by the blue shell material at their apex from hatchery diet, have shown phenomenal growth rates since being seeded a year ago. Paua that grow quickly will reach predator release sooner, the size at which they are less likely to be eaten. The natural population is now dominated by larger paua between 80-100mm in length, and many will likely soon migrate out into the adult reproductive pool. Overall, it appears paua abundance at surveyed sites is on the rise, despite some cases of infiltration by loose gravels and sediments, and the presence of large predators such as sea stars. Unfortunately some locations along the coast are still in a degraded state, with the bare reefs eroding and showing little signs of recruitment by algae and invertebrates.