Tuesday 22nd of June 2021, Auckland, New Zealand
Media release: Revive Our Gulf
The Mussel Reef Restoration Trust (MRRT) / Revive Our Gulf (ROG) project is supportive of the plans laid out by the Government today for improving the state of the Hauraki Gulf / Tīkapa Moana / Te Moananui ā-Toi (the Gulf), but had hoped they would go further.
In a much anticipated response to the Sea Change – Tai Timu Tai Pari marine spatial plan published in April 2017, the Government took its first steps in tackling the long-signalled declining health of the Hauraki Gulf. The action plan includes changes to fisheries management and marine protections. There is an end to recreational scallop dredging, and the freezing of existing commercial scallop fisheries, plus the removal of trawl fishing except within designated “trawl corridors”. Changes to marine protection include 11 new High Protection Areas, 5 Seafloor Protection Areas and extensions to Goat Island and Te Whanganui-a-Hei (Hahei) marine reserves.
The plan falls short of the 100% benthic (bottom contact) protection and the 30% Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) suggested by marine experts and called for by the Hauraki Gulf Forum, the statutory governing body for the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park. The government’s action plan amounts to benthic protection in all areas outside trawl corridors and existing scallop fisheries, and a move to around 6% of the Gulf protected, up from 0.3%.
“The ‘Revitalising the Gulf’ plan announced today is a great starting point and creates the right environment for both passive and active marine restoration efforts”, says Peter Miles, Kaihautū / Programme Director at the Revive Our Gulf project. “It’s been a long time coming, but this now sets a path to action for us to improve the state of the Gulf – a plan government agencies, mana whenua and community groups can rally around.”
The Revive Our Gulf project congratulates all those who were part of the SeaChange – Tai Timu Tai Pari marine spacial plan project. We look forward to accelerated progress in improving the health of Tīkapa Moana / Te Moananui ā-Toi / The Hauraki Gulf.